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840 Risk, motives and prevention of deliberately set fires
  1. Tuula Kekki
  1. The Finnish National Rescue Association, Finland


Background The amount of fires, such as the deliberately set fires has decreased in recent years. Regardless arsons (~2000) seems to be a permanent phenomenon in Finnish society. Even if setting a fire haven’t used in political, racist or radicalised reasons, they cause every year remarkable costs, danger of life and health and personal suffer also for outsiders.

Methods This research examined deliberately set fires based on reports from the electronic resource and accident statistics system (PRONTO) of the Emergency Services, investigation reports from the electronic investigation and executive assistance system (Patja) of the police and telephone interviews and an email survey of the representatives of the Rescue Services and the police.

The qualitative data was gathered by analysing and categorising the typical targets, methods, severity of fires, situational elements, motives, perpetrators and other descriptive information. The main idea was to examine high-risk targets and areas as well as potential perpetrators and victims.

Results Research shows that deliberately set fires occur in our everyday living environment: homes, yards, parks, nearby woods and streets. The most common type of goods set on fire are miscellaneous articles: cast-off and abandoned ”nobody’s property”. The second most common type are refuse shelters and containers, and paper and clothes collection boxes.

Of all buildings set on fire, every third one was in residential use at the time of the fire.

The control and prevention of deliberate fires is difficult by means of supervision, as the underlying causes include vandalism, curiosity, revenge, jealousy, the seeking of a financial benefit, suicidal behaviour and mental problems. A portion of the fires set by young people are caused by thoughtlessness and curiosity, some are the result of more serious, accumulated problems. Arson performs also as an extremely goal-orientated form of aggressive or destructive behaviour.

Conclusions The presentation concentrates on risk targets and the personal properties of fire-setters. By analysing different motives, intentions and situational conditions is possible to find out some relevant practices to combat deliberately set fires.

  • Arson
  • motive
  • antisocial behaviour
  • emergency services

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