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RURAL Arson Control

seated problems of the fire service in general and the volunteer fire service in particular. For example, many rural fire departments are not operating with the best information about rural arson control strategies and tech- niques. But the same is true for other topics of concern to the rural fire service. Arson prevention and control is another instance of the challenge facing fire departments trying to stay abreast of a wide range of responsi- bilities.

To improve arson control in rural areas, special initiatives across a wide range of issue areas are indicated. In particular, state agencies need to play a stronger role in assisting rural communities manage their arson preven- tion and control programs.

The United States Fire Administration both directly through its anti-arson efforts and indirectly through its other programs can improve rural arson control.

The United States Fire Administration can perhaps achieve the maximum leverage of its funds by packaging and disseminating specific field-tested solution strategies and alternatives. Rural fire departments and investiga- tors tend to be isolated from the mainstream of information about effective arson control strategies. Special efforts will be needed to develop and maintain contacts with the grass roots level.

A greater use of law enforcement, insurance industry, and community- based resources can and should be made. State agencies can play a more effective role in sponsoring cooperative efforts to control arson control problems facing rural areas. One notable example is the development of state-sponsored arson strike forces that can respond on call to a serious arson problems in rural areas.

Concentrated efforts to make increased use of resources that exist outside the fire service in both the public and private sector perhaps offer the greatest opportunities for achieving anti-arson objectives.

The general and more specific findings that follow contain no startling revela- tions. Nor do they call for massive governmental expenditures. Rather, they reinforce the findings and the common sense judgments of most current observers in this field that many improvements need to be made. Many of these improvements may be minor in themselves. Collectively, these improvements can reduce the pressures on rural resources and direct more pressure instead on rural arsonists. This report provides a framework for looking at how existing solution strategies could be more effectively harnessed.

Report Structure

This report consists of twenty-two mini-chapters, each of which is divided into four parts:

A statement of need; A discussion of the statement of need; A tally of the number of arson control experts polled who agreed or disagreed with the statement;

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