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 this edition of the IAAI’s CFITrainer.Net podcast. Today, we have a mid-year update on the IAAI’s new initiatives and ways for you to get more involved with the organization.
As a membership organization, the IAAI benefits from the diverse experience and expertise of its thousands of members. By volunteering on the IAAI’s many committees and special projects, members can contribute significantly to the mission of the organization and, at the same time, enhance their careers and make an impact at the national and international level of their profession. A few examples of current committees include strategic planning, web site content, education and training, and wildland arson. Special project needs are ongoing and often undertaken at the suggestion of a member. One current need is for volunteers to support the Arson Awareness Week special project.
In addition to committees and special projects, the IAAI has a new volunteer opportunity: a liaison program. The IAAI created this liaison program to enhance communication with other organizations in the fire investigation field. An IAAI member who is also a member of another organization in the field can be appointed the liaison. This liaison keeps abreast of priorities, initiatives, and activities of both organizations and assists in aligning both organizations to work together where mutually beneficial linkages are found. The liaison touches base with the IAAI a few times a year about what the companion organization is doing and suggests how the IAAI may be involved, bringing these opportunities directly to the attention of IAAI executives.
IAAI is actively seeking volunteers with specific interests and strengths so those can be leveraged in both existing and new initiatives. New committees are frequently formed, special projects begin, and new connections with the organizations are made. If you have a special interest, area of expertise, idea, or see an opportunity, contact Deborah Neitch at IAAI. It’s a great opportunity for you to give back to the profession, make an impact, and enhance your credentials.
Now, we’re pleased to have IAAI’s President Roger Krupp with us on the podcast to give you a mid-year update on IAAI’s activities during his tenure. Roger, thanks for joining us.
ROGER KRUPP: Thank you, it’s good to be here.
ROD AMMON: Tell us a little bit about this new program you’re working on to generate liaisons with college fire science programs to develop our professionals of the future.
ROGER KRUPP: As a graduate of Eastern Kentucky University years ago, I was looking for something myself to continue my own personal development and my instructors, Ron Hawkins, one of them, directed me to the IAAI and NAFI, and I joined both organizations and strived to get both their certifications to continue my own professional development. And with that, I was thinking it would be nice if we could start something for students to give them the leg up, getting involved in it early while they’re actually studying to become a fire investigator. With that, I thought, well, there’s only a handful of schools that actually have fire investigation programs, so I thought if we develop a system where we allow them to join the IAAI at a reduced rate, make it affordable for them and give them some benefits like our magazine. And, the other thing was to introduce them to the local chapters. Once we start getting more of them involved, we’ll reach out to the local chapters for connecting with them to invite them to their local seminars and things like that so they can network with the local investigators.
ROD AMMON: Yeah, I think that’s a real big part of it that’s very exciting. I mean, the magazine and some of the information and the resources available through the website are great, but I think - you mentioned the networking. To me, as somebody coming out of college, it was great to know people in the industry where I was headed, and that sounds like something that’s even more important today with all the competition out there for jobs.
ROGER KRUPP: Yeah, I think it’s real important today that they have that networking opportunity. I think we had a group of students participate in our poster contest and were able to network at our ITC last year and meet with investigators and companies, and I even understand a couple of them that were there got job offers. So, it was a great opportunity for them.
ROD AMMON: That’s a great story to hear because I was going to ask you how’s it going, how has it worked out, and it sounds like it already is. All right, what - talk a little bit about something I think that’s relatively new here. It’s the enhanced chapter. What does it mean and what are the benefits?
ROGER KRUPP: Local chapters do a great job, and we need to be more connected with them, and the enhanced chapter program is one way to really get connected with the chapters and for the chapters to get connected with us, and one of the main benefits is the IAAI office handles all the membership billing for both the chapter and the international. So, enhanced chapter members get one invoice a year for both their international and chapter dues. A lot of guys and gals talk about the budget issues and their departments will only allow them to join one professional association, and by receiving one invoice, you’re joining two associations for one. So, it’s a great benefit.
