RURAL Arson Control
on a training program for rural firefighters. The program is based on one that has been conducted for urban firefighters for more than a decade; however, it has been re-formatted for presentation on two consecutive weekends.
Oklahoma, which pays for fire service training. has developed arson-related programs for firefighters. Special attention has been given to the needs of volunteer firefighters by:
Training of firefighters in a 12 hour arson recognition course (primarily for volunteers). This has apparently resulted in an increase in convictions out of rural departments; Making use of existing videotape capability; Redesigning courses so that they can be taught on weekends and in the evening.
Investigative Staff Workload
Rural jurisdictions, especially in states where state agencies (Fire Marshal, State Police) supply investigators, are subject to staff shortages that can adversely affect case management capacity.
This was identified as a major problemboth through interviews and through the “nominal group process” workshops. Three of the four case study jurisdictions cite one or more problems arising from a shortage of trained arson investigators. This may lead to: “windshield investigations” perfunctory investigations conducted by investigators who barely have the time to leave their vehicles because of their case backlog slow response time by investigators; large portion of investigator’s time spent in transit when he/she must cover a wide area; response conflicts when more than one request is Rending ; shortage of time for liaison with firefighters; incorrect or inadequate reporting of fire statistics; role conflict (where investigators also do inspections and certifications). lack of backup staff, etc. cause chronic overextension of state investigative resources
Historically, state fire investigative resources in most states have never been staffed at a level needed to respond to all requests for assistance in a timely manner.
Distances that must be travelled also pose a problem. Even in a small state with a relatively large number of investigators relative to size of population, arrival of a trained investigator frequently takes one to one-and-one-half hours.