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.
ROD AMMON: Welcome to this edition of the IAAI’s CFITrainer.Net podcast. Today we’re going to dig into an issue that’s making headlines all across the country, and it just keeps happening, especially in the West. It seems like every year we’re saying how bad the wildland fire season is, and this year was no exception; 2017 was nearly a record-breaking year in terms of number of acres burned by wildfire in the continental United States. It was 49% higher than the 10-year average, according to Wildfire Today. The EPA has noted that the steady increase in acres burned by wildfire in the U.S. coincides with the warmest years on record nationwide, and other scientists are pointing to climate change as a factor in the increase in wildfire damage because of higher annual temperatures, widespread tree death from pests, extreme drought, and melting permafrost. According to the World Resources Institute, there are real concerns that recent intense fire seasons may become “the new normal.” And because as many as 90% of wildland fires in the United States are caused by humans, the more we can do to investigate these fires, find the causes, and design risk-reduction strategies accordingly, the more headway we will make in protecting lives and property by preventing potentially devastating fires from starting.
IAAI 2018 ITC is offering an in-depth look at a number of aspects of wildland fire investigation by devoting an entire day’s worth of classes to the topic on Thursday, May 24th. That intensive includes Wildland Fire Origin & Cause Methodology, Ignition Factors and Sources, and Power Line Causation.
So today, we have a preview of one of the classes that will be taught during the wildfire intensive. That class is titled “Engineering Tools for Wildland Fire Investigation: Fire Pattern Indicators to Power Line Ignition and Safety” and will be taught by Kevin Lewis, Paul Way, and Albert Simeoni. Mr. Way is with us today to talk about the class and the wildland fires intensive. He is the director and a technical manager for the CASE Electrical practice group, as well as a senior electrical engineer with extensive experience in both electrical and mechanical engineering, design, failure analysis, wildland fires, and wildland fire risk reduction by managing vegetation in power line rights of way. Thanks for joining us today, Paul.
PAUL WAY: Of course. Thanks for having me.
ROD AMMON: We’re very grateful. First let’s take a minute to talk about something that might seem obvious, but why do you think the IAAI is holding a four-course, daylong intensive in wildland fires at this year’s ITC?
PAUL WAY: Well, I think those reasons have become pretty obvious in the last few years starting back in 2012 with the Bastrop Complex fires, continuing on through the last couple of years with the spread of very large, very expensive wildland fires, some of course related to changing weather pattern. The magnitudes of those losses has grown dramatically. The frequency of the fires is growing, and the investigation techniques that we bring to bear on figuring out what the causes of those fires are have become increasingly important. And I think that IAAI has a responsibility that they recognize in providing the most up-to-date, thorough, and accurate information on those subjects.
ROD AMMON: That’s a great explanation. So what do we gain from investigating these wildland fires? How are identified causes translated into policy or risk reduction or other changes?
PAUL WAY: Well, let’s start with your most broad question. What do we stand to gain? Of course, we are often hired by insurance companies, attorneys, heavy industrial clients to do investigations focused on following the money. But in a broader sense, the public stands to gain in figuring out what’s causing these fires, how then to reduce the probability that those fires will occur, and how to manage the various hills and sites where those fires occur to reduce the impact that they have on the public. And when I say the impact on the public, I mean not only loss of property value, but loss of life and loss of aesthetic value, which is very hard to quantify.
ROD AMMON: When I think about this, and I was out there a couple of years ago, and it’s interesting you say the aesthetic value because that is something you have to see to really imagine.
PAUL WAY: I mean when you see a fire that’s gone through an area, especially for example, thinking of the Bastrop Complex, I was there on the ground during the fire, while it was still going, and it looked like a moonscape. Metal cars were melted down. Concrete had blown apart. The soil was covered with a hard layer of ash the fire had burned so intensely. Aesthetically, it was very unpleasing. It reminded me of being on Mount St. Helens after that incident occurred. So it’s just not nearly as pleasant to hike through or to try to use those wildland areas after a high-intensity fire. And I make a distinction between high intensity and what I’d call a normal wildland fire.
ROD AMMON: You know, it may be politically incorrect for me to go here, but you mentioned climate change. I think that’s the wording you used at the beginning, and one of the things that I think about is that people sort of get to the point where it’s like, well, it’s climate change, and we’re just going to have more and more fires. Why does investigation still become important, or why is it still important I should say?
