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Arson Response During Civil Unrest

Critical actions firefighters must take to help ensure a safe response to arson fires during civil unrest incidents.

The dangers involved during a civil unrest incident put everyone's life in peril. Innocent bystanders, occupants, first responders and those committing these acts all have a chance to receive debilitating injuries or worse. The aftermath of these intentional acts can create a devastating fiscal loss for communities.

Arson During Civil Unrest — An Unjustifiable Crime

Watch on YouTube

This webinar contains presentations that discuss historic civil unrest responses, mutual aid agreements, risk management, civil unrest response strategies, federal arson statutes and sentencing, and dealing with multiple scenes.

First responders: Review these actions

Prepare for the unknown, especially during civil unrest.

Normal response routes may be blocked. Ambushes may be set up. Hydrants and other fire protection equipment may have been tampered with.

Preplan with mutual aid agreements.

The number of simultaneous incidents can quickly overwhelm an emergency response force. Pre-established mutual aid agreements are critical to safety and success.

Practice interagency drills.

The familiarization achieved by pre-incident interagency drills is invaluable in a department's response to civil unrest.

Embrace resource management practices.

The sheer volume of incidents requires fire agencies to scale their response packages to meet need and reduce risk and exposure to their members.

Mental preparedness is key when the public you serve turns against you.

Keep in mind there are people behind the civil unrest participants who still need your protection.

Be ready to adapt to quick changes if people at the scene become aggressive.

Have an exit strategy developed before arrival. Recon an area prior to entering to know where the escape routes are.

It is your duty to respond and return safely.

Even in normal times, a safe response and return policy promotes first responder safety. The responsibilities of drivers and officers in the cab during civil unrest include good communication, vigilance and mutual risk assessment.

Make note of all information that may help fire investigators with the outcome of the scene investigations.

If you are cognizant and aware, you can play a vital role in preserving clues for the fire investigators. Learn how you can play a role in a successful fire investigation.

National Fire Academy courses can help prepare first responders to mitigate civil unrest threats to our communities.

Knowledge is power. The time to prepare for a civil unrest response is most appropriate when the community is not in an agitated state.

Arson statutes, sentencing offenders from previous incidents and public awareness of criminal penalties may help to deter future arson incidents during civil unrest events.