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.
Welcome to IAAI’s April 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast. This podcast announces the release of The First Responder’s Role in Fire Investigation, a program designed to teach first responders, including fire, police, and EMS, how to make critical observations and take important scene preservation actions at a fire scene. The DVD portion of this program was released at the Fire Department Instructors Conference or (FDIC) on March 24-26. It was also distributed at the Congressional Fire Service Institute’s Annual Fire and Emergency Services Dinner last week.
The First Responder’s Role in Fire Investigation DVD teaches crucial observations and actions that fire, police, and EMS first responders can take that will ultimately assist the fire investigator in determining origin and cause, and in some cases, responsibility for the fire. The DVD follows real firefighters and emergency responders as they respond to fires and show these observations and actions in practice. The DVD program is supported with written teaching and implementation materials, including an Instructor’s Guide, a User’s Guide, a Quick Reference Card, a Fire Incident Response Data Sheet, and a presentation template for instructors. These written materials are available in the Resources Section of CFITrainer.Net.
In conjunction with release of the DVD, a new training module called "How First Responders Impact the Fire Investigation" is now available.
With us today to comment on the release of this new resource is Jon Jones, CFITrainer.Net Project Manager for IAAI. Jon, welcome to the podcast.
Q: Why is this effort important?
JON JONES: We’ve known for many, many years that first responders are a critical part of what we do as fire investigators in that if the first responder recognizes a problem or does some very, very simple things to preserve the scene for the fire investigator it can make a big, big, big difference in the investigation. In this program, that’s exactly what we’ve attempted to do. The program is designed for the first responder, for the firefighter, for the police officer, for the EMT who gets to an incident and makes observations, sees something out of the ordinary, finds a piece of potential evidence. It might be a lighter in the driveway, it might be a gas can laying on the side of the road and being able to say this is something we need to deal with, this is something I need to identify, this is something I need to tell someone about. That’s what the first responder training program is designed to do.
Q: So what kind of response is the program getting?
JON JONES: We’ve given out several thousands of these DVDs. We know that they’re actually being used. We’ve seen a spike in our use statistics on CFITrainer.Net for the resources. The other thing we’ve seen is since the program was released on - there’s a companion program, how first responders impact the fire investigation on CFITrainer, we’ve actually, in less than a month, issued nearly 700 certificates for that program. So we think that the DVD is actually driving people, first responders and fire investigators, to come to the site, take the module and learn more about this important aspect of the fire investigation.
Q: Jon, how can instructors and supervisors take full advantage of this resource and use it with their classes and departments?
JON JONES: Rod, there’s a number of different resources that have been provided to support this program. Those resources are out on the CFITrainer.Net site under the resource section. The first and probably most important for the instructor is an instructor or supervisor’s guide. It’s a 10 or 12 page document that actually looks at the major teaching points and provides a lot of background for the instructor as they’re putting together their program. The DVD, as we’ve talked about, is really a high quality 24 minute video that can be used to introduce this topic to the first responders in a drill setting, in a continuing education kind of setting, it could be a company level drill, it could be a department drill, depending on how your department does training, but there is an instructor’s guide that covers a number of different areas to help the instructor present this material including actually doing drills and tours of burned buildings.
The second component is a student handout, a user’s guide, that is a takeaway type document that the instructor could hand out to the people that take the program and it just gives them, in two pages, some very basic information and the key points that they need to remember about this program. One of the components that I really like is the quick reference card. It’s a very, very quick checklist kind of guide that says here’s what you need to do to help preserve that scene so it can be investigated properly.
And finally, there’s a fire incident response data sheet that just gives 18 different points for the first responder to remember as they’re sitting there writing their report or contemplating that incident before they leave the scene.
Finally, there is a program on CFITrainer.Net, a module on CFITrainer.Net, that if a student or a firefighter, anyone is really interested in the topic they can go to the module on CFITrainer.Net, take that module and actually take a test and get a certificate of completion.
So there’s a number of different components and a number of different ways that the instructor or the fire department or the leadership of an organization could use this to enhance the training of the first responder.
Q: So as an individual firefighter and investigator what can I do to help with this initiative? How do you think it would be good for me to introduce this to a commanding officer?
JON JONES: Well I think that almost everybody in the business understands how important it is to preserve the scene. The way this gets introduced and one of the ways I’m looking at using it in my own area up here is to actually take it and provide it to investigators or to team up with an investigator and a fire instructor and actually go in and do the drill, the one hour presentation kind of program where we show the video, talk a little bit about the important points, and use a customized maybe PowerPoint presentation. It could be a lecture, it could be a number of different ways of presenting it, and doing some questions and answers. Trying to just raise the awareness and get people to understand how important it is to communicate - to preserve the scene and communicate any observations to the fire investigator when they arrive on the scene.
Thanks, Jon, it was great to get your perspective.
There is still time to register to attend ATC 2011, take important courses, network with your fellow professionals in fire investigation, see the latest tools and equipment available, and take advantage of all Las Vegas has to offer. You can register online at firearson.com. We have direct links for you on this podcast’s web page. Come back in May to listen to comments from the attendees.
That concludes this IAAI CFITrainer.Net podcast. Don’t forget to check out the links on this podcast’s page for more information on The First Responder’s Role in Fire Investigation. We’ll see you again next month.
How First Responders Impact The Fire Investigation - Resources
How First Responders Impact The Fire Investigation - Module
ATC 2011 Information
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.
In this program, we will look at emerging technologies that fire investigators are integrating into their daily investigative work with great success.
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.