With wildfire season approaching, collision repairers in several states teamed up through the National Auto Body Council’s Recycled Rides ™ and the State Farm® Arson Dog Program to provide critical and reliable transportation for first responders and their K9 partners as part of 2016 Arson Awareness Week.
Participating collision repairers include Caliber Collision locations in Raleigh, North Carolina and Fresno, California: Gerber Collision & Glass in Elkhart, Indiana: Jenkins Collision in Ocala, Florida, and Scotsman’s Collision in Mt. Sinai, New York.
According to the National Interagency Fire Center, 86 percent of the 10 million acres of wildfires last year were caused by people, whether intentional or as a result of human negligence. With limited resources, most fire departments, especially those in rural areas, do not have a dedicated vehicle for the arson dog team that would allow them to more effectively and efficiently respond to the scene of a fire.
To raise awareness about the impact of arson and to improve the ability of police and fire departments to investigate fires, State Farm and National Auto Body Council members have already or will be donating Recycled Rides vehicles to the following fire departments:
- New Bern Fire and Rescue in North Carolina for use by Fire Marshal Danny Hill and K9 Darby. Vehicle repairs and modifications were made by Caliber Collision in Raleigh, NC.
- Eastern Sierra Arson Task Force for use by Fire Investigator Jeff Schwing and K9 Remington throughout southeast California. Vehicle repairs and modifications were made by Caliber Collision in Fresno, CA.
- Ocala Fire Department in Florida for use by Fire Investigator Roseanne Moreland and K9 Gracie. Vehicle repairs and modifications were made by Jenkins Collision Center in Ocala, FL.
- Maine Specialty Dogs for use by trainer Nicole Dyer to transport arson dogs to training. Vehicle repairs and modifications were made by Gerber Collision & Glass in Elkhart, IN.
- Beaver Falls Fire Department in Pennsylvania will receive a vehicle later this summer for use by Fire Investigator David Seidl and K9 Patty. Vehicle repairs and modifications are being made by Scotsman’s Collision in Mt. Sinai, NY.
The vehicles were donated by State Farm and repaired and modified by technicians at the participating collision repair centers who volunteered their personal time as a community service. Parts, materials and services to refurbish the vehicles were donatey other collision industry businesses. Since the inception of Recycled Rides in 2007, the collision industry has collaborated to donate over 1,000 vehicles valued at more than $12 million to individuals and service organizations in need.
“Lack of reliable transportation can be challenging, whether you are a first responder investigating a possible crime scene or an individual struggling daily to take care of your family,” said Chuck Sulkala, Executive Director of the National Auto Body Council. “We are proud to team up with State Farm, Caliber Collision, Gerber Collision, Jenkins Collision and Scotsman’s Collision through Recycled Rides to help make a difference in local communities and to showcase the professionalism and integrity of the collision industry.”
Each year billions of dollars in property and hundreds of lives are lost as a result of intentionally set fires, according to Heather Paul, Public Affairs Specialist for State Farm® Safety & Innovation.
“State Farm is committed to helping provide the necessary resources to combat the severity and impact of arson on businesses and public safety,” said Paul.
For more information, contact the National Auto Body Council at 1-888-667-7433 or at www.NationalAutoBodyCouncil.org . Visit us on Facebook at www.facebook.com/NationalAutoBodyCouncil. The NABC’s Twitter feed is @AutoBodyCouncil.