CFITrainer.Net Podcast

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.

2020
June 2020 Podcast - June '20 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this month's podcast we interview Doug Byron, President and Senior Forensic Chemist from the FAST lab about fats and oils and spontaneous combustion, and how they are involved in fire investigation. After our interview with Doug, we offer some thoughts on your job and the COVID-19 situation.
April 2020 Podcast - April '20 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month on the Podcast we interview President Barry M. Grimm from the IAAI and talk to Wayne Miller, Author of "Burn Boston Burn -The largest arson case in the history of the country.
March 2020 Podcast - March '20 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month on the Podcast we talk about some resources for COVID, updates from the IAAI and talk with a fire Marshall in New Hampshire about challenges in their region related to Sober Homes.
February 2020 Podcast - February '20 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast follows along with our technology theme. We look at social media’s effect on some fire investigations and then we talk with Mike Parker about his work with social media while at the LA County Sheriff’s Department.
January 2020 Podcast - January '20 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast gives you updates on Australia’s wild fires and an investigation and arrest tied to a large New Jersey fire. We also talk with Zach McCune from Rolfe’s Henry about a case study and course that he and Shane Otto will be leading at ITC this year. Zach talks about an arson fraud case and how spoofing and masking technologies were used to frame an innocent mother and perpetuate an arson fraud.
December 2019 Podcast - December '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In under ten minutes this podcast offers a review of 2019 milestones and new content and features that you might have missed. We also give you a quick preview of what to expect in 2020.
November 2019 Podcast - November '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we learn about two new technology solutions being studied for fire investigation and then we visit with Lester Rich from the National Fire Academy
October 2019 Podcast - October '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this podcast episode, we’re back for the second part of the CCAI live burn training event — the actual burn and post-fire.
September 2019 Podcast - September '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we travel to San Luis Obispo where we were hosted by the California chapter of the IAAI (CCAI). We had a rare opportunity to experience what it’s like to set up this training and experience a wildland burn in California. There was a lot to learn!
August 2019 Podcast - August '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's CFITrainer.Net podcast is under 15 minutes and offers information about fires in electric vehicles and what you need to know.
May 2019 Podcast - May '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this month's CFITrainer.Net podcast, you'll hear from ATF Special Agent Chad Campanell, who will discuss how ATF can assist state and local fire investigators with training and investigations, ATF resources available to fire investigators, and ATF's support of CFITrainer.Net. Also, we summarize the final report of a multi-fatality fire at a senior living community in Pennsylvania, where ATF cooperated with state and local investigators to reach conclusions.
April 2019 Podcast - April '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. There are two new additions to CFITrainer.Net! A new podcast with Dan Madrzykowski from UL speaking about ventilation and Fire Flow, and a new module called “Fire Flow Analysis”.
March 2019 Podcast - March '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast includes updates from the IAAI related to the election, the upcoming ITC, and a new website specifically about evidence collection. After the updates, you will also hear some news stories related to fire investigation.
February 2019 Podcast - February '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month take 10 mins and hear some fire investigation and IAAI news.
January 2019 Podcast - January '19 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we’re looking back on some of the biggest issues in fire investigation in 2018.
November 2018 Podcast - November '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk with Jeff Pauley from the IAAI’s Health and Safety Committee. Jeff is an IAAI-CFI and the Chairman of the Health and Safety Committee. In this podcast, he talks about ways to reduce exposure to carcinogens related to fire investigation. By listening, you will learn about ways to reduce your risks, learn about new resources that are available to assist you, and research that is coming soon.
October 2018 Podcast - October '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month meet and learn about IAAI’s new Executive Director, Scott Stephens and plans for the future. After that interview, hear some wild stories from the national news related to fire investigation.
September 2018 News Roundup - September '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts.
Short stories related to fire investigation - June '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. Join us for a brief Podcast that includes five minutes of short stories related to fire investigation.
What you need to know about Arson Awareness week - April '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we welcome Tonya Hoover, the Superintendent of the National Fire Academy. Superintendent Hoover came to the NFA with more than 20 years of experience in local and state government, most recently as the California State Fire Marshal.
Growing pot and earning Bitcoin can start fires? - March '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this month’s podcast, hear a story about how the Bitcoin business might be causing fires? What similarities are there between Pot growers and now Bitcoin miners?
Training related to wildland fire investigation - February '18 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast highlights new training related to wildland fire investigation featuring an interview with Paul Way, and this year’s International Training Conference. We also have a pretty wild story before we wrap up. Birds starting fires?
Smart homes and digital data gathering issues - December '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this podcast, we discuss two topics on the technology and forensics cutting edge. Michael Custer of Kilgore Engineering, Inc. and retired Special Agent Tully Kessler share some knowledge and give us a taste of the classes that they will be presenting at ITC 2018.
Discussion with Writer Monica Hesse - September '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this podcast, you will hear some great news related to the IAAI and CFITrainer.Net and then we have an interview with Monica Hesse, the writer of a new book called "American Fire: Love, Arson, and Life in a Vanishing Land."
Discussion with Criminalist- John DeHaan - June '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month on the CFITrainer.Net podcast, we talk to Criminalist, fire investigation expert and Author of "Kirk’s Fire Investigation", John DeHaan.
The Ghost Ship - May '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. For this podcast, we hear from a retired Captain of the Long Beach Fire Department, Pat Wills. Pat has been in the fire service for 37 years. He has been a leader and an investigator, now he is an educator speaking around the country about the importance of code enforcement.
