The IAAI and CFITrainer.Net present these podcasts with a focus on issues relating to fire investigation. With expertise from around the world, the International Association of Arson Investigators produces these podcasts to bring more information and electronic media to fire investigators looking for training, education and general information about fire investigation. Topics include recent technologies, issues in the news, training opportunities, changes in laws and standards and any other topic that might be of interest to a fire investigator or industry professional affected by fire. Information is presented using a combination of original stories and interviews with scientists, leaders in fire investigation from the fire service and the law enforcement community.
Here at ATC 2010 in Orlando, we’ve had an opportunity to speak to people from all over the world. Some of the comments that we will get today will relate to reflections of what they learned this week, things that are important to the fire investigator, why they’re members of the IAAI, some of the favorite courses and things that they’ve learned this week, and the importance of networking and some of the certifications and designations that are part of improving yourself as a fire investigator.
This is one of my training and education opportunities. I think it’s an extremely important thing for continuing education within the fire investigation industry. This is a fantastic venue to come to for that type of training because we have the availability to gather information here that we might not be able to get somewhere else because of the input that the international has by bringing in international speakers.
I’ve been in this service 30 years, and as far as sitting down, talking with somebody, learning how another investigator or another agency approaches a fire scene, I mean, absolutely, we take that information back, we use it, we expand on it and go.
The fellowship … for us is invaluable due to the fact that we’re in eight states. So to be able to meet certain folks, and just a minute ago I just met someone from New Jersey I’ve never met before, and we have two offices in New Jersey, so it’s always good to find out there’s other people you can call on if we need private investigators.
I enjoy … taking his class because it’s an interesting case study of how not to screw an investigation up, and it was very interesting. He had some good points.
Probably one of the favorite courses that I’ve taken here was with Dr. Quintiere and Bobby Schaal. It was the fire modeling course, so yeah, it’s, again, something that you just don’t get anywhere else because of the level of the expertise that is provided here.
I’ll tell you what, there’s so much being offered, and you kind of wish you had two of you so you could send one guy to one class and the other, but I really enjoyed the Lentini course, I enjoyed the Quintiere course and also the photography course.
The CFI designation and the efforts that this organization has gone through to improve the quality of the individual that gets that designation is second to none. More and more court systems are recognizing the importance and the necessity of having that certification, and the continuing efforts by this organization to maintain that credibility, maintain that cutting edge training and the testing that’s required to maintain that certification speaks volumes about the quality of not only the certification itself, but the investigators that are able to acquire that certification.
Well the IAAI has had a certification program based on NFPA 1033, the standard on professional qualification for fire investigators since 1983. That certification has been accredited, which answers the question who certifies the certifier. It’s very satisfying that the IAAI has been ahead of the curve when it comes to fire investigations and the forensic sciences.
Well Rod, my interest is primary of vehicle fires, and this is the place to come to learn about vehicle fires. The presentation was absolutely magnificent, I’ve learned so much. I thought I knew a great deal, but when I came here, there’s more to learn. If you want to develop your workforce, your individuals within that workforce and bring the best out in them, then you should be sending them to IAAI ATC training every year if possible. If they’re specializing, there is something here for you.
I mean, I’ve been at a number of ATCs and there is a progressive improvement. Clearly, the product has gotten better, the quality of the training is improved, and I think the focus has now gone back to a membership focus. We’re a little bit more aware that we need to take on board the developments not only in terms of science, but the currency of competency. This is not a junker. We start class at 8 in the morning. You’ve got to be up at 7 to get yourself together. So it’s a day’s work.
For me it’s very nice to be a student here because I have to learn sometime, to learn and to be a student and to know what are the concepts, how other fire investigators are working all over the world.
I’m learning so much, and there’s so many different things to choose from. Granted, I’m only doing the fundamentals, but there’s so many others out there, and for somebody in my shoes I’m going to need that. And even five years from now when I know a whole lot more, you still need those refreshers and things that oh yeah, I remember that, but I had forgotten, so I think it’s just really important that this continues. People think that right now that I am laying by the pool drinking drinks with umbrellas, and I have literally been in class from eight o’clock in the morning till 5 o’clock at the end of the class with, of course, our lunch breaks, but it’s been constant training and you don’t want to miss it either because there’s so much information.
I like the mobile home fires and vehicle fire-1 and also just the digital photography is really interesting. I love taking pictures and I’m learning more than I knew about my camera.
