How to prevent arson in your community

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How to prevent arson in your community

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Arson and fire investigation

Resources and training opportunities for firefighters, first responders and fire investigators.

How to prevent arson in your community

Arson during civil unrest

Review these critical actions that first responders must take to help ensure a safe response to arson fires during civil unrest incidents.

Firefighter health, wellness and fitness

If you are a firefighter looking for tips to improve your overall health and fitness, or a fire department leader developing or enhancing a wellness-fitness program, these resources can help.

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  • Reduce job injuries.
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How to prevent arson in your community

Natural disasters and non-fire emergencies

The public relies on first responders during emergencies, and the more substantial the incident or the disaster, the greater the need for assistance delivered by the fire department and others with public safety missions.

How to prevent arson in your community

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  • Safety and health considerations.
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  • Funding.
  • Key areas often overlooked.

How to prevent arson in your community

Vehicle and roadway safety

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  • Roadway incident scene safety.

How to prevent arson in your community

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Osaka – The man suspected of starting a fatal fire at a mental health clinic in the city of Osaka last week might have intended to copy a deadly 2019 arson attack at an animation studio in Kyoto, which also involved the purchase of gasoline before the incident, investigative sources said Tuesday.

Morio Tanimoto had left in his presumed living quarters in Osaka’s Nishiyodogawa Ward a newspaper page with reporting on the studio of Kyoto Animation fire, which claimed 36 lives, prompting police to believe he might have decided to use a similar method after reading the article, the sources said.

The newspaper was from July this year, which reported about the two-year anniversary of the Kyoto arson attack, prompting police to believe that the suspect may have planned the arson from around this time.

A handwritten memo was also found at his living quarters that read “arson murder,” the sources said.

The Osaka Prefectural Police also said Tuesday that a woman believed to be in her 20s who had been in critical condition has died, bringing the total death tally from the fire to 25.

Out of the 27 people taken to hospital after the fire, Tanimoto and a woman believed to be in her 30s remain in critical condition due to carbon monoxide poisoning.

According to the sources, a small fire broke out in the man’s living space about 30 minutes before the Osaka clinic fire, with police suspecting he may have tried to ignite some gasoline ahead of the planned arson attack.

It was also discovered that the suspect, a 61-year-old patient at the clinic, purchased around 10 liters of gasoline in late November, leading police to believe he had a strong intent to kill people, the sources added.

Tanimoto is also believed to have attempted to seal the clinic’s emergency exit with adhesive tape from the outside a day before to prevent people from escaping, other investigative sources said.

Of the 25 victims who died as a result of carbon monoxide poisoning, 21 have been identified, including the clinic’s director, Kotaro Nishizawa, 49, the police said.

Nishizawa told his wife he had discovered tape on the door leading to the fire escape on the day before Friday’s incident and removed it, according to the sources.

Security camera footage taken in the psychosomatic and psychiatric clinic showed the fire broke out around one to two minutes after Tanimoto’s arrival.

Police suspect he went to the clinic under the guise of receiving a medical examination.

The camera footage showed the suspect placing a paper bag in front of the clinic’s reception area. The suspect then crouched by the bag and moved his hand, and fire was seen quickly rising to the ceiling. A burned cigarette lighter was found where the fire apparently started.

As for the purchase of gasoline, Tanimoto apparently claimed he was going to use it for his motorcycle. He showed identification upon purchase because it is required to buy gasoline by the container.

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A fire can become life-threatening in just two minutes. A residence can be engulfed in flames in five minutes.

Learn About Fires

  • Fire is FAST! In less than 30 seconds a small flame can turn into a major fire. It only takes minutes for thick black smoke to fill a house or for it to be engulfed in flames.
  • Fire is HOT! Heat is more threatening than flames. Room temperatures in a fire can be 100 degrees at floor level and rise to 600 degrees at eye level. Inhaling this super-hot air will scorch your lungs and melt clothes to your skin.
  • Fire is DARK! Fire starts bright, but quickly produces black smoke and complete darkness.
  • Fire is DEADLY! Smoke and toxic gases kill more people than flames do. Fire produces poisonous gases that make you disoriented and drowsy.

Smoke Alarms

A working smoke alarm significantly increases your chances of surviving a deadly home fire.

  • Replace batteries twice a year, unless you are using 10-year lithium batteries.
  • Install smoke alarms on every level of your home, including the basement.
  • Replace the entire smoke alarm unit every 10 years or according to manufacturer’s instructions.
  • Never disable a smoke alarm while cooking – it can be a deadly mistake.
  • Audible alarms are available for visually impaired people and smoke alarms with a vibrating pad or flashing light are available for the hearing impaired.