Fast Podcast about ITC! - March '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to David Bridges about what to expect at ITC and the training you won’t want to miss.
CFITrainer Podcast- A profile with an IAAI-CFI® - February '17 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. Join us this month for our podcast as we interview IAAI member and CFI, Jeff Spaulding from Middletown, Ohio. Jeff talks about his work in both the public and private sector and then he shares an interesting story about how a pacemaker is helping in an investigation.
An interview with Dr. James Quintiere - December '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In a discussion with Dr. James Quintiere, we learn about some of his work in fire sciences, a bit about his research, his opinions related to the World Trade Center investigation and what he thinks is important to fire investigation as a scholarly leader in our field.
Fire Investigation After the Flood Podcast - November '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to Dan Hebert, an IAAI, CFI about "How Floods affect Fire Investigation."
September 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk about the recent changes in the FAA's regulations for commercial and public sector use of UAS or "Drones".
August 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to Jessica Gotthold about the Seaside Heights fire in NJ from 2013
July 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we talk to Fire Marshall, Ken Helms of the Enid, OK. Fire Department about his team winning the Fire Investigator of the Year award.
March 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - March '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's fire investigation podcast from the IAAI's CFITrainer.Net focuses on the Youth Firesetting Information Repository and Evaluation System, which is called YFIRES for short.
February 2016 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - February '16 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's fire investigation podcast from the IAAI's CFITrainer.Net focuses on what you need to do to ensure the integrity of samples sent to the lab. A conversation with Laurel Mason of Analytical Forensic Associates.
September 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. Our podcast related to the legalization of recreational marijuana and its effect on fire investigation was one of the most popular podcasts ever on CFITrainer.Net. This month’s podcast is a follow up with one of our listeners from California who is an investigator doing training on this very topic.
August 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast is about NFIRS where we interview the Executive Director of The National Association of State Fire Marshals Fire Research and Education Foundation, Jim Narva.
July 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. In this special edition of podcast we’re going to meet the newest IAAI Investigator of the Year, Andrea Buchanan.
May 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's Arson Investigator podcast from IAAI & CFITrainer interviews Jason McPherson from MSD Engineering to talk about some of these new technology tools.
April 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's Arson Investigator podcast from IAAI & CFITrainer interviews Dave Perry, a lawyer in Colorado discussing what fire chiefs, fire investigators, and the legal system are seeing in a state with legalized cannabis in regard to fire cause involving marijuana.
February 2015 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - Feb '15 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's Arson Investigator podcast from IAAI & CFITrainer interviews Mike Schlatman and Steve Carman who are both successful fire investigators and now business owners who have transitioned from the public to the private sector.
December 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast interviews Steve Avato from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives explaining the process of elimination and how it is a critical part of the scientific method.
June 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - June '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast interviews the 2014 Investigator of the Year.
April 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast interviews with Don Robinson, Special Agent in Charge with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives. Currently stationed at the National Center for Explosives Training and Research, located at the Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, Alabama.
January 2014 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - January '14 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast takes a look inside the process of revising NFPA 921 and NFPA 1033.
October 2013 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - October '13 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast focuses on the fire research work of Underwriters’ Laboratories, better known as UL.
February 2013 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - February '13 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month we have an interview with George Codding who returned from a recent trip to Saipan and gives us a closer look at the international activities of the International Association of Arson Investigators
Mid Year 2012 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - Mid Year '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This podcast features a mid-year update on the IAAI’s new initiatives and ways for you to get more involved with the organization.
September 2012 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an in-depth look at the recent live-burn fire experiments exercise conducted on Governor’s Island, New York by the New York City Fire Department, the National Institute of Standards and Technology, Underwriters Laboratory, and the Trust for Governor’s Island.
August 2012 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This is a special edition of the CFITrainer.Net podcast previewing the ITC 2013. There’s a new name for the Annual Training Conference from the IAAI now called the International Training conference.
April 2012 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an interview with Chief Ernest Mitchell, Jr., the US Fire Administrator. Also we will discuss the upcoming ATC, Annual Training Conference, from the IAAI about to happen in Dover, Delaware.
March 2012 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - March '12 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an interview with ATF Special Agent Billy Malagassi out of the Tulsa, OK Field Office about investigating fires in clandestine drug labs. We also report on NIST’s findings in the Charleston Sofa Super Store fire and IAAI’s Evidence Collection Practicum.
December 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features one of the presenters from this year’s IAAI ATC and see how a single photo broke the Provo Tabernacle fire case.
October 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - October '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an interview with Deborah Nietch, the new Executive Director of IAAI.
July 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features an interview with Tom Fee discussing details of investigating wildland fires.
June 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - June '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month's podcast features a lot of exciting things that are happening at CFITrainer.Net
May 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month highlights the IAAI ATC in Las Vegas and the third installment in the "It Could Happen to You" series.