PAUL WAY: That’s a great question. Again, if we accept the idea that climate change is occurring and stay away from a political discussion about why it’s occurring, just the fact that it is, and I think that that is a conclusion that practically everybody would agree with, then that means that we are going to have to deal with more of these. And we have to put more attention, more money, and more skill into doing whatever can be done to reduce the probability that those fires will be ignited, and if they do become ignited, that they will spread, so it just makes sense. It’s going to get worse. For example, I remember in 2016 during the California drought, I was talking with my friends. I was like, yeah, you know the drought is bad, and then we had a really, really rainy fall and early winter in 2017, and everybody is like, oh great, the drought’s broken, everything’s going to be okay, and I was like, you know, heavy rains in California in the winter mean heavy vegetation growth, and then sure enough, that’s what happened. We had a lot of vegetation, and then we had another dry spell, dry and windy, and so we saw all of the Central California fires. We saw all of the Southern California fires, and now we’re seeing the landslides because of the slope destabilization because all the vegetation is gone. So why do we need to know? The ultimate answer is so that we can do whatever possible and as economically feasible to do to prevent these fires from occurring.
ROD AMMON: So, Paul, in a follow up to investigations as we deal with climate change, what changes about these investigations, if anything?
PAUL WAY: I don’t think the basics change dramatically because of climate change, but that brings up another question. As we see these fires getting bigger, the fire investigation community is incented to spend more resources, more time, and more of the client’s money to get to the bottom of things so that we can answer the questions that are more difficult. How do these fires start, and what can be done to reduce the probability that they will be started? And it ultimately comes down to economics. How much resource, how much money and time do we want to put in? And the answer is generally dictated by society, what’s it worth, and that answer is increasingly it’s worth more, that we should be putting more time and resource into understanding this so that we can do everything possible to reduce those frequency and severity of fires.
ROD AMMON: Especially as where people are living expands more and more into this—what do they call it—the wildland urban interface.
PAUL WAY: Exactly. I mean we humans like to build. We like to expand. We like space, and that means that we are increasingly encroaching into those wildland areas and putting our things, our human things—power lines, equipment, human activities, whether it’s fireworks or little boys out goofing around with their lighter—we’re increasingly putting those things in closer contact with those wildland areas. And so I mean that just happens. It’s going to increase. We’re going to expand. Things are probably going to get warmer according to the science; at least it looks like. Whether you trust it or not is another question.
ROD AMMON: So we’ve gotten a little bit into what we gain from investigating these wildfires, and I’m wondering—I think a lot of times we’re talking to folks in the Midwest and the East here, and I always think about when the news story of the fires drop off for us on a national basis. I keep thinking, I know you guys are out there still working, and I often hear about resources being very short because I work with a lot of different folks on the fire service. How do you see the fire investigation actually creating change, and that change being—moving towards translation into policy?
PAUL WAY: So let me give you an example of that, and it relates to the utility industry. The utility industry, and by that I mean the people that generate, transmit, and then distribute electrical energy, are working with a product that is inherently dangerous. Electrical power, electricity is dangerous, and those people—the utilities—are always considering what they’re doing that can cause a fire and how they can reduce that risk. The utilities develop what’s called a vegetation management plan, and that vegetation management plan is driven by local conditions, by federal and state and other local laws, and they develop that plan to keep vegetation away from their power lines because vegetation in contact with power lines can produce ignition sources: embers, burning materials that can fall on the ground and then cause the ignition of these wildland fires.
And so all of those things, the vegetation management plan, are activities that the utilities engage in, and because these fires are becoming more extensive and more frequent, they are putting more energy and time into developing and refining those plans. They are now starting to require auditing programs for the people that are doing the tree cutting. They require auditing programs for the people that go out and inspect the lines, and the utilities have people on contract that walk in some areas, for example, California. They walk every inch of every power line every year and look at the vegetation with the goal of figuring out what needs to be cut, what doesn’t need to be cut, what might need to be cut in the next treatment cycle. So again, putting money into those activities is becoming increasingly important.
ROD AMMON: I—you know, it makes me want to remember or remind people of something, and it’s probably more the general audience. It’s the importance of fire investigation as a whole. A lot of times, we all get pigeonholed into this arson world, and when I hear you talking, the majority of everything, all the fire investigators I do, relate to, are not necessarily arson. They come across and they find causes for fires that can help us, whether they’re arson or not, and I just think it needs to be—people need to be reminded of that. Could you explain some of the—give us a little bit of a 101-level discussion about power lines and how they cause wildfires.
PAUL WAY: Sure. As I mentioned, the product distributed by utilities is inherently dangerous. Electric current flow is supposed to stay on the wire. Any time electrons on the wire get off of the wire and flow through vegetation, other animals—for example, as birds land on a wire in just the right way, they can cause electrical current flow through the body of the animal. That creates a hot ember or a burning substance, which falls to the ground, and so the general field is called vegetation management or right-of-way maintenance management. The utilities put their power lines and their equipment through right-of-ways, often through wildland areas, and they’re generally required to maintain certain clearances around those power lines. And in attempting to do that, the utility hires people with forestry backgrounds, arborists, who look at trees and shrubs, and they say, okay, this particular tree grows at 1 to 2 feet per year on this particular site because it’s got a lot of water, or they may say this tree grows at only 6 inches a year because it’s in a dry area.