Before a Fire

If you are insured, contact your insurance company for detailed instructions on protecting your property, conducting inventory and contacting fire damage restoration companies.

Create and Practice a Fire Escape Plan

How to prevent arson in your community

Remember that every second counts in the event of a fire. Escape plans help you get out of your home quickly. Practice your home fire escape plan twice each year. Some tips to consider when preparing this plan include:

  • Find two ways to get out of each room in the event the primary way is blocked by fire or smoke.
  • Make sure that windows are not stuck, screens can be taken out quickly and that security bars can be properly opened.
  • Practice feeling your way out of the house in the dark or with your eyes closed.
  • Teach children not to hide from firefighters.
  • If you use a walker or wheelchair, check all exits to be sure you can get through the doorways.

Fire Safety Tips

  • Make digital copies of valuable documents and records like birth certificates.
  • Sleep with your bedroom door closed.
  • Keep a fire extinguisher in your kitchen. Contact your local fire department for assistance on proper use and maintenance.
  • Consider installing an automatic fire sprinkler system in your residence.

During a Fire

How to prevent arson in your community

  • Drop down to the floor and crawl low, under any smoke to your exit. Heavy smoke and poisonous gases collect first along the ceiling.
  • Before opening a door, feel the doorknob and door. If either is hot, or if there is smoke coming around the door, leave the door closed and use your second way out.
  • If you open a door, open it slowly. Be ready to shut it quickly if heavy smoke or fire is present.
  • If you can’t get to someone needing assistance, leave the home and call 9-1-1 or the fire department. Tell the emergency operator where the person is located.
  • If pets are trapped inside your home, tell firefighters right away.
  • If you can’t get out, close the door and cover vents and cracks around doors with cloth or tape to keep smoke out. Call 9-1-1 or your fire department. Say where you are and signal for help at the window with a light-colored cloth or a flashlight.
  • If your clothes catch fire, stop, drop and roll – stop immediately, drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over or back and forth until the fire is out. If you or someone else cannot stop, drop and roll, smother the flames with a blanket or towel. Use cool water to treat the burn immediately for three to five minutes. Cover with a clean, dry cloth. Get medical help right away by calling 9-1-1 or the fire department.

After a Fire

  • Contact your local disaster relief service, such as The Red Cross, if you need temporary housing, food and medicines.
  • Check with the fire department to make sure your residence is safe to enter.
  • DO NOT attempt to reconnect utilities yourself. The fire department should make sure that utilities are either safe to use or are disconnected before they leave the site.
  • Conduct an inventory of damaged property and items. Do not throw away any damaged goods until after you make the inventory of your items.
  • Begin saving receipts for any money you spend related to fire loss. The receipts may be needed later by the insurance company and for verifying losses claimed on your income tax.
  • Notify your mortgage company of the fire.

Prevent Home Fires

Home fires can be preventable. The following are simple steps that each of us can take to prevent a tragedy.

How to prevent arson in your community

An investigation has been launched after a car and caravan containing gas cylinders were destroyed in a fire in Colchester during the early hours of this morning.

Emergency services were called to reports of a fire at a property in Gilderdale Close, shortly before 1.55am today (Wednesday, December 1).

The blaze destroyed the two vehicles and spread to a nearby house as well.

A spokesman for Essex County Fire and Rescue Service said: “Both the car and the caravan — which contained gas cylinders — were 100% alight.

“Crews worked to prevent the fire spreading to the house.”

A spokesman for Essex Police said: “We arrived and found the fire had destroyed two vehicles.

“Thankfully no injuries were reported.”

The spokesman added that an investigation has been launched into the cause of the fire.

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Anyone who was in the area at the time — has any dashcam footage or doorbell footage — is being asked to contact Essex Police on 101 quoting the incident number 57-01/12/2021.

SAN RAFAEL, Calif. (KRON) — Two California businesses have been facing backlash over COVID-19 restrictions.

Notes have been left behind by someone threatening to burn the Marin County businesses down over their health rules. The threats have come as the county is experiencing a spike in COVID-19 cases.

A menacing message was recently taped to the door of Body Kinetics Health Club. It read: “If the vaccine mandate isn’t lifted within one week, this place burns.”

Owner Michael Jenkins said the threat was found at the business Sunday morning after someone stuck it on the door the night before. He said he understands the frustrations some people might have over COVID-19 restrictions, but threatening arson is going way too far.

