Federal Emergency Management Agency

Safe Communities Initiative: Arson Prevention Partnerships



The Situation

The Federal Emergency Management Agency sought to develop an integrated marketing campaign designed to foster diverse public-private partnerships and increase public awareness in states and local communities that had developed very high arson and church burning rates.


The Challenge

Overcoming entrenched attitudes to avoid public dialogues and broad partnerships to combat arson and juvenile fire setting.


The Response

Before rolling out the program nationally, Marketing Concepts conducted year-long pilots in Macon, Georgia, Charlotte, North Carolina and Nashville, Tennessee.

In order to increase awareness and understanding of the Heritage program, Marketing Concepts & FEMA followed a five-part strategy. First, they leveraged the fire department. Second, they partnered with a credible third-party community/business groups to create relationships with the local fire service for marketing communications opportunities. Third, they created a grant-application process as a carrot to engage fire chiefs and departments. Fourth, they leveraged fire chiefs, local business, political and community leaders as spokespeople with media and arson prevention advocates. Last, they ensured that all arson awareness activities had a grassroots appeal and were replicable.


The Result

More than 33 states developed Arson Awareness Partnerships that led to a major decline in arson in each area. Extensive media coverage in all media markets which help solidify and expand business-fire service partnerships. Created a network for sharing best practices and integrated new tools into the on-going program.

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