They evaluate that vegetation, and then they will decide whether that particular piece of vegetation needs to be cut this year, whether it can wait until next year, or whether it needs to be removed completely. A lot of the fire incidents that are related to utility equipment are due to vegetation and energized component contact, power lines having trees in them. The other causes are related to equipment failure. A piece of equipment owned by the utility will reach an end of life, fail, explode, and expel hot particles, which then ignite wildland fuels. The utilities are constantly evaluating ages of their equipment and saying, okay, we are reaching a time in this life of this equipment where it’s more likely to fail and then to decide, do we need to replace it proactively, or they may say, you know what, we think it’s got another 15 years left, so we’re just going to leave it in service. Sometimes that’s a good call, but things fail unexpectedly. I mean think about the tire on your car. You may put in a new set of tires; 20,000 miles in, one of them blows out. You can’t predict that, and the utilities can’t always predict what happens with their equipment, same thing with trees.
ROD AMMON: I—boy, I tell you, it sounds like a big job. I can’t even imagine how many miles of wire running through the miles of wildlands in our country. So give us a quick look into what’s going on at your class.
PAUL WAY: Well, so we are going to be talking about three general topics. Mr. Lewis is going to be talking about a general area called hot particle ignition, how hot particles produced by electrical arcing, equipment activity, scrapings from blades, or embers ignite wildland fuels. Mr. Simeoni is going to talk about wildland fire investigation, indicators, research that he’s been doing. Mr. Simeoni is engaged in some very large-scale burns where cameras were installed, thermal sensors installed, and then after the fire, the indicators were analyzed to determine how reliable those indicators are to trace back and determine a point of origin of a fire. Now, when I say point of origin, what I mean is this, and it’s very challenging. If you imagine, if I take a sheet of newspaper and lay it in the ground, take a lighter, and I light one corner of that paper, and I let it burn nice and gently, and then very gently I use a spray bottle and put the fire out, you can look at that piece of paper and say, ah-ha, well, I can see by the burn patterns that this fire started here on this corner of the paper because the evidence of the point of origin of the fire has been preserved.
Now, in a different situation, let’s say that I light that paper, and I let it burn until all the paper is consumed, and then I walk on it and then I spray it with a hose. In that case, it’s going to be impossible to look at the burn patterns and identify where that fire started. That’s the challenge that we often face in the field. So the interpretation of fire patterns becomes very, very difficult, but often, they can still be interpreted. When you go to a wildland fire, if it’s burned through, if there are no witnesses, it’s really hard to say, well, it started here or there because the extreme consumption of fuel, the winds that change direction from day to night causing the fire to reverse direction, and that further obscures fire patterns. So that’s what Mr. Simeoni will talk about. And then I’m going to be talking about power lines and vegetation management. I have a degree in electrical engineering and forestry, which puts me in a unique position to discuss power line/vegetation interaction. And so I’m going to be talking about vegetation management plans, how the plan is written, how they’re executed, and how they’re monitored, and then generally about utility equipment, what those various components are, and how they start fires. So that’s kind of a 10,000-foot view of what we’re going to be talking about.
ROD AMMON: Sounds like a good class. You know, there are some that I try to go in and either I’ll be doing photography or I’ll be doing some interviews, but that sounds real interesting, and I appreciate a pretty thorough outline of what’s going on in the class. So this might be redundant, but what are you expecting investigators to take back after the class, after they get done?
PAUL WAY: There are a few things that I know that we all hope will be taken away. We hope that people will recognize that hot particles do cause fires. Some hot particles don’t ever cause a fire. We hope that people will take away when fire patterns are meaningful and when they’re not meaningful, and when more careful examination of those burn patterns is warranted, and then I hope that people take away an understanding of how the utilities manage their lines, how the vegetation management is done, and how power lines can start fires. That’s the general takeaway that we’re hoping people come—go away with.
ROD AMMON: Paul, thanks again for your insights on this timely topic.
PAUL WAY: Well, of course. Thank you for having me on.
ROD AMMON: We appreciate you joining us today to raise the profile of wildland fire investigation
PAUL WAY: Of course. Well, thank you.
ROD AMMON: You be well.
PAUL WAY: Bye-bye.
ROD AMMON: We encourage our listeners to take a moment to review all four courses in this intensive, which include “Wildland Fire Scene Origin & Cause Investigation Methodology,” “Wildland Fire Scene Ignition Factors & Sources,” and “An Analysis of Power Line Causation Issues in the Wildland Fire Investigation Context.” There’s a lot there for both new and experienced investigators to learn.
IAAI 2018 ITC is a great opportunity to get more into this topic if it’s not a current specialty of yours or to go into greater depth if you’ve got some experience. IAAI 2018 ITC will take place May 20th through the 25th, 2018 in Frisco, Texas. It’s coming up pretty quick, and it’s time to register. You’ll have time to make your travel plans or get the department approvals you need if you do it soon. Visit iaaiitc.com for more details on the classes offered and register today. That website that is specific by the IAAI for the International Training Conference again is iaaiitc.com.
We’ll end the podcast today with one of those “WHOA, what?” moments when you’ve heard or read something that makes you stop for a second and read it again to make sure you read it right the first time. This news comes to us from Australia’s National Post, and it reports that a recent research paper presents evidence that raptors are intentionally spreading grass fires by picking up burning sticks and dropping them in a new location, all to flush out prey to make them easier to catch. It started with an observation by a veteran firefighter in the Northern Territory named Dick Eussen. He was investigating the cause of a grassfire in progress that suddenly flared up in a different location.
When he got to the new location, he saw a whistling kite overhead holding a burning twig. The bird then dropped the twig into the grass, which burst into flames. That became the impetus for a new research paper compiling multiple observations of solo and coordinated attempts by birds of prey to spread wildfires. It turns out that this phenomenon has been widely known to local people and Aboriginal rangers for some time. The article has been published in the Journal of Ethnobiology. Just some food for thought on the unexpected causes of wildfire spread. We’d like to give a tip o’ the hat to Christine Kemper for bringing this story to our attention. If you see something interesting related to fire investigation, be sure to drop us an email via the Support or Feedback tab.
That concludes this podcast. Stay safe out there. We’ll see you next time on CFITrainer.Net, and we hope we’ll see you at ITC this year in Frisco, Texas. This year, you’ve got a little bit more time to get yourself set up for it in May. For CFITrainer.Net and the International Association of Arson Investigators, I’m Rod Ammon.
<p><a href="http://www.iaaiitc.com/" target="_blank">IAAI 2018 ITC</a>
<p><a href="http://www.iaaiitc.com/pdf/2018ITCSchedule.pdf" target="_blank">IAAI 2018 ITC Class Schedule</a> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.iaaiitc.com/2018PowerlineCausation.htm" target="_blank">An Analysis of Powerline Causation Issues in the Wildland Fire Investigation Context</a> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.iaaiitc.com/2018EngineeringTools.htm" target="_blank">Engineering Tools for Wildland Fire Investigation: Fire Pattern Indicators to Power Line Ignition and Safety</a> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.iaaiitc.com/2018WildlandIgnitionFactors.htm" target="_blank">Wildland Fire Scene Ignition Factors & Sources</a></p>
<p><a href="http://www.iaaiitc.com/2018WildlandOriginCause.htm" target="_blank">Wildland Fire Scene Origin & Cause Investigation Methodology</a></p>
<p><a href="http://wildfiretoday.com/2018/01/10/nearly-a-record-breaking-year-for-acres-burned-in-the-u-s/" target="_blank">Nearly a Record-Breaking Year for Acres Burned in the U.S. Wildfire Today. 10 Jan 2018.</a> </p>
<p><a href="https://www.epa.gov/climate-indicators/climate-change-indicators-wildfires" target="_blank">Climate Change Indicators: Wildfires. Environmental Protection Agency. April 2016.</a> </p>
<p><a href="http://www.wri.org/blog/2015/11/3-trends-us-wildfires" target="_blank">Mann, Sarah Alix and Mimi Gong. 3 Trends in U.S. Wildfires. World Resources Institute. 9 November 2015.</a> </p>
<p><a href="https://www.nps.gov/fire/wildland-fire/learning-center/fire-in-depth/wildfire-causes.cfm" target="_blank">Wildfire Causes. National Park Service. U.S. Department of the Interior.</a> </p>
<p><a href="http://nationalpost.com/news/world/australian-birds-have-weaponized-fire" target="_blank">Warnica, Richard. "Australian Birds Have Weaponized Fire Because What We Really Need Now Is Something Else To Make Us Afraid." National Post. 9 January 2018.</a></p>
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.
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.
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 program explains the basic principles of how electric and hybrid vehicles are designed and work, including major systems and typical components.
This program presents critical safety information for how to interact with electric and hybrid vehicles.
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 provides introductory information on the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard – 29 CFR 1910.120.
This module teaches first responders, including fire, police and EMS, how to make critical observations.
The program examines the importance of assessing the impact of ventilation on a fire.
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 explains what lithium-ion batteries are, how they are constructed, where they are used, safety concerns, and how they can cause fires and explosions.
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 demonstrates the investigative potential of information stored on electronic devices.
This module explains the relationship between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921
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.
The basics of the scientific method are deceptively simple: observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude.
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.
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.