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Iowa Department of Public Safety
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, Iowa 50319

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For immediate release: Alex Murphy
  Public Information Officer
Investigative Operations
Iowa Department of Public Safety
Thursday, May 6, 2010

(515) 443-3014 - cell
(515) 725-6189 - office


Take time during Arson Awareness Week to evaluate your business' security level and how you can protect it from arson in the future.

Des Moines, IOWA --- Now that you’ve taken time to conduct a risk assessment in and around your business, it’s time to set in place a few security measures.  Today the State Fire Marshal’s Office is offering up for you easy, suggested steps you can take to protect the area outside of your business from an arsonist.


  • Illuminate the exterior of your business and any entrances.
  • Consider motion-activated lighting near doors and win­dows.
  • Keep shrubbery and trees well trimmed so the building can be observed by passing patrols.
  • Regularly pick up and toss out any old boxes or trash that may have collected near your business.  If it’s not there, the arsonist can’t set fire to it!
  • If in a rural setting, ensure crops are far enough away to allow proper illumination of the area.
  • Many buildings have basement entries that are hid­den from view. These should be secured with locking, ground-level doors when the building is not in use.
  • Ladders, external stairways, and fire escapes allowing access to the roof should be secured.
  • Painting the building white or constructing it with light-colored brick makes a human figure more read­ily seen at night.
  • Consider fencing the areas or sides that are not readily visible to patrols or neighbors.
  • Form a neighborhood watch with other business owners or neighbors.  If you all look out for one another, the area will become unwelcome to arsonists and other vandals.
The Office of the State Fire Marshal investigated 14 arson fires at businesses across Iowa in 2009.  Don’t let you and your business become victims of arson in 2010.

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