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Arson Watch Program Agency Interaction

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This years fire season has already started and so far the score is showing the fire fighters in the lead with several large fires under their belts in California, Nevada and Arizona. So far in 2005 we have not had any huge or "Mega Fires" yet, cross your fingers that our luck continues. If you are worried about your community after the very wet season of Winter 2005 and the tremendous growth you may want to consider starting an Arson Watch Program. If you decide to go for it and set up a team of volunteers to watch out for arson there are a few things you should know about. I have written a free online 21-page E-Book, which you are welcome to read if you are thinking of starting such a group. It is available:

The most important thing when setting up a community arson watch program is to involve the local agencies such as the fire department, police and any nearby Federal Agencies for instance the USDA Forest Service and/or BLM; bureau of land management. Here are some quick pointers to assist you.


The Local Fire department will provide a Community Relations person to explain to participants the need to report arsonists and simple things you can do to minimize the potential exponential and aggressive natures of small containable fires until the fire department arrives with the proper tools to fight the fire. They will explain how to set up roadblocks and secure easy access for fire vehicles to arrive. When to get out of there and which direction to go. They will also explain what the reality of your limits are based on the type of equipment in your vehicle.


The USDAFS will explain what is being done, why the importance, water tables, this years potential exposure. They will provide handouts and safety tips and what to do, where to go and where to tune in; Prevention, communication and nature. Every year the USDAFS does extensive research in prevention and data collection. This is information everyone should know who lives near forested areas, parks and mountainous area. The can provide the education that may help save the lives of you and your family.


The Police department will provide a Community Relations person to explain to participants the need to report crimes and what is actually a crime. Arson is a crime, one of the worst possible crimes. The police can explain how to detect suspicious behavior from a potential arsonist. They will explain that if someone cuts you off on the Highway it is an unfortunate situation but not a crime and to limit phone calls to important things. Most importantly, they will explain that the participants are the eyes and ears of the Police, not vigilantes. The Police will also ask participants to have the police departments phone number programmed into their cellular phones and to only use the 911 feature only for accidents involving arson activity, accident injuries and very serious things. The Police department will also give the certificates to participants once they have completed the seminar, which will be signed by police chief or local Community Relations Officer.


City Council members will very likely endorse the project at a city council meeting and give a proclamation to the President of The Chamber of Commerce for the Chambers and local businesses service to community. Most cities or towns can allot at least $2,500.00 towards the project for the signage. Donations for the remained can often be obtained large companies in the area. By announcing it at a city council meeting the program will receive the publicity it needs to get quality participants.

Please think on these things and see what you decide. You may find setting up a Community Arson Watch Program to be a lot easier than you think and rather than living in fear of the "Big One" fire you can be proactive and prevent it instead.

"Lance Winslow" - If you have innovative thoughts and unique perspectives, come think with Lance;

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