ROD AMMON: Yeah, it sounds like it. I mean, it seems to me when I’ve talk to a lot of association people at the chapter level or state level very often it’s so difficult to handle the overhead and deal with the business needs as well as, like you’re saying, being able to have all of the benefits of an international member I think is great news for folks out there.
ROGER KRUPP: And, it’s also a benefit to the chapters. We’ve found that the chapters that have joined us, they’ve seen a great benefit of increasing their own membership.
ROD AMMON: And, I think to our listeners, it’s really important to understand that that international membership, it turbo charges your involvement with the IAAI and with the fire investigation industry. The connectivity that we’ve had with the chapters has been so incredible with our ability to produce content. A lot of the folks that are chapter and international members are often reached out to for assistance when we’re developing these, so we end up going out to a place where they might be doing a training fire or where they have an expert or out to their state or city and getting them involved. So, it’s just been great to see and really shares the expertise.
ROGER KRUPP: Yeah, and that is one of the nice parts about it. We rely on those, and we have a lot of people that get involved and volunteer their time and their expertise, which benefits us all, and it’s really refreshing.
ROD AMMON: There’s another benefit that is going to be rapidly building, and we’ve heard a lot of people saying, hey, what are you doing? What are you doing with the website are firearson.com? There’s been a lot of redesign and a lot of interface that’s been going on between the website and CFI trainer, but you had some concerns and others had concerns about what are we going to do with the website? It needs content. Can you talk about what you’ve done?
ROGER KRUPP: We just - at the mid-year, we appointed a website content committee and set it up by Chris Clark from the UK and that’s what we really want to get our own website to is becoming the resource that we say it is, where an investigator can go there and find information that’s relevant, and this will be a benefit to the members. It will be on the membership side, but a resource library-type setup.
ROD AMMON: Okay, so folks out there, keep an eye open, and it’s - it looks like in the first quarter next year, people will start seeing things that are showing up in that resource or reference material area on the website. I think another benefit - we always talk about networking, and there are a lot of folks that are outside of each specific investigator’s core. One of those areas that’s huge is the insurance industry. Can you talk a little bit about the interface with the insurance industry?
ROGER KRUPP: There’s all sorts of people that get involved in the fire investigation, and insurance is one of the important ones obviously because most fires are insured, so we’re trying to reach out to them, and one thing that we haven’t really touted too much is our IAAI fire investigation technician certification. IAAI FIT is a perfect certification for the insurance profession. It’s perfect because it’s designed to give that person who is maybe not necessarily the lead origin and cause person, but they need to know about the origin and cause and what’s going on and who’s doing it and how they’re doing it, and making sure they’re doing it correctly. And, with the IAAI FIT, it gives them a good background in that.
ROD AMMON: I even heard a couple of people talking about how folks in the insurance industry who might be involved in managing fire investigations not being the fire investigator might find it helpful to have the FIT because it gives them a base level of knowledge that they can use to better understand the jobs that are being done.
ROGER KRUPP: Absolutely. There’s a lot of companies, even their SIU guys, they’re not the - necessarily the lead origin and cause guy, but they’re managing the origin and cause and investigation, and the FIT does give them that perfect base to be working off of.
ROD AMMON: So, you’re in Texas?
ROGER KRUPP: Yes.
ROD AMMON: Do you want to talk a little bit about, I don’t know, something that’s happening around your visit with the Texas Fire Marshal’s Office?
ROGER KRUPP: Yeah, I had the opportunity to meet with the fire marshal, Chris Connealy, down here, and he in fact wrote a - you’ll see a new article from him kind of explaining what’s going on in Texas. I’m sure we’re all familiar with the Willis/Willingham cases that prompted some changes down here in Texas that they’re working on right now, and we formed a committee. Chris is going to be one of the members of that committee. We’re going to kind of look at coming up with maybe like a model-type resource for other fire marshal offices that are going to be facing in the near future here or have already started seeing it are some of these older case reviews and to be prepared and kind of how to handle those and be ready for them if they come to your state.
ROD AMMON: So, bringing more of this sort of systematic approach, scientific method overview or oversight to the investigations that not only are happening now but have happened in the past?
