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.
<p>Welcome to the June 2009 CFITrainer.Net podcast. This month we’ll feature live reports from the 2009 IAAI Annual Training Conference held in May where there were more than 450 attendees. First, we’re joined by some of the attendees to hear about the experiences at ATC. Then we interview newly elected IAAI President, Robert Schaal about the new IAAI Fire Investigation Technician program or FIT. CFITrainer.Net traveled to IAAI’s Annual Training Conference in Arlington, Texas last month. Let’s hear what the attendees had to say about their experience.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The selection of training was great again this year.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The variety of classes is just unbelievable.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: This is quite a unique opportunity to see presenters of this caliber that come from Canada and the opportunity to sort of rub shoulders with all these folks is just incredible. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I came to see what was going on in the international association and see if they had new ideas and what I could bring back to our membership. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The training that we have is usually top notch.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: You had your public service track and you had your private sector tract. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: It’s a great opportunity to network.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Probably the best training you’re going to get anywhere. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The camaraderie, the evening hours, getting together with everybody from really around the world and getting to meet different investigators from all walks of life. It’s a good time after classes to meet with other people and talk with them and get to know them. Meet a lot of new friends here.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I thought some of the instructors and the training programs being presented was top notch. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I’m so happy and so proud to be here. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Instructors present a lot of information in a short period of time that covers a broad range.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: This is the third ATC that I’ve been to.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I’ve been attending for the past several years now and it’s always interesting.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: It’s the third time.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: This is my first.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I think this is my fifth.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Oh, let’s see, this will be my 15th I think.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I went to the BATS course, and then I took the BATS training, and this is going to be an awesome system to use where it’s going to manage all of our data.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The main class that I was interested in this year was really the firehouse secrets dealing with firefighters involved in arson.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: We have a one week presentation on the fundamentals of fire investigation.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: A favorite course is fire fatalities.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Too much to list there. It all was for me there. I’m glad I had the choice of many other things to pick from.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I believe that knowledge and the spreading of this knowledge is important to do this job and to share the experiences and to learn as much as we can to improve our science and technology, about that, and I think I am taking home more of this experience and to try to give it to my members, my friends and all the people involved in this thing.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The first day I sat in on the basics class, went over 1033 and 921 and became very intrigued with the way the instructors presented the information and the quality of information that was presented.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: The knowledge you gain not only from the classes and the curriculum that’s going on, but the camaraderie and the knowledge you gain from people also that attend. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: I’ve met people from Alberta, British Alberta, in the Vancouver area, Oregon, and people from a number of different states.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Yes, I went yesterday and we went to the livestock in Ft. Worth, and then we took a ride in downtown Dallas.</p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Went to the Rangers baseball game, which was a real good time. </p>
<p>ATTENDEE: Oh, always have fun. Well just meeting my friends, heading out for the evening, socializing and that, but the main reason is coming here to learn.</p>
<p>INTERVIEWER: At ATC 2009 we also caught up with the incoming President of IAAI, Robert Schaal, to talk about the new Fire Investigation Technician program that IAAI will start this summer. Good to see you Robert.</p>
<p>ROBERT SCHAAL: Good to see you Rod.</p>
<p>INTERVIEWER: So we’re going to talk today a little bit about the FIT program. Tell me, why did the IAAI create the new technician program? </p>
<p>ROBERT SCHAAL: We created the IAAI Fire Investigation Technician program to provide access to a professional designation to more people that don’t necessarily qualify for other certification programs.</p>
<p>INTERVIEWER: So Bobby, what are the main differences between the new technician program and the existing CFI program?</p>
<p>ROBERT SCHAAL: Well the IAAI FIT program does not test to all of the same job performance requirements as the CFI program. What we did is picked out some of the baseline core competencies from several existing standards, the standard for Professional Qualification for Fire Investigators in NFPA1033, the standard for Fire Officer Professional Qualifications 1021, and the standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Marshals 1037. All of those have some investigative component in them. We don’t test to all of the job performance requirements, but we picked out ones that we thought were critical for people entering this field or related to this field. It’s a program designed for people that may just be starting in the fire investigation field or may have some capacity where they are involved in investigations, whether it be an insurance adjuster, a claims adjuster, an insurance company special investigation unit, somebody with a volunteer or paid department that kind of helps out their fire officer in processing fire scenes. We wanted to give them a path to reach some professional designation and recognition of the training and accomplishment. </p>
<p>INTERVIEWER: So what’s the minimum amount of time that somebody could jump into the FIT program?</p>
<p>ROBERT SCHAAL: It has three core requirements. It has an experience requirement, you have to have 18 months of general experience, and that’s another difference from the CFI program. The CFI program is specific experience related to fire investigation. This is a generalized experience. You have to have 44 hours of training. There are four classes that are requirements that are all available free on CFITrainer.Net, and the other 30 hours can be made up of any training, you know, whether it be your state chapter or some other fire related training that you attend. And then once you achieve those two, then there is a comprehensive examination that’s based on the scientific text and journals related to fire investigation.</p>
<p>INTERVIEWER: So give me an idea of when you expect the program to be launched. I know it’s coming soon.</p>
<p>ROBERT SCHAAL: It’s coming soon. We’re in the final process of developing the test database, and once the beta testing and program requirements are set, it should be launched within the next 30 to 60 days. </p>
<p>INTERVIEWER: That’s great. Anything else you want to add?</p>
<p>ROBERT SCHAAL: No, I think we’re really excited about the program. I think it’s going to be really beneficial to the field and it’s going to give people some idea of the path they need to take to continue their professional development.</p>
<p>That concludes this CFITrainer.Net podcast recapping this year’s IAAI ATC. By the way, next year’s ATC is in Orlando, Florida. Stay tuned for more information on the new FIT program as it rolls out this summer. We’ll see you next month.</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 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.