The mayor's Task Force on Fire Protection Services is seeking federal money to begin a new program to reduce false fire alarms set in the city.
A proposal, which would involve young people in a program of school studies, theater, film and outdoor experiences, was sent to the Law Enforcement Assistance Administration (LEAA) on Jan. 28 by the D.C. Fire Department on recommendations of the task force. The LEAA is currently taking applications for $10 million in funds available for juvenile delinquency prevention programs.
The youth involvement plan would be aimed at reducing juvenile deliquency and false alarms in the Capitol Hill and far Northeast areas of the city. These areas produce 54 per cent of all false alarms and 51 per cent of all juvenile arrests in the city each year.
Fire chief Burton Johnson discussed the plan with representatives of the District police and fire departments, resources groups before submitting the proposal to the LEAA.
The program is based on a successful model developed by the National Conference of Christians and Jews. The plan's three main elements revolve around school, cultural and social activities.
Special social studies classes would be set up with firemen and police officers to discuss fire safety and community crime prevention in the junior high schools. Students from these classes also would join firemen and police officers at a series of weekend human relations conferences to develop area neighborhood councils. These councils would then work with local officials on a variety of community improvement programs in the target areas.
Improvisational theater and a fire safety, youth crime-oriented play would be performed in the schools by Back Alley Theater's youth acting troup, ActTeen, and filmed by members of the Johns Hopkins University Applied Physics Lab.
Discovery, Inc., a McLean, Va. human relations training institution, has plans to work with off-duty fire fighters, police officers, teachers and other adult volunteers. They would be used as camping trip leaders in various out-door programs.
The proposal calls for a two-year total budget of $749,000.
The National Fire Prevention and Control Administration has submitted a strong endorsement of the proposed program and has pledged extensive technical assistance if the project is funded.
The mayor's Task Force on Fire Protection Services, established in September 1976, found that over 17,000 false alarms were pulled in the District in 1976. Usually youths in certain socio-economically disadvantaged areas were the major offenders.