ROGER KRUPP: Yeah, exactly, and one of the key things that Chris and I talked about was obviously the need for training and education. That’s the core of - a lot of his efforts are bringing the training and education up to speed, and he’s getting a lot of good cooperation from the city managers and chiefs and his own state, people that provide the funding that understand that in order to stay on top of fire investigation, you have to continue your education and training and be up on what’s out there in the world, and it’s an important part, and that’s why he sees the IAAI as a great resource because we provide some of the world’s best training.
ROD AMMON: It was just really nice to see something happening again where the international is reaching out into a specific state, dealing with pretty hot issue and where benefit will be seen by the country.
ROGER KRUPP: Chris was very complimentary of the IAAI and the training that we provide, and he’s looking forward to working with us and what he’s doing down here in Texas to bring world-class training to their investigators.
ROD AMMON: It looks as though what’s been happening between you and Rodney and others that have traveled around over the past - the recent years is that the overall international membership is growing 10 to 20% a year against all odds while most associations are not growing or are really concerned. It must feel good.
ROGER KRUPP: Yeah, it does. It feels good, and I think a lot of that goes to those that really understand that it’s a profession and they want to be a part of the lead professional organization in their profession, and really it gets back to the basic core is providing good training and education opportunities so that they can maintain their expertise.
ROD AMMON: In your words and you had a friend sitting across from you or you had a college graduate or somebody who’s about to graduate college right now and you had 10 seconds to say to them you’ve got to join and this is why. What would you say?
ROGER KRUPP: If this is the career path you want, you want to be a professional fire investigator, you’ve got to want to be a part of this number-one leading association in the world for fire investigators. It’s where you need to be to stay on top of your game.
ROD AMMON: Perfect. Thank you, Roger. That concludes this podcast.
ROGER KRUPP: Thank you.
ROD AMMON: You’re encouraged to contact the IAAI at www.firearson.com or call 800-468-4224 to explore volunteer opportunities. Stay safe and we’ll see you next time on CFITrainer.Net. For the IAAI, I’m Rod Ammon.
This program provides a primer on accreditation, certification, and certificates for fire investigation training.
A fire occurred on the night of Feb. 20, 2003, in The Station nightclub at 211 Cowesett Avenue, West Warwick, Rhode Island.
Arc Mapping, or Arc Fault Circuit Analysis, uses the electrical system to help reconstruct a scene, providing investigators with a means of determining the area of a fire’s origin.
This module introduces basic electrical concepts, including: terminology, atomic theory and electricity, Ohm’s Law, Joule’s Law, AC and DC power.
A fire occurred on the evening of June 18, 2007, in the Sofa Super Store in Charleston, SC that resulted in the deaths of nine fire fighters.
This module looks at the many ways fire investigators enter and grow in the profession through academia, the fire service, law enforcement, insurance, and engineering.
This module will present a description of the IAAI organization.
This module takes a closer look at four of the most commonly-reported accidental fire causes according to "NFPA Fact Sheet.
This program brings three highly experienced fire investigators and an attorney with experience as a prosecutor and civil litigator together for a round table discussion.
The program discusses the basics of digital photography for fire investigators as well as software and editing procedures for digital images intended as evidence.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in civil proceedings such as fire loss claims and product defect lawsuits.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in criminal proceedings.
This module covers the foundation of DNA evidence: defining, recognizing, collecting, and testing.
This program provides a practical overview of how to perform the baseline documentation tasks that occur at every scene.
This module will discuss the techniques and strategies for conducting a proper science-based fire scene investigation and effectively presenting an investigator’s findings in court as an expert witness.
This module presents critical electrical safety practices that every fire investigator should implement at every scene, every time.
This self-paced program examines the fire investigator's ethical duties beyond the fire scene.
As social media has emerged as a powerful force in interpersonal communications, fire investigators are being confronted with new questions...
Should you work for a private lab as a consultant if you are on an Arson Task Force? How about accepting discounts from the local hardware store as a “thanks” for a job well done on a fire they had last year?
This module takes investigators into the forensic laboratory and shows them what happens to the different types of fire scene evidence that are typically submitted for testing.