ATC 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - This podcast discusses the upcoming IAAI Annual Training Conference and National Arson Awareness Week.
April 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This podcast announces the release of the program, The First Responder’s Role in Fire Investigation, which teaches first responders how to make critical observations and take important scene preservation actions at a fire scene.
March 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - March '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features some of the instructors from the upcoming 2011 Annual Training Conference, to provide a preview of the courses they will be presenting.
February 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - February '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features an update on fire grants and an interview with Steve Austin
January 2011 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - January '11 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features the release of the new edition of Fire Investigator: Principles and Practice to NFPA 921 and 1033, new flammability requirements from UL for pre-lit artificial Christmas trees and a growing fire problem in Dubai with factories turned into worker dormitories.
December 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast focuses on home candle fires, lightning punctures in gas piping, and respiratory diseases in the fire services.
November 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - November '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features research findings for structural stability in engineered lumber by UL, the ban on antifreeze in residential sprinkler systems, and the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s investigation of Jeep Grand Cherokee fuel tanks.
October 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - October '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features high-profile fire cases, why people leave stovetop cooking unattended and how new sensors under development may improve fire research.
September 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features how to use the ATF’s Bomb Arson Tracking System, IAAI Foundation grants, electrical fires and indoor marijuana cultivation.
August 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast focuses on social media as a fire investigation tool, a potential problem with modular home glued ceilings and research from Underwriters Laboratories on the effects of ventilation on structure fires.
July 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast is a roundtable on some of the latest research and technical activities that impact fire investigation, featuring Daniel Madrzykowski (moderator), Steven Kerber, and Dr. Fred Mowrer.
June 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - June '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast discusses career advancement, budget cuts and their impact on fire investigation, and the 2010-2016 ATF Strategic Plan.
ATC 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - Follow-up and Interviews from Orlando. Learn about the conference, hear what attendees had to say.
May 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. The second in our safety series called "It Could Happen To You." Our Long-Term Exposure roundtable is moderated by Robert Schaal.
April 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. The first of our two-part safety series called "It Could Happen To You." Our roundtable is moderated by Robert Schaal.
March 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - March '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features a conversation about legislative affairs affecting the fire service with Bill Webb, Executive Director of the Congressional Fire Services Research Institute.
February 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - February '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features our interview with a commercial kitchen’s fire expert about what you need to know when you work a commercial kitchen fire.
January 2010 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - January '10 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features a look at preliminary research on corrosion caused by Chinese drywall, a new database focused on fires in historic buildings, a warning on blown-in insulation, and the launch of the new firearson.com web site.
December 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features cooking fires, highlights of the International Code Council’s Annual Meeting on code requirements, including requiring residential sprinkler systems, and an easy way to keep up with recalls from the US Consumer Product Safety Commission.
November 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - November '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features chimney fires, including recent news on surgical flash fires, a proposed national arsonist registry, lightning research and an innovation in personal protective equipment.
October 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - October '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast is devoted to Fire Prevention Week.
September 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - September '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features the relationship between climate conditions and fire risk, new research on formulating fireproof walls and the latest in IAAI news.
August 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - August '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month takes a look at the dangerous combination of summer heat and oily rags, the rise in vacant home fires, and preview research underway on Australia’s devastating "Black Saturday" brush fires.
July 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - July '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month features a look at outdoor grill fires, a fatal fire at a homeless camp in Southern NJ, new NIST research on human behavior during building fires, and IAAI news.
June 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - June '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features live reports from the 2009 IAAI Annual Training Conference held in May.
May 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - May '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This podcast is dedicated to National Arson Awareness Week.
April 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - April '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features the NFPA 921 chapter on marine fire investigations and the myth and reality of static electricity as a source of ignition.
March 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - March '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month focuses on the rise of the hybrid vehicle and what its unique engineering means for the investigation of vehicle fires, the rash of devastating arson fires in Coatesville, Pennsylvania from December 2008 to February 2009, and news from IAAI.
January 2009 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - January '09 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast focuses on the deepening financial crisis in the US and arson for profit fires, how going green may pose a fire hazard and see how rope lighting may be a source of ignition, and IAAI’s Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony course.
December 2008 CFITrainer.Net Podcast - December '08 IAAI & CFITrainer Fire Investigator Podcasts. This month’s podcast features Christmas tree fires, changes to critical fire investigation publications, the weak economy’s impact on home fires, wind’s effect on structure fires, and ATC 2009.

