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 the IAAI’s January 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast. This month, we feature news from IAAI on the release of the new edition of Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033. Our news stories cover new flammability requirements from Underwriters Laboratories for pre-lit artificial Christmas trees and a growing fire problem in Dubai with factories that have been turned into worker dormitories.
IAAI has released the third edition of Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033. The new edition updates the resource previously known as User's Manual for NFPA 921. That was the 2004 edition. The new reference book, written by professional fire investigators from the IAAI and published by Jones & Bartlett Learning, includes all of the 2011 changes to NFPA 921. In addition, for the first time, the book includes color photos and sketches of key concepts. Here to talk about what’s new in this new edition is a gentleman who has been very involved in this book from the beginning. He is also the incoming president of the IAAI. Welcome Rodney Pevytoe.
Q: Why does IAAI write this book?
RODNEY PEVYTOE: The original idea when we first started to produce what was then called the User’s Manual to NFPA 921 was to bring 921 into a format that would be usable in an educational setting such as maybe a technical college, a fire academy or different classes that the IAAI or other groups might do. Looking at the content of 921 and the way it’s written, it doesn’t really transfer into an educational setting as well. So we started with that concept and through the evolution of the first two editions of the User’s Manual, we now have our present edition, which has been retitled to Fire Investigator: Principles and Practices to NFPA 921 and 1033, and we really think with this edition we’ve accomplished our ultimate goal of making it into this quality piece for the educational setting.
Q: Tell me about some of the changes that are in NFPA 921’s 2011 edition that have been incorporated into Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice?
RODNEY PEVYTOE: The best part is every change in NFPA 921 in the new edition that’s yet to be released is in this edition of the Fire Investigator: Practice and Principles to 921 and 1033. We’ve based everything in there about the upcoming edition. So any changes that are going to be forthcoming are already reflected in this document. So the lifespan of this document will be as good as the lifespan of 921, which is another three years.
Q: That’s great news. So can you give us an idea of the caliber of the authors of this book and their connection to IAAI?
RODNEY PEVYTOE: I’m really proud of the caliber of the people that we had involved in this document. If you look at the acknowledgements of the books, it covers two full pages of individuals that are from a real cross section of the fire investigation community, from the people who are hands on in the ashes so to speak, to the people who supervise those people, to the attorneys that might be involved in the prosecution, to the specialty disciplines such as electrical engineering, chemistry, different things like that. All of them are heavily involved in the fire investigation community. All of them realize that the IAAI is one of the world’s leading authorities in education of fire investigators, and one of the great parts of it is because of the reputation of IAAI we had no problems in seeking out these people and having them volunteer to be part of our participants.
That’s very, very good, and it’s great to hear that kind of expertise is buying the book. So why is this book important for fire investigators to have in their library?
RODNEY PEVYTOE: What we’ve been able to do with the Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to 921 and 1033, it is really the first document that combines the JPRs of 1033 in front of a chapter, specific topic chapter from 921, and shows that direct correlation. Anybody that’s actively involved in fire investigation knows the importance of 921 and 1033 in our job performance and how we go about interpreting a fire scene. By seeing the JPRs and the information in 921, we’re able to tie these two things together. When we look at the content of the book, the format that it’s set up, it really gels that together in a way - plus it’s a lot easier to read and to sit down and use in this educational format. We really think we have an outstanding publication here.
Q: Thanks very much Rod. I appreciate your time.
RODNEY PEVYTOE: No problem.
The retail price of Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033 is $79.95. IAAI is offering a special pre-release price for current IAAI Members. It’s $55.95. And if you order early and you’re a non-member, you can get it for $67.95.
We continue now with news from the fire investigation world.
Underwriters Laboratories has released new flammability requirements for pre-lit artificial Christmas trees. The new standard was prompted by UL research that showed that pre-lit artificial trees can be a significant contributor to fire growth if ignited, as significant as a dry natural tree. These new requirements are the first standard to address full-size, pre-lit artificial trees and are focused on limiting the contribution the tree can make to fire growth if ignited by a small fire such as that caused by a candle dropped onto combustibles. The new flammability requirements for UL certification are a maximum heat release rate of 100 kilowatts. Certified trees with the UL mark should be available for the 2011 holiday season. More information is available on the UL web site link that’s provided with this podcast.
As reported in The National, Dubai has experienced a 22% jump in warehouse fires in the first ten months of 2010. The Dubai Police forensic department, which is responsible for fire investigations, has attributed this significant change to the increasing practice of companies illegally partitioning their warehouses and housing their workers in these makeshift dormitories. The illegal partitioning even extends to creating two floors where there should only be one. This problem is exacerbated by poor storage practices, such as exceeding the structure’s storage capacity, stacking warehoused items too close to the ceiling, improperly storing flammable materials, and blocking emergency exits with stored items. In some high-profile incidents, workers in these makeshift rooms were trapped and died in fires. Dubai is stepping up inspections and penalties to try to deal with the problem.
That concludes this IAAI CFITrainer.Net podcast. Don’t forget to check out the links on this podcast’s page for more information on all our stories. We’ll see you again next month.
Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033
Underwriters Laboratories Flammability Requirements for Pre-Lit Artificial Holiday Trees
Warehouse Fires and Illegal Partitioning in Dubai
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 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 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.