He said he’s not only concerned by the threat but confused by it. The club has been following the county’s current health guidance, but there’s no vaccine mandate.

Just days before, a nasty handwritten note was found and a similar threat popped up at the Papermill Creek Saloon in Forest Knolls.

Manager Jared Litwin said the bar has had a strict vaccination policy and recently warned customers on social media about positive COVID cases among some customers and musicians.

Marin County overall has seen an uptick in cases post-Thanksgiving. As of Thursday, it was the only Bay Area county under the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s high transmission category.

In response to the threats, more security measures will be taken at Jenkin’s Health Club. An outdoor camera and more floodlights will be installed.

The owners of both businesses hope people can understand these rules are meant to keep people safe.

The saloon is offering a $1,000 reward for information leading to an arrest and a conviction of the suspect.

Marin County deputies and San Rafael police are investigating.

How to prevent arson in your community

The USS Bonhomme Richard ablaze at Naval Base San Diego in July 2020. Navy photo

The U.S. Navy has formed a fire safety group to prevent catastrophes like the local blaze that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard last year.

Naval Sea Systems Command announced the establishment of the Industrial Fire Safety Assurance Group this month. The team has “a clear focus on preventing future industrial shipboard fires and reducing risks highlighted in the investigations of previous fires.”

According to NAVSEA, over the last 12 years, the Navy has seen 14 major shipboard fires that resulted in the loss of two capital asset ships, while costing the service $6 billion in repair and replacement costs.

One of those losses, of the Bonhomme Richard, occurred at Naval Base San Diego, where a suspected arson fire gutted the amphibious assault ship in July 2020.

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The ship was undergoing a two-year $249 million upgrade when fire broke out in a lower storage area. Nearly 60 sailors suffered various injuries, including heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation, as the five-day blaze raged.

An October report found that “repeated failures” in training and firefighting preparation doomed the ship. A total of 17 officers, crew and civilian employees were cited for failures that directly led to the loss of the Bonhomme Richard; 17 others were said to have contributed to the disaster.

On Monday, the sailor accused of setting the fire, Ryan Mays, faces an article 32 hearing, the military equivalent of a preliminary hearing.

The new Navy fire safety team will be tasked with analyzing industrial shipboard fire metrics, and developing actions to address and reduce those risks. Officials pointed to electrical fires as potential “top offenders.”

The group, which is slated to open a “war room” this month, will report to Vice Adm. William Galinis and Executive Director, Giao Phan.

“Shipboard fires in an industrial environment cannot be considered an acceptable cost of doing business,” said Eric Duncan, director of the team.

The Navy decommissioned the Bonhomme Richard in April.

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How to prevent arson in your community

OSAKA – Twenty-four people were killed Friday after a fire raced through a mental clinic in an eight-story multiple tenant building in a bustling area of Osaka, with murder and arson suspected, police said.

The fire department in the biggest city in western Japan said a total of 28 people were injured, adding it received a report at 10:18 a.m. that a fire had started on the fourth floor of the building, which had no fire sprinklers.

The police said a man believed to be in his 50s or 60s who visited the clinic on that floor was responsible for the blaze. He was among the 28 taken to a hospital and remains unconscious, according to an investigative source.

Based on information provided by witnesses, the police said the man placed a paper bag containing a liquid near a heater in the clinic’s reception area. They said he then kicked the bag, igniting the fire when the liquid flowed out.

How to prevent arson in your community

The fire department said 17 men and 10 women rescued from the clinic were showing no signs of life. Of the 27, 14 men and 10 women believed to be aged in their 20s to 60s were later pronounced dead, apparently due to carbon monoxide poisoning, according to the police, who were trying to confirm their identities.

The blaze, with flames and smoke billowing out of shattered windows, was nearly extinguished by around 10:45 a.m. after burning an area of 25 square meters, about a third of the clinic’s floor space. The website of the clinic located near JR Osaka Station says it provides psychosomatic and psychiatric treatments.

The entrance and exit area of the clinic was severely burned and there is a possibility that many people who were inside could not escape, according to the police.

It could be one of Japan’s worst fire incidents in recent memory. In 2019, 36 people were killed after a man started a fire in an animation studio in Kyoto, also in western Japan, while a fire in 2001 at a multi-tenant building in Tokyo’s Kabukicho nightlife district claimed 44 lives.

The Osaka department said it did not confirm any fire protection deficiencies in the entire building, located in the Kitashinchi district known for bars and nightclubs, when it conducted a safety inspection in March 2019.