Rod Ammon: Welcome to the CFITrainer.Net podcast. This is a time of unprecedented challenges for the emergency services. We are going to keep bringing you timely and interesting topics in fire investigation. But please know that we are mindful that Coronavirus is impacting every aspect of your life, as you continue to fulfill your mission. We'd like to hear from you how COVID-19 and it's affects like lockdown, social distancing, exposure risk, and increased calls for service are impacting how you and your department operate. Please get in touch with us using the contact form linked to this page, near the resources. We hope to tailor some future programming to your concerns and responses. If maintaining your training is challenging during this time, remember that online learning from CFITrainer.Net is available. There's also online learning from the National Fallen Firefighters at FHLN.net and there's roadway safety information available from the Cumberland Valley Volunteer Fireman's Association at respondersafety.com. You can just click on their learning network there.

So, also online learning available from UL and the National Fire Academy. They are all available remotely from your computer or device 24/7, 365. In person classes may not be an option right now, but you can still keep building your skills using distance learning, links are available on this podcast page. Today on the podcast, we're talking to Dr. Peter Mansi. Dr. Mansi is an IAAI-CFI, a member of the Chartered Society for Forensic Services, a fellow of the Institution of Fire Engineers and the past president of the IAAI. He developed a fire investigation approach called fire investigation roadmaps or FIRMs, that provides a system for applying the scientific method to analyze the data collected at a fire incident in an unbiased manner. He's here today to talk about FIRMs. Dr. Mansi hails from the UK, where he is a partner at Fire Investigations, UK. It's a pleasure to welcome you. How are you, Peter?

