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Accelerant Detection Canines

Each year for National Arson Awareness Week, the U.S. Fire Administration gathers and shares information to raise awareness of arson or youth firesetting and provide individuals with strategies to combat these problems in their community.

This year’s National Arson Awareness Week theme is “Accelerant Detection Canines (ADC) – Sniffing Out Arson.”

This year's awareness materials:

Provide information about the value and contribution ADC’s make to fire departments and communities.

Describe how using an ADC in a community closes more cases and acts as an arson deterrent.

Highlight how ADC teams visit schools and community organizations to teach fire safety and prevention.

Identify successful practices in communities throughout the United States.


The number of times more acute an ADC’s sense of smell is compared to a human’s.

– James Walker, former director of the Sensory Research Institute at Florida State University


The average number of minutes it takes an ADC to cover an average fire scene. It can take humans days to do what a dog does in minutes.

– State Farm Arson Dog Program


The average number of canine team-collected lab samples needed to identify accelerant use, compared to 20 samples collected by a human alone.

– Paul Gallagher, Head Trainer, Maine Specialty Dogs for State Farm Arson Dog Program

Join @usfire, the International Association of Arson Investigators, and canine handlers for an Arson Awareness Week Twitter chat on Accelerant Detection Canines. Date: May 4, Time: 1:30 p.m. EDT

Learn about canine teams in action across America

Featured: Meet Riley from California

ADC: Riley, black Labrador retriever
Handler: Capt. Howard Orr
Community: Santa Barbara County, California
Training: State Farm Arson Dog Program

Riley and Capt. Orr work for the Santa Barbara County Fire Department and helped to capture an arsonist who set three separate fires one evening in Santa Maria, California.

After alerting to materials at all three fires, evidence was collected and confirmed by Riley as positive samples. He was then brought in to examine the suspect and his possessions, alerting on several items. Capt. Orr later learned the suspect admitted to using gasoline to start the fires. The suspect pled guilty to the arsons and attempted murder, receiving the maximum sentence of 17 years in prison.

Riley is a great ambassador to the community for the fire department, involved with school presentations, community events, and service club presentations.