The lack of fire sprinklers was not a violation, as they were not legally required given the number of floors and size of the building, according to the department.

Of the 28 injured, the police said, a woman in her 20s rescued from the sixth floor of the building was slightly injured.

The condition of the remaining two was not known. The police said the two were women in their 20s and 30s.

The family of the clinic’s director said it could not get in touch with him.

About 30 minutes before the blaze at the clinic, there was another fire at a house in Osaka where the man used to live, and the police are investigating the possible connection with the suspected arson, investigative sources said.

How to prevent arson in your community

Meeting the press in Tokyo, Prime Minister Fumio Kishida said, “A very tragic incident occurred. First of all, we must make efforts to prevent a recurrence by grasping the actual situation and clarifying the cause and circumstances.”

“I pray for the souls of those who have died, and extend my deepest sympathies to those who have been injured or harmed,” he added.

Shortly after the fire broke out, around 80 fire engines and ambulances arrived at the scene, with onlookers watching anxiously as the injured were carried out on stretchers.

“When I looked outside, I saw an orange flame in the window on the fourth floor of the building,” a woman working in a nearby company said. “A woman was waving from the window on the sixth floor and seeking help.”

Another person working at a nearby restaurant said, “I saw smoke coming out of the building and there were a lot of firetrucks and ambulances. People were being rescued by a firetruck with a ladder. At one point, there was a power outage in the surrounding area.”

The clinic opened at 10 a.m., with many people believed to have come for a group treatment session for those looking to return to work after taking medical leave. A woman in her 50s said the clinic was always crowded, especially with working men, and waiting times often exceeded an hour.

“I think people who got tired from work were visiting the clinic,” said a different woman who was receiving treatment. “The head of the clinic listens carefully to what people say.”

California wildfires: What sort of person is compelled to commit arson?

THE BASICS

  • What Are Personality Disorders?
  • Find a therapist who understands personality disorders

How to prevent arson in your community

The inferno of tragic fires in California has destroyed thousands of homes, incinerated hundreds of thousands of acres, and killed many people this year. In the latest, the entire town of Paradise was reduced to smoldering ash. Highlighting the vulnerability of anyone and anything to the destructive power of wildfire, among the homes lost in this week’s California fires include those of celebrities Miley Cyrus, Neil Young, and Gerard Butler. The current blazes are still raging out of control, and it is too soon to know the causes and full extent of the destruction, but some of these California fires were ignited intentionally. A 51-year old man has been charged with starting the Southern California Holy Fire. A 32-year old man has been linked to five California fires. What sort of person is compelled by pyromania to kill, terrorize, destroy lives and property, and devastate the beauty of nature with fire?

Although President Trump has pointed fingers of blame at California for its environmental policies as the root cause of these infernos, the problem is hardly unique to that state. Between April 2016 and March 2017, there were 76,106 fires in England that were set deliberately, according to Tyler et al., resulting in 1,027 casualties and 47 deaths. The financial losses are staggering—1.7 billion British pounds. The same study finds that in the United States there are an estimated 261,330 deliberately set fires reported every year, costing approximately 1 billion in property damage and 440 deaths.

Arson can be used as a weapon of revenge or motivated by some other conniving, covert, destructive aim, but fire-setting is also an irresistible compulsion for some, recognized as a form of mental illness. More research is needed, but typically, fire-setting is viewed not as a distinct disorder, but as a behavior that stems from another deep-seated pathology.

Research shows that fire-setters are significantly more likely to have been registered with psychiatric services compared with other criminal offenders, and four times more likely compared with community controls. Between 10 percent to 50 percent of patients who are admitted to medium-security forensic mental health services have a record of deliberate fire-setting. Fire-setting in adolescence and early adulthood predicts schizophrenia in later life. Fire-setting behavior is associated with animal cruelty in juveniles; the other statistically significant risk factors being male gender, and the victim of sexual abuse. Arsonists differ from typical violent offenders in being more socially isolated and lacking coping skills, and the prevalence of suicide is significantly higher than controls. Females are reported to commit nearly one-third of deliberately set fires, but less is known about the psychopathological and criminal characteristics of female fire-setters. Female fire-setters in a recent study were more often diagnosed with depression, substance abuse, and personality disorder than male arsonists.

