Arson Awareness Week – Arson Prevention at Houses of Worship

The U.S. Fire Administration's Arson Awareness Week theme for 2017 is Arson Prevention at Houses of Worship. The U.S. Fire Administration has information and materials that will help community leaders successfully address three key arson prevention factors: external security, internal security and community awareness.


They also highlight two Massachusetts cases that the Fire and Explosion Investigation Unit worked on, arrested the arsonists and prosecutors won convictions. There have been 26 arson fires in houses of worship over the past decade (2007-2016) in Massachusetts.

1. External security

  • Illuminate exterior and entrances – Arsonists, like burglars, fear light.
  • Clear things like shrubbery that block the view of the building.
  • Clean up – Remove anything that could fuel a fire for an arsonist.

2. Internal security

  • Install smoke alarms and a fire sprinkler system.
  • Keep doors and windows locked.
  • Clean up – Remove anything that could fuel a fire for an arsonist.

3. Community awareness: fire safety at your worship center

  • Hold a Congregation or House or Worship Safety Day to educate members about fire safety in the house of worship and at home.
  • Watch this video from Church Mutual to learn how you can help prevent arson, electrical, and other fires at your worship center.
  • Hold a Clean-Up Day to improve external and internal security and hunt for fire hazards.
  • Establish an arson watch program. For information on how, download Community Arson Prevention PDF 2.3 MB
Arson Reward Poster

Statewide Arson Hotline: (800) 682-9229 
As part of the Arson Watch Reward Program, the Hotline provides rewards up to $5,000 for information that helps solve an arson case. It is funded by the property and casualty insurance companies of Massachusetts. Anyone can call confidentially, 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

Neighborhood Arson Prevention Strategies
Neighborhood and crime watch groups can help prevent arson. Below are links to our Arson and Fire Prevention: Neighborhood Strategies pamphlet in English and Spanish. 
English Web Version pdf format of english_arson_pamphlet_april_2010.pdf
        English Booklet Version pdf format of english_arson_booklet_april_2010.pdf
          Spanish Web Version pdf format of spanish_arson_pamphlet_oct_2010_new.pdf

DFS and Accelerant Detection Canines
The Fire and Explosion Investigation Section in the Office of the State Fire Marshal has six teams of AK-9s and handlers. Learn more about our AK-9s and their handlers. These specially trained dogs can detect traces of ignitable liquids that may have been used to set a fire. AK-9s help to solve cases of arson and act as a deterrent.


NFPA Firewise Logo
  • NFPA’s Firewise Communities Program encourages local solutions for safety by involving homeowners in taking individual responsibility for preparing their homes from the risk of wildfire. Firewise is a key component of Fire Adapted Communities – a collaborative approach that connects all those who play a role in wildfire education, planning and action with comprehensive resources to help reduce risk