Peter Mansi: Thank you, Rodney. It's a pleasure to be talking to you again, and I missed you this year at the ITC.

Rod Ammon: Yeah, that was... Well that still is a brutal thing. You're used to that annual recharge of seeing everybody from around the world.

Peter Mansi: Absolutely.

Rod Ammon: So let's move on to this FIRMs. How did you get the idea?

Peter Mansi: Okay. So many moons ago I was facilitating forensic science students at London South Bank University. But at the same time, I was doing a lot of research into arsonists and arson detection and arson prosecution. And I said to the professor that I was dealing with, that I would like to get an ology one day in something with all this research I'm doing. So he suggested that I do what is called an MPhil research degree, which I eventually converted to a doctorate, a PhD. And it was to design a methodology that all of the potential hypotheses at a scene can be rigorously tested. And it forces an investigator to ask the question instead of making an assumption. So, that's how it originally started. And with the guidance of my professor, we set off and it took nine years to get there.

Rod Ammon: So help us understand, wow, nine years I had no idea that you had that much time into it. Congratulations. That's a lot of work.

Peter Mansi: It is.

Rod Ammon: So, what are FIRMs and how do they work?

Peter Mansi: So fire investigation roadmaps, if you can imagine a geographical map, there are many routes that you can take along a path to get to the same answer, to get to the same end goal. And what can happen is there are so many distractions that can take you off of that path, you need to come back onto it. So I've often compared them to flight checklists, and I'm an avid follower of air crash investigations. And I've been watching this over the years. How very professional pilots and individuals can make a mistake because they've been distracted. They've missed a risk critical bit of data. And in our case, that may be the piece of data that can determine the cause of the fire. So the roadmaps were designed to have a structure to your thought process. It is a methodology of how you develop your hypothesis.

So it's not a tick box checklist as such, but it does force you to answer the questions. So it was broken down into many different categories that actually doesn't take long to do before you leave the scene. So if we go back to the pilot checklist, the pilot will use that before they take off the ground. The idea with the FIRMs is that they are used before you leave the scene. Because as we say, what you leave at the scene, you lose it at the scene. And I can't tell you how many times I still think practice what you preach. Let's do the FIRMs before we leave. And there's a piece of information that I've forgotten to ask or I may have made an assumption. So I have to nail it down and get the facts. So, that's all it does. It forces you to ask the question and not make an assumption.

Rod Ammon: Sounds like a real good idea. So let's take ourselves to the scene, and tell me, are you using this as a piece of paper? Or are you using this on a tablet or on a phone? How does FIRMs actually work with you while you're doing your job?

Peter Mansi: Okay. Well, all of our investigators use it as it's all tied into our... In parallel with ISO 17020. But it's part of our ISO 9,001 management system. So you don't pull up at the scene and then get a checklist out and start going through it. You do what you're trained to do. You use your training, your experience, your qualifications, everything you've done to get you to where you are today, you use those skills. You may come to a point where you've got time to sit down, reflect, make notes. It may be an hour, seven hours into an investigation. It might be a day or two later, if you're on a protracted investigation. But it's now an app Rod. Sorry, to answer your question, I originally went to publishers to produce this in a book format. And many of them said it doesn't lend itself to a book. It lends itself to an app.