This module teaches the foundational knowledge of explosion dynamics, which is a necessary precursor to investigating an explosion scene.
This module addresses the foundations of fire chemistry and places it within the context of fire scene investigations.
The program is designed to introduce a new Palm/Pocket PC application called CFI Calculator to users and provide examples of how it can be used by fire investigators in the field.
This module examines these concepts to help all professionals tasked with determining fire origin and cause better understand fire flow dynamics so they can apply that knowledge to both to fire investigation and to fire attack.
This module provides a road map for fire officers to integrate and navigate their fire investigation duty with all their other responsibilities and describes where to obtain specific training in fire investigation.
The evaluation of hazards and the assessment of the relative risks associated with the investigation of fires and explosions are critical factors in the management of any investigation.
This module will describe the most commonly encountered fire protection systems.
This module presents best practices in preparing for and conducting the informational interview with witnesses in the fire investigation case.
This module provides instruction on the fundamentals of residential building construction with an eye toward how building construction affects fire development.
This module teaches first responders, including fire, police and EMS, how to make critical observations.
This program discusses how to access insurance information, understand insurance documents, ask key questions of witnesses, and apply the information learned.
This module offers a basic introduction about how some selected major appliances operate.
This program introduces the fire investigator to the issues related to the collection, handling and use of evidence related to a fire investigation.
This program takes you inside the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) archives of some of the most interesting and instructive test burns and fire model simulations they have ever conducted.
The program provides foundational background on the scope of the youth-set fire problem, the importance of rigorous fire investigation in addressing this problem, and the role of key agencies in the response to a youth-set fire.
This module provides a thorough understanding of the ways an investigation changes when a fire-related death occurs.
This self-paced program will help you understand what to expect at a fire where an LODD has occurred, what your role is, how to interact with others, and how to handle special circumstances at the scene.
This program will introduce the fire investigator to the basic methodologies use to investigate vehicle fires.
This module presents the role natural gas can play in fire ignition, fuel load, and spread; the elements of investigating a fire in a residence where natural gas is present; and the potential role the gas utility or the municipality can play an investigation.
This self-paced program covers fundamental legal aspects of investigating youth-set fires, including the juvenile justice system, legalities of interviews and interrogations, arson statutes, search and seizure, and confidentiality.
This program discusses the latest developments in expert testimony under the Daubert standard, including the MagneTek case recently decided in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
This module focuses on how to manage investigations that have “complicating” factors.
This module uses the Motive, Means, and Opportunity case study to demonstrate how responsibility is determined in an arson case.
This program covers the general anatomy of a motor vehicle and a description of typical components of the engine, electrical, ignition, and fuel systems.
This self-paced program is the second part of a two-part basic introduction to motor vehicle systems. This program describes the function and major components of the transmission, exhaust, brake, and accessory systems.
This module educates the investigator about NFPA 1033’s importance, its requirements, and how those requirements impact the fire investigator’s professional development.
This module reviews the major changes included in the documents including the use of color photos in NFPA 921 and additional material that supports the expanded required knowledge list in NFPA 1033 Section 1.3.7.
The program illustrates for the fire investigator, how non-traditional fire scene evidence can be helpful during an investigation.
This module introduces the postflashover topic, describes ventilation-controlled fire flow, illustrates how the damage left by a postflashover can be significantly different than if that fire was extinguished preflashover.
This module lays the groundwork for understanding marine fires by covering four basic concepts that the investigator must understand before investigating a marine fire.
In this module, you will learn more about how cancer develops, what occupational exposure risks to carcinogens exist at fire scenes, and how to better protect yourself against those exposures.
The use of the process of elimination in the determination of a fire cause is a topic that has generated significant discussion and controversy in the fire investigation profession.
This module teaches the basics of the electrical power generation, distribution, and transmission system.
This module presents the basics of natural gas and its uses and system components in a residence.
This module explains the principles of search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, as contained in the amendment and according to subsequent case law, and applies them to typical fire scene scenarios.
One of the legal proceedings that may require the fire investigator to testify is a deposition. Depositions are often related to civil proceedings, but more and more jurisdictions are using them