State Fire Offering Specialized Vehicle Arson Awareness Training

ALBANY, NY (09/07/2011)(readMedia)-- The State Office of Fire Prevention and Control (OFPC) will offer its specialized Vehicle Arson Awareness Program (VAAP) to Fire Service and law enforcement personnel tomorrow, September 8, at the Suffolk County Fire Academy in Yaphank.

This specialized training initiative was developed by OFPC in 2009 as a collaborative effort with the National Insurance Crime Bureau (NICB) and the New York Anti Car Theft & Fraud Association (NYACT). These two organizations were awarded the State Fire Administrator's Exemplary Arson Program Award in 2010 for their efforts.

"This special educational program for firefighters and law enforcement officers – our valiant first line of defense in combatting the crime of vehicle arson -- is designed to raise their awareness of deliberately set vehicle fires by providing them the basic understanding of key indicators of incendiary activity," said Acting State Fire Administrator John F. Mueller. "I thank the NICB and NYACT for helping us develop this program which plays a vital role in the war against vehicle arson in New York State. I would also like to recognize the support of the Suffolk County Department of Fire, Rescue and Emergency Services and the Suffolk County Fire Academy in hosting the program."

Through this one day program, OFPC Arson Bureau instructors provide six student contact hours of instruction to include classroom lecture combined with interactive practical exercises where the students view burned vehicles prepared as mock-ups by instructors representing various types of intentional set fires involving motor vehicles. The program also includes a live fire demonstration where local fire service personnel, under controlled conditions, burn vehicles under the direction of the instructors to allow the students a firsthand experience to evaluate the time line of a vehicle burn as typical for an accidental vehicle fire as compared to an intentionally set fire.

The VAAP was originally piloted in June 2009 in the Town of Clay, Onondaga County, with additional offerings in New York City in September 2010 and Niagara County this past spring.

To date, 329 students have been trained through the VAAP program.

The goal of OFPC/NICB & NYACT is to conduct on an annual basis two regional offerings of the VAAP program at locations within the state which will target approximately 100 students per program.

Mueller said that program feedback has proven to be extremely positive which can be attributed to the combined efforts of OFPC in developing and instructing the program, NICB coordinating local resources for training site selection and acquiring vehicle props, and NYACT for handling program logistics and interfacing with the target client group through handling course registration. Dates and locations for the 2012 delivery of the VAAP are yet to be determined and will be released in early 2012.