So me and my team, and other people around the world will log onto any tablet, iPad, they can use on their phone, any platform, because it's web based and you just go through the prompts and it will be a yes or no, or the information isn't available. So for instance, if you're talking about adverse weather conditions, I've used this on a case that's 10 years old. So adverse weather conditions, ah, I haven't got that information. I need to go back somewhere and find that information. So I may say at that point information isn't available. So it has to be a potential hypothesis if I haven't got the information to refute it. So at the end, when you've gone through this and it literally takes less than 15 minutes, normally around 10 minutes to complete on the tablet, before you leave the scene. It will then list potential hypotheses that apply to that fire scene. Or you then have to go back and do further research, but it forces you to ask the question before you leave the scene. And I've got a perfect example that I'll give you later.

Rod Ammon: Well, I was just going to ask you for examples, so why don't you give it to me now?

Peter Mansi: Okay. So the simple example I'm going to give you is this, how easy it is to make an assumption. And every fire investigator has done it in their career, probably does it without realizing it. And that's not being disrespectful. I do it, I'll put my hands up. So I'll go to what they called a Pyrolytic oven. So there's a fire in the casing of this Pyrolytic oven, it's just an oven that self-cleans, it gets to very, very high temperatures. A very expensive house just outside North London and it's contained to the housing that the oven is sitting in. The lady of the house smells smoke. The detector goes off. She gets a small garden hose, turns everything off, puts it out down the side of the oven. So I'll now ask her the usual questions. I'll take the photograph, I'll get the appliance out of the housing. I wrap it up, I label it, do the forms, everything else.

Put in the back of my Jeep. Then she's about to walk her dog. So thank you very much for the cup of tea, I was just about to drive off, and I thought, fill the FIRMs out, you know you should do it, fill it out. So I'm sitting there filling it out and I get to contractor. And I thought she never mentioned about having any work done on this, but I haven't asked her. So as she's walking away with the dog, I shouted out the window Mrs. whoever you are, can I ask you, has anybody worked on the oven at all recently? She said, yes, the morning of the fire. Pardon?

The morning of the fire. She said I had it serviced, the seal needed replacing. And the guy told me to put it on a Pyrolytic clean. And then it caught fire. I said, can you imagine if this is an arson prosecution and you have missed a simple piece of data like that because an assumption was made because she never mentioned it. I never saw any evidence of work being done on it, but there, that's a simple case, but it's an important one.

Rod Ammon: Sure. Is. I mean, you brought up aviation, they say just a couple of, usually one or two slipped things end up creating the big thing and...

Peter Mansi: Well, and do you know, how many planes have come down because prior to takeoff the flap setting hasn't been put right, because there has been an interruption. You can hear it on the black box where someone's walked into the cabin, and in some cases in Madrid, it happened three times when they got to that part. And so that's why they've done away with paper checklists now. With the FIRMs app, you can't progress until you answer the question.

Rod Ammon: So the aviation analogy works well, as far as, hey, if you forget this, that, or the other thing, you might have a really bad thing happened down the road. Do you have another example where you feel as though, hey really caught something that could have been an issue, or just another example you want to share?

Peter Mansi: I have, I'll give you one that was an arson prosecution. Now, all of this research was, the purpose and the title of the thesis was to increase the prosecution rate for arson, which at the time was around 3%. It was the lowest prosecuted crime. That was the purpose of it. However, I spent the first five years of my research doing anything but arson. It was all accidental causes because unless you can eliminate, positively eliminate an accidental cause you can't say it was a deliberate fire, because it's got to be beyond reasonable doubt. So I got involved with a case review as we will often do. So this case was about four or five years old. It was going through the prosecution process at the time. And a colleague in another fire department had taken this forward with the police as a prosecution. And I thought, it smacks of, this guy has set the fire.