Fire-setters appear to be a discrete group of criminal offenders with a distinguishing constellation of psychological characteristics. This suggests the necessity of specialized treatment to target these individuals in prison and before they become offenders. Greater research is needed to guide treatment effectively, but a small study of 63 male and female patients with a history of deliberate fire-setting, published by Tyler and colleagues in 2018, has tracked the efficacy of intervention programs for the mentally disordered offenders. The results suggest that the treatments significantly reduced the compulsion to start fires, but far more research is necessary to extend and confirm this small-scale study.

Views toward arsonists have changed over time, according to a 2018 review of pyromania in Western Europe between the years of 1800-1950, by Lydia Dalhuisen, a criminologist at Ultrecht University. The data show the pendulum swinging back and forth from being viewed as a crime to being regarded as a mental illness. If viewed as an illness, punishing arsonists for a form of insanity becomes an ethical dilemma, but there is no doubt that more needs to be done to reduce the horrific destruction by fire that society is suffering.

While current debate centers on the influence of climate change on the raging number and intensity of wildfires, less attention is given to understanding the mind of the person who would light the match. Society faces daunting challenges of grappling with altering the global climate, but in looking for ways to prevent the devastating destruction of fires sweeping California and elsewhere, increased support for psychological research and greater mental health services would seem to provide an effective and easily attainable way to fight this inferno.

GODFREY, Ill. — Lewis and Clark Community College experienced a ransomware attack late Tuesday, leading to a shutdown of all its campuses in Godfrey, Illinois.

The college remained closed Wednesday as technology teams continued to investigate the extent of the issues. All systems were taken offline to prevent further problems.

“Team members are working diligently to take the next steps and will keep the campus updated,” a statement posted to the Lewis and Clark Facebook page reads.

Ning Zhang, an assistant professor in the Computer Science and Engineering Department at Washington University, weighed in on the ransomware attack and explained how they happen.

“Cyber-criminals infiltrate into your organization and use something as a cryptography to lock up your files or systems, therefore denying you the opportunity to access your systems. It’s almost like going to your house and changing the door lock on you,” Zhang said.

“We had a ransomware attack on the Colonial Pipeline, which caused a significant gas shortage, and our gas prices went up too,” he continued. “So, ransomware is a big class of attack that is attacking a wide range of industries including education.”

Meanwhile, at Lewis and Clark, officials are asking students and faculty not to use the college email system or open any files. It’s unclear when systems will be restored, but the college said it’s working diligently to resolve the issues and will post updates on its social media pages.

Navy prosecutors alleged Monday that a sailor charged with setting the fire that destroyed the USS Bonhomme Richard last year was “disgruntled” after dropping out of Navy SEAL training, while his defense lawyers said there was no physical evidence connecting him to the blaze.

Prosecutor Cmdr. Richard Federico told the court that text messages show Seaman Apprentice Ryan Sawyer Mays lied to family, friends and investigators about why he left SEAL training and that he was angry about being reassigned to the Bonhomme Richard. They also said he used foul language with a superior days before the blaze.

Mays denied igniting the amphibious assault ship that burned for nearly five days and injured dozens aboard.

Defense attorneys said fellow sailors considered Mays “arrogant” because he had come from SEAL training. They disputed that Mays hated the Navy more than any other sailor assigned to deck duty like he was, which involves cleaning the ship.

The junior sailor was charged with aggravated arson and the willful hazarding of a vessel.

The fire that was the worst noncombat Navy warship blaze in recent memory.

The hearing will determine whether there is enough evidence to proceed with a military trial. Scheduled to testify Tuesday is a key witness for the government, a crew member who reported seeing Mays go down to the ship’s lower storage area where investigators say cardboard boxes were ignited.

About 160 sailors and officers were on board when the fire started on the 840-foot (256-meter) vessel, which had been docked at Naval Base San Diego while undergoing a two-year, $250 million upgrade.

More than 60 sailors and civilians were treated for minor injuries, heat exhaustion and smoke inhalation. Left with extensive structural, electrical and mechanical damage, the billion-dollar ship was scrapped.

Defense Attorney Gary Barthel pointed out no DNA linked to Mays was found at the scene and he questioned why investigators concluded Mays did it just because they found a lighter among his belongings.

“Were there other individuals on the ship with lighters?” Barthel asked the lead fire investigator for the Navy, who agreed there likely were.

Navy prosecutors argued the case was carefully investigated. They have collected more than 28,000 pages of material and hours of video to build their case.

Defense lawyers objected to the hearing, saying they were not given enough time to review the evidence against Mays.

Officials assessing the ship’s damage found three of four fire stations on the ship had evidence of tampering: Fire hoses had been disconnected and one was cut, according to court documents.

Investigators also found uncapped bottles containing small amounts of highly flammable liquid near the ignition site, including one that tested positive for a heavy petroleum distillate such as diesel, kerosene or jet fuel, according to the documents.

Mays told investigators he was in the hangar bay when he became aware of the fire, according to court documents. He described how he assisted firefighters, alerted at least one crew member of the threat and eventually helped fight the blaze, according to the documents.

Winds coming off San Diego Bay whipped up the flames that shot up the elevator shafts and exhaust stacks. Two explosions — one heard as far as 13 miles (21 kilometers) away — caused the fire to grow.

The fire sent acrid smoke wafting over San Diego for days.

Dozens of Navy officials, including several admirals, face disciplinary action for systematic failures that investigators said prevented the blaze from being put out sooner, according to investigators.

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TOKYO — A pair of high-profile tragedies in Japan over the weekend — a deadly arson attack and the suicide of a pop star — have highlighted growing concerns about the country’s mental health crisis, which experts say has been exacerbated by isolation and anxiety during the pandemic.

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The back-to-back news stories renewed calls for more resources and education on mental health needs in Japan, which has seen a rise in suicides among youths and women amid the covid crisis.

On Friday, a patient at a psychiatric clinic in Osaka, in western Japan, was accused of setting a fire while a counseling session was in progress, killing 24 people and leaving three, including himself, in critical condition. It was one of the deadliest arson attacks in Japan in the past 20 years.

One day after the attack, Japanese actress and singer Sayaka Kanda died in an apparent suicide in Sapporo, in northern Japan. The 35-year-old became famous as the voice of Anna in the Japanese version of Disney’s “Frozen” and was playing the lead role in the musical “My Fair Lady” in Sapporo.

“Support for mental health education and mental health patients in Japan is very behind compared to Western countries,” said Masako Kageyama, a mental health expert at Osaka University.

Kageyama said the lack of understanding and support stems from the overdependence on institutionalization of those with mental health needs, even as many other countries moved toward community-based mental health care and the use of new therapies rather than hospitalization. This has contributed to a societal taboo against seeking help and further isolation of those who need care, she said.

“Without enough community support, there is still fundamentally a strong societal prejudice that makes it difficult to accept people with mental health struggles,” Kageyama said.

Mental health advocates jumped to action after the weekend’s incidents, seeking to counter backlash against the suspected arsonist and prevent a rash of other suicides.

One nonprofit, Anata no Ibasho (A Place for You), sent messages on social media asking news outlets to refrain from detailed reports of the apparent suicide and asking people to seek help.

“For those who are feeling distressed seeing the media reports about the celebrity, please quickly turn away from online and TV reports. We are available as always 24 hours. Please do not hesitate and reach out,” the organization tweeted.

And in response to the arson attack, it urged against generalizing about those seeking mental health support: “We are seeing some backlash towards people who have mental health issues, but anyone can have mental health issues, and they are not ‘crazy people.’ ”

Suicide rates among women and young people have increased notably in Japan and neighboring South Korea since 2020, suggesting the pandemic has taken a greater toll on those populations.

Even before the pandemic, the leading cause of death among people ages 15 to 39 was suicide, making Japan unique among the wealthy Group of Seven countries, according to a Health Ministry white paper published last month. In 2020, 21,081 people died by suicide, a 4.5 percent increase since 2019, the paper found.

Suicides among women, particularly those with part-time jobs, increased in 2020 and were higher than the average number for women in the five years leading up to the pandemic, compared with 11 years of decline in suicides among men, according to the ministry’s research.

Jun Tachibana, a representative of the nonprofit Bond Project, which focuses on suicide prevention for young women, warned about the increasing isolation, anxiety and depression fueled by pandemic restrictions and called for families and friends to reach out to one another, especially because high-profile celebrity suicides can fuel despair.

“When an influential figure passes away, the shock and sadness it brings to fans is tremendous,” she said. “What we can do is to constantly be careful to observe any changes in the people around us, and reach out before it is too late.”

Friday’s attack on the Nishi Umeda Clinic for the Mind and Body in downtown Osaka was the latest in a series of arsons in recent months that have rattled the country. At the time of the attack, the clinic was holding a weekly session to help those who were seeking to return to work after taking sick leave to receive mental health care.

Police identified the suspect as 61-year-old Morio Tanimoto. According to witnesses, a man walked into the clinic with a paper bag, placed it next to a heater and kicked it, spilling out liquid that caught fire.

How to prevent arson in your community

DURHAM, N.C. (WTVD) — Durham resident Sheryl Smith lost her son to gun violence. She’s involved with the new youth center on East Main Street and hopes it will help prevent similar tragedies and provide a haven for youth.

“And keep another parent from going through what I’ve been through and other parents that (have) been going through this after him and before him,” said Smith. “Of course it’ll make a difference, because it’ll give our youth somewhere to go, somewhere where they can feel safe.”

The youth center is run by The Community Builders or TCB in Durham, a nonprofit real estate developer. Youth living in nearby TCB mixed-income housing can use the center and some already have been.

Many say these types of outlets for young people are badly needed now.

Monday, two teens were killed in a shooting near Mathison and Eugene Streets. Four other young people were shot.

Homicides in Durham are up 58 percent from January through September, compared to the year before.

The Marcus Garvey Cultural Resource Center geared toward youth opened in the McDougald Terrace public housing complex in October.

Brittany Jackson has children who go to the community center on East Main Street.

“I feel like we need a lot of centers like this everywhere, because it’s boring, like there is nothing to do for them, with the coronavirus,” Jackson said.

Councilmember Leonardo Williams said there are plans for more safe spaces for youth in Durham.

How to prevent arson in your community

LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom (StudyFinds.org) – Has Thanksgiving already sent your diet spiraling off a cliff? You’re probably not alone. With holiday weight gain a major issue for many, a new study has found the one snack that may keep your holiday appetite (and your waistline) in check — prunes.

Researchers from the University of Liverpool discovered that eating more prunes helped a group of dieters control their appetite better, consume fewer calories, and even lose slightly more weight than people choosing others snacks during a 12-week test.

“These studies demonstrate that dried fruit can both produce satiety and be incorporated into the diet during weight management,” says Professor Jason C. G. Halford, President of the European Association for the Study of Obesity (EASO), in a media release.

Researchers examined the impact of eating prunes in two phases. The first compared the reactions of participants who either ate prunes, raisins, or jelly bean-like candies during the experiment. The team found that people eating prunes generally consumed the fewest number of calories during their next meal. The prune snackers also reported feeling less hungry throughout the day, feeling fuller after eating, and feeling as though they couldn’t eat as much later on.

Prunes make it ‘easier’ to lose weight

In the second part, study authors examined the amount of weight each person lost after completing a 12-week weight loss program. They split the volunteers into two groups, one eating prunes as their daily snack and one who only received guidance on healthy snacking but could choose whatever snack they wanted.

Although researchers say the weight loss difference between the two groups was not significant in terms of total pounds lost, results show the prune group participants lost slightly more weight on average (4.4 pounds vs. 3.4 pounds). People eating prunes also told the team they felt it was easier to lose the weight than those eating other snacks.

“This study reveals that nutrient dense prunes can provide an advantage over other snack choices due to their favorable effects on satiety and appetite control,” adds Andrea N. Giancoli, MPH, RD Nutrition Advisor for the California Prune Board.

“These are the first data to demonstrate both weight loss and no negative side effects when consuming prunes as part of a weight management diet,” Halford concludes.

A recent poll found that Americans expect to gain eight pounds during the holiday season. Although prunes have a reputation of being a snack people only choose to relieve constipation, researchers say putting out a bowl at your next holiday party may cure you of festive overeating.

The findings appear in the journal Nutrition Bulletin.

A community is mourning after a Person County deputy died from pancreatitis at 60. Sheriff Clinton Palmer said that it was always Michael Currier's dream to become a deputy.

EVEN 70s. NO SNOW, BUT WE HAVE GOT THE 70s COMING. >> THANKS.>>> SHERIFF’S DEPUTY HAS DIED AFTER AN ILLNESS. LAW OFFICERS AND FIRST RESPONDERS GIVE MICHAEL COURIER A BIG PROCESSION FROM DUREN TO ROXBOROUGH. >> AT SOME POINT, PEOPLE WERE LINING THE ROADS PAYING WHERE THEIR RESPECT. AS BRIAN SHOWS US, IT WAS A FITTING TRIBUTE FOR A MAN WHO LEFT A MARK ON HIS COMMUNITY. >> A BIG MAN WAS GOING HOME. UP THAT FAMILIAR ROAD, HIGHWAY 501 PAST MISTY EYED PEOPLE ON THE ROADSIDE WAVING FLAGS BENEATH A HUGE FLAG RAISED BY HIS HOMETOWN FIRE DEPARTMENT. MOTORCYCLES, SQUAD CARS, THEY ALL MADE THEIR WAY UP THE FAMILIAR ROAD TO ROXBOROUGH WHERE EVERYBODY KNOWS BIG MIKE. AMANDA CARVER STOOD. >> IT IS HEARTWARMING AND A WONDERFUL TRIBUTE THAT PEOPLE COME TOGETHER. >> HIS NAME WAS MICHAEL COURIER. HE WAS 60 YEARS OLD. HE HAD ONLY BEEN IN LAW ENFORCEMENT FOR A DECADE. MIKE, AS EVERYONE CALLED HIM MADE A CAREER CHANGE IN MIDDLE AGE AFTER THE GREAT RECESSION FORCED HIM OUT OF THE RESTAURANT BUSINESS. HIS BOSS, SHERIFF JONES SAID IT HAD ALWAYS BEEN HIS DREAM.>> HE CAME TO US AND FILL OUT AN APPLICATION. >> JUST BEFORE THANKSGIVING, DEPUTY COURIER HAD TO GO TO THE HOSPITAL. PANCREATITIS. THERE WERE COMPLICATIONS, AND AFTER A TWO-WEEK FIGHT, THIS LARGER THAN LIFE MAN SLIPPED AWAY. >> THAT IS MY BABY BROTHER YOU ARE TALKING ABOUT. TOTALLY UNEXPECTED. >> THAT IS SKEETER COURIER. HE WAS IN THE PROCESSION FROM DUKE REGIONAL HOSPITAL ON THAT FAMILIAR ROAD HOME SEEING THE PEOPLE, ALL THE PEOPLE WHO HAD COME TO SALUTE HIS BROTHER.>> THAT TELLS YOU ABOUT MICHAEL AND WHAT PEOPLE THOUGHT OF HIM. THAT IS A THURSDAY LUNCH HOUR. A LOT OF ROXBOROUGH WAS NOT AT WORK. >> WHILE HE WAS IN THE HOSPITAL, THERE HAD BEEN A PRAYER VIGIL.? WE HAD PEOPLE HERE THAT HE HAD ARRESTED, HE HAD MADE SUCH AN IMPACT ON THEM, THEY CAME IN SUPPORT OF HIM AND THIS DEPARTMENT. >> WHO THE FATHER, MELISSA’S HUSBAND AND HIS HOMETOWN LEFT HIM. WITH FLAGS AND TEARS, THEY WELCOMED HOME A BIG MAN AND A GOOD MAN.

How to prevent arson in your community

SAVANNAH, Ga. (WSAV) – AAA released some advice for drivers to safely transport real Christmas trees this holiday season.

According to a AAA study nearly one in five real Christmas tree buyers reported having a tree fall off or out of their vehicle when trying to get it home.

AAA adds that 44% of Americans admit to transporting a tree using unsafe methods such as tying the tree to the roof of their vehicle without using a roof rack or placing the tree in the bed of their pickup truck unsecured.

AAA says vehicle damage from an unsecured tree could cost up to $1,500.

An unsecured tree could also be deadly. AAA says road debris caused more than 200,000 crashes from 2011-2014 resulting in approximately 39,000 injuries and 500 deaths.

AAA advises it’s best to transport the tree on top of a vehicle equipped with a roof rack, but a pickup truck, SUV, van or minivan can work just as well.

AAA offered the following tips to safely transport your tree:

  • Come preparedbring strong rope or nylon ratchet straps, an old blanket and gloves.
  • Wrap & Cover It – once you’ve found the perfect tree, have the lot wrap it in netting before loading it. Loose branches can also be secured with rope or twine to help protect the tree from damage.
  • Protect your vehicle – before loading the tree, cover the roof with an old blanket to prevent scratches to the paint and protect the car from any damage.
  • Trunk First – place the tree on the roof rack or in the bed of the truck with the tree trunk facing the front of the car. If the vehicle does not have a roof rack and is large enough – place the tree inside.
  • Secure It – tie down the tree at its bottom, center and top using strong rope or nylon ratchet straps. Avoid using the nylon offered by many tree lots. Use fixed vehicle tie-down points and loop the rope or strap around the tree trunk above a branch to prevent any side-to-side or front-to-rear movement
  • Tug Test – once tied down, give the tree several strong tugs from various angles to make sure it is secured in place and will not come loose.
  • Nice & Easy – drive slowly and take back roads if possible. Higher speeds can create significant airflow that can damage your tree or challenge even the best tie-down methods.