Man’s Best Friend Helps to Sniff out Arson Crime
State Farm Arson Dog Program Recognized during Arson Awareness Week
BLOOMINGTON, Ill., April 30, 2015 /PRNewswire-HISPANIC PR WIRE/ — When Daisy is called to a fire scene, she knows that work comes first and socializing with fire fighters comes second. It can be tough for her, especially when everyone tells her she is so beautiful and talented but thankfully her partner keeps her focused on her job. She is a fire investigator’s dream and an arsonist’s worst nightmare. Daisy is an accelerant detection canine and along with her partner, John Peters, work for the Westchester County Police Department in New York. Both were trained through the State Farm Arson Dog Program to locate trace amounts of ignitable liquids such as gasoline or kerosene that may have been used to start a fire. That is why Daisy and many other accelerant detection canine teams are being recognized during National Arson Awareness Week, May 3-9, 2015.
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Each year the U.S. Fire Administration gathers and shares information to raise awareness about the crime of arson while providing individuals with strategies to combat this problem in their community. The U.S. Fire Administration reported that from 2010 – 2012, there were more than 26,400 intentionally set fires each year that burned homes and commercial buildings. These fires caused at least 275 deaths, 800 injuries and $795 million in property damage and loss. The actual number of arson fires and amount of property damage is likely much higher as arson is an underreported crime.
In 2015, Arson Awareness Week will focus on Accelerant Detection Canines: Sniffing Out Arson and the many contributions that these remarkable teams make to fire departments, law enforcement agencies and their communities. “Arson is a heinous crime and especially difficult to prosecute,” said the late Deputy United States Fire Administrator Glenn A. Gaines. “We owe it to our investigators and to the public to help them with the most effective tools available to battle this dangerous and costly crime.”
As the nation’s largest homeowners’ insurer, State Farm is well aware of the severity and impact of arson on businesses and public safety. To help law enforcement and fire investigators find evidence of arson and serve as a deterrent for future arsonists, State Farm began funding the acquisition and training of accelerant detection canine teams in 1993. Since that time, the State Farm Arson Dog Program has placed more than 350 teams in communities across the United States and Canada. These teams investigate any fire their police or fire department sends them to, regardless of the property’s insurer.
Canines possess capabilities that humans cannot begin to duplicate. Your average dog’s nose is tens of thousands of times as sensitive to odors as a human because they possess up to 300 million olfactory receptors in their noses, compared to about six million in humans. Because canines have a superior ability to discriminate among scents, an accelerant detection canine can investigate a fire efficiently. Of course a canine is not meant to replace human fire investigators. They are only a tool that provides invaluable assistance to investigators when it comes to locating potential evidence.
To learn more about the benefits of having an accelerant detection canine team in your community, view profiles of local teams, and download an Arson Awareness Week poster visit the U.S. Fire Administration website at www.usfa.fema.gov/aaw. Information about the State Farm Arson Dog Program and locations of certified teams can be found at www.arsondog.org.
About State Farm
State Farm and its affiliates are the largest providers of car insurance in the U.S. In addition to providing auto insurance quotes, their 18,000 agents and more than 65,000 employees serve over 82 million policies and accounts – nearly 80 million auto, home, life, health and commercial policies, and nearly 2 million bank accounts. Commercial auto insurance, along with coverage for renters, business owners, boats and motorcycles, is available. State Farm Mutual Automobile Insurance Company is the parent of the State Farm family of companies. State Farm is ranked No. 41 on the 2014 Fortune 500 list of largest companies. For more information, please visit www.statefarm.com.