So I used the FIRMs app, went through and one of the critical questions was the weather. And when it's that long ago, you can get that information. And the big issue was the wind direction. Now, once I'd got that piece of information, it was pretty clear. It involved a guy walking into a big, if you say like a mini aircraft hangar, and although he could smell smoke, he really couldn't... It didn't bother him because there'd been welding going on earlier that day. He popped into pick up an envelope and walk back out again. But the wind was quite strong wind coming right behind him. So as he opened the wicket door, is it possible that the wind blew in through that wicket door and pushed that smoke away from him, so it didn't affect him that much? In fact, doing that actually started to feed a smoldering fire and transition into a flame. Once we'd done all the tests, it was pretty clear that that is a high possibility. He still could have set the fire, but it could have been accidental. So he was acquitted, which was the right thing to do. But that piece of information was never considered in all of the investigation up to that point.

Rod Ammon: Interesting. So I guess that's quite a lesson learned. Anything else you want to share with us about the application of the app? And I guess you said it's available for Apple and it's available for Android or any web access.

Peter Mansi: Yeah. So the reason that I did that rather than device specific is, I mean the big complication with setting up this website is the encryption. It had to be absolutely secure that even the guy that programs it doesn't know the case name or details. It just comes out as gobbledygook, a string of different numbers. Only the person that registers can ever see. I've got on the screen in front of me now, a whole list of my jobs that I can see the name I've given them and the reference number, but the guy that does the programming, he can never see what I'm looking at on the screen.

Because, you understand what it means Rod, it's above me, it's double encrypted or whatever it is, so you can't see it. Now, the thing is with using these is, if you look at NFPA 921, where it asks for, let me just open one up. It asks for details, your methodology in how you conducted your fire investigation. Well to list out every single bit of your thought process is almost impossible to do, because you can't remember. Whereas what this does, it lists your... It's a decision log.

It produces a PDF decision log at the end and it'll give a decision number, a question ID number, the question itself, what your answer was and the date and time that you made that decision. So if at any time you get a new piece of data, you can go back anywhere within the phone, delete it. It will delete everything below it because you're going down a different route, and it will then... It doesn't delete the date and time you made that first decision. It puts a thin line through it and the new date and time. So we've had one of our guys give evidence in court and the judge asked, why did you change your mind here? We can see in his decision log, he could explain he had new data that became available. So it changed his hypothesis. So it's a great way of documenting your decision log basically.

Rod Ammon: And it sounds like an excellent way to show your systematic approach to what you're doing. So there's actually a product that comes out of this, that sounds very valuable to people. Are people in the United States using this?

Peter Mansi: There are several using now. I mean it's something that I don't push Rod, it's there if people want to use it. All I ever say is, if you're going to come up against one of our guys, you'd better have a good system of logging your decisions and your thought process and how you come up with those hypotheses. Because we use this. We've been complimented on by our ISO accredited organization. And it's amazing how much it works.

I did a boat fire last week, just less than a week ago, which was an arson fire. And by using this, the client was very impressed with it and pleased with the way it came out because they caught someone and that old get out of jail card is, I was actually trying to steal the VHF radio and in doing so I must have started a fire. Well, this forces you to go through all of those potential accidental causes and say, there is no evidence, but there is evidence of deliberate fire setting [inaudible 00:18:09] and so on. So it's a simple thing Rod, it is a flight checklist, before you leave the scene, this fire I had was a 500 mile round trip. And if I would just get back and say, oh, I forgot to look at.. It's a long way to go back. So, it works.

Rod Ammon: Well, it sounds like a great tool. That's a simple thing to integrate into what you do during the day. So any legal issues, as far as you know, this is something you created over in the UK. Legally, does it still seem to work when it crosses over the pond?

Peter Mansi: Yeah. And from the guys that are using it in the States, they've said that they'll always use it. It gives them a good structure and do you know though Rod, I'll be perfectly honest with you, I'm like everybody else. When I've finished at the end of a scene, especially when I've got a long drive home, the last thing I want to really do is sit in the vehicle. Or just go through and do this. But it's a habit, it's like putting your seatbelt on. You just get in the habit of doing it, or putting your crash helmet on. This takes 10 minutes to do, and you drive away every single time. In fact, I always challenge people when they sign up for this. If you do this for the next 10 scenes, you won't not do it on your 11th, because you'll feel uncomfortable that you may have forgotten something. Because you'll always find something that you probably missed.

Rod Ammon: It's a great point.

Peter Mansi: It's a safety net.

Rod Ammon: So how does somebody get started if they want to try it out?

Peter Mansi: Well, it's a subscription because of the cost of running the platform. As you know more than most, running it, updating it and tweaking. One of the things, you can use it for four weeks. And what I always say to people is please use it. Set a date in your diary like all of these subscription things. If it' not for you. Just delete it and cancel it. Go back over old cases. Get on there, go back over old cases that you've done and apply the FIRMs app and see if you were still a hundred percent happy about the outcome of that case.

Rod Ammon: Okay. And is there a website they should go to?

Peter Mansi: There is it's www.firmsapp.io.

Rod Ammon: So spell that out for us. Because I've got a little bit of feedback and you've got a little bit of British.

Peter Mansi: Okay. So it's Foxtrot, India, Romeo, Mike, Sierra, Alpha, Papa, Papa. Dot IO.

Rod Ammon: Okay. So firmsapp.io.

Peter Mansi: That's it. That's that's how you say it.

Rod Ammon: Okay. Well that's about it unless, did I neglect to ask anything that you feel is important?

Peter Mansi: No, that's the thing. After nine years Rod, I could talk about this all day, but it's so simple. In fact, when I was doing the research and getting towards the end, I was lucky I had 28 fire investigation officers in the London fire brigade that I could apply these to. And it's just human nature that people don't realize they're taking the short cut, they're making an assumption and they're not recording it, this forces them. And it's so simple. And it was, the guy that challenged me is Professor Dougal Drysdale on my Viber. And he said to me about a year or two later, why isn't this published? Why haven't you got it out there? And so he really encouraged me to do this and I'm pleased he did.

Rod Ammon: I'm glad to. And I just was thinking, as you said, fire brigade, one of the things we didn't do was introduce your role to the fire brigade. Why don't you just tell us that real quick before we go out because I feel neglectful.

Peter Mansi: Oh not at all. So I started this research when I was in the fire and arson investigation team in the London Fire Brigade. And it took me a year after I retired from the fire department to complete the research. But while I was there, I was fortunate enough to end up being the group manager for the whole team, where we had 28 dedicated, full time fire investigation officers. So I could apply my research and the methodology to those fire investigators to see if it worked or not. And I was just surprised at how simple things seemed to work very well.

Rod Ammon: Yeah, it was good to be in leadership and to have a focus group. So...

Peter Mansi: Yeah, absolutely

Rod Ammon: Well, Peter, thank you very much again for your time today.

Peter Mansi: You're more than welcome Rod, and as always, thanks for you do with CFITrainer and everything else. And I look forward to hearing more and seeing you next year, if not before.

Rod Ammon: Best to you and Claire, be well and we'll see you soon.

Peter Mansi: And you, take care Rod, bye mate.

Rod Ammon: Thanks Peter.

Peter Mansi: Bye.

Rod Ammon: We are very grateful for Dr. Mansi coming on to speak with us about FIRMs on today's podcast. Sounds like it's a pretty innovative tool and what's nice is it sounds like it's simple to use and it has a work product that comes out of it that could be useful to a lot of folks. We have a link to the FIRMs tool online on this podcast page. So users can learn more. This podcast and CFITrainer.Net are made possible by funding from a fire prevention and safety grant from the assistance to firefighters grant program administered by FEMA and the US department of Homeland security. Support also comes from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives and voluntary online donations from CFITrainer.Net users and podcast listeners like you. Thanks again for your time today. We appreciate it. Stay safe. We'll see you next time for the International Association of Arson Investigators and CFITrainer.Net. I'm Rod Ammon.

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