If you’re not training right now, if you’re not having concurrent training, if you’re not still progressing forward in the training realm, you’re going to be left behind. Supervisors, administrators need to understand that, and they have to realize the importance of training consistently throughout the careers of their employees. With the recent Supreme Court decisions, if you’re using what we call the old wives’ tales, or if you’re using outdated information, if you’re using the art of fire investigation still, the courts will probably not allow you and should not allow you to testify as an expert in our field. You could learn a lot through distance learning. Like our CFITrainer.Net platform teaches some of the best quality instructions, and you’re getting great information, but only the tip of the iceberg. When you come here, it’s two to four hour classes, in depth classes, topical classes taught by the best instructors of the world. You can sit through classes, and if you don’t understand it, at the end of the day, you could take the instructor aside and say hey, I’d like to talk to you about this more later, this evening, over dinner or when we have a break, and you get to be involved in the current conversation about what’s happening in this world.
You know, like any conference that we’ve ever attended or any program that we’ve ever put on, we find that really networking could be the most positive thing you take away from it. So it think yes, you can enjoy yourself and you should enjoy yourself while you’re away. Your family should enjoy themselves if they attend with you, but it’s a training and education process, it’s a networking session, and I think all these things are extremely important to expand your own horizon in your own field.
Well that’s it from ATC 2010 here in Orlando. Save the date for next year. ATC is in Las Vegas 2011, May 1st through 6th.
This program provides a primer on accreditation, certification, and certificates for fire investigation training.
A fire occurred on the night of Feb. 20, 2003, in The Station nightclub at 211 Cowesett Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island.
Arc Mapping, or Arc Fault Circuit Analysis, uses the electrical system to help reconstruct a scene, providing investigators with a means of determining the area of a fire’s origin.
This module introduces basic electrical concepts, including: terminology, atomic theory and electricity, Ohm’s Law, Joule’s Law, AC and DC power.
A fire occurred on the evening of June 18, 2007, in the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, SC that resulted in the deaths of nine fire fighters.
This module looks at the many ways fire investigators enter and grow in the profession through academia, the fire service, law enforcement, insurance, and engineering.
This module will present a description of the IAAI organization.
This module takes a closer look at four of the most commonly-reported accidental fire causes according to "NFPA Fact Sheet.
This program brings three highly experienced fire investigators and an attorney with experience as a prosecutor and civil litigator together for a round table discussion.
The program discusses the basics of digital photography for fire investigators as well as software and editing procedures for digital images intended as evidence.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in civil proceedings such as fire loss claims and product defect lawsuits.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in criminal proceedings.
This module covers the foundation of DNA evidence: defining, recognizing, collecting, and testing.
This program provides a practical overview of how to perform the baseline documentation tasks that occur at every scene.
This module will discuss the techniques and strategies for conducting a proper science-based fire scene investigation and effectively presenting an investigator’s findings in court as an expert witness.
This module presents critical electrical safety practices that every fire investigator should implement at every scene, every time.
This self-paced program examines the fire investigator's ethical duties beyond the fire scene.
As social media has emerged as a powerful force in interpersonal communications, fire investigators are being confronted with new questions...
Should you work for a private lab as a consultant if you are on an Arson Task Force? How about accepting discounts from the local hardware store as a “thanks” for a job well done on a fire they had last year?
This module takes investigators into the forensic laboratory and shows them what happens to the different types of fire scene evidence that are typically submitted for testing.
This module teaches the foundational knowledge of explosion dynamics, which is a necessary precursor to investigating an explosion scene.
This module addresses the foundations of fire chemistry and places it within the context of fire scene investigations.
The program is designed to introduce a new Palm/Pocket PC application called CFI Calculator to users and provide examples of how it can be used by fire investigators in the field.
This module examines these concepts to help all professionals tasked with determining fire origin and cause better understand fire flow dynamics so they can apply that knowledge to both to fire investigation and to fire attack.
This module provides a road map for fire officers to integrate and navigate their fire investigation duty with all their other responsibilities and describes where to obtain specific training in fire investigation.
The evaluation of hazards and the assessment of the relative risks associated with the investigation of fires and explosions are critical factors in the management of any investigation.
This module will describe the most commonly encountered fire protection systems.
This module presents best practices in preparing for and conducting the informational interview with witnesses in the fire investigation case.
This module provides instruction on the fundamentals of residential building construction with an eye toward how building construction affects fire development.
This module teaches first responders, including fire, police and EMS, how to make critical observations.
This program discusses how to access insurance information, understand insurance documents, ask key questions of witnesses, and apply the information learned.
This module offers a basic introduction about how some selected major appliances operate.
This program introduces the fire investigator to the issues related to the collection, handling and use of evidence related to a fire investigation.
This program takes you inside the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) archives of some of the most interesting and instructive test burns and fire model simulations they have ever conducted.
The program provides foundational background on the scope of the youth-set fire problem, the importance of rigorous fire investigation in addressing this problem, and the role of key agencies in the response to a youth-set fire.
This module provides a thorough understanding of the ways an investigation changes when a fire-related death occurs.
This self-paced program will help you understand what to expect at a fire where an LODD has occurred, what your role is, how to interact with others, and how to handle special circumstances at the scene.
This program will introduce the fire investigator to the basic methodologies use to investigate vehicle fires.
This module presents the role natural gas can play in fire ignition, fuel load, and spread; the elements of investigating a fire in a residence where natural gas is present; and the potential role the gas utility or the municipality can play an investigation.
This self-paced program covers fundamental legal aspects of investigating youth-set fires, including the juvenile justice system, legalities of interviews and interrogations, arson statutes, search and seizure, and confidentiality.
This program discusses the latest developments in expert testimony under the Daubert standard, including the MagneTek case recently decided in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
This module focuses on how to manage investigations that have “complicating” factors.
This module uses the Motive, Means, and Opportunity case study to demonstrate how responsibility is determined in an arson case.
This program covers the general anatomy of a motor vehicle and a description of typical components of the engine, electrical, ignition, and fuel systems.
This self-paced program is the second part of a two-part basic introduction to motor vehicle systems. This program describes the function and major components of the transmission, exhaust, brake, and accessory systems.
This module educates the investigator about NFPA 1033’s importance, its requirements, and how those requirements impact the fire investigator’s professional development.
This module reviews the major changes included in the documents including the use of color photos in NFPA 921 and additional material that supports the expanded required knowledge list in NFPA 1033 Section 1.3.7.
The program illustrates for the fire investigator, how non-traditional fire scene evidence can be helpful during an investigation.
This module introduces the postflashover topic, describes ventilation-controlled fire flow, illustrates how the damage left by a postflashover can be significantly different than if that fire was extinguished preflashover.
This module lays the groundwork for understanding marine fires by covering four basic concepts that the investigator must understand before investigating a marine fire.
In this module, you will learn more about how cancer develops, what occupational exposure risks to carcinogens exist at fire scenes, and how to better protect yourself against those exposures.
The use of the process of elimination in the determination of a fire cause is a topic that has generated significant discussion and controversy in the fire investigation profession.
This module teaches the basics of the electrical power generation, distribution, and transmission system.
This module presents the basics of natural gas and its uses and system components in a residence.
This module explains the principles of search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, as contained in the amendment and according to subsequent case law, and applies them to typical fire scene scenarios.
One of the legal proceedings that may require the fire investigator to testify is a deposition. Depositions are often related to civil proceedings, but more and more jurisdictions are using them in criminal cases.
Deposing attorneys employ a variety of tactics to learn about the expert witness giving testimony, to try to unsettle that witness to see how he/she handles such pressure, and to probe for weaknesses to exploit.
This module provides introductory information on the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard – 29 CFR 1910.120.
The program examines the importance of assessing the impact of ventilation on a fire.
This module demonstrates the investigative potential of information stored on electronic devices.
This module explains the relationship between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921
The basics of the scientific method are deceptively simple: observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude.
This module addresses the foundations of thermometry, including the definition of temperature, the scales used to measure temperature and much more.
This program presents the results of flame experiments conducted with a candle.
This self-paced program explains to non-investigators the role of the fire investigator, what the fire investigator does, how the fire investigator is trained, what qualifications the fire investigator must meet.
This module will untangle the meanings of "undetermined," straighten out how to use the term correctly, talk about how not to use it, and describe how to properly report fires where "undetermined" is the cause or classification.
This module will advise fire investigators on how to approach the fact-finding procedures necessary and validate a hypothesis.
This module provides an overview on how structures can become vacant and eventually abandoned.
This self-paced program provides a basic framework for structuring the management of fire cases and fire investigators.
This module illustrates how wildland fires spread, explains how to interpret burn patterns unique to these types of fires.
This module presents the key elements of the initial origin and cause report and methods of clearly presenting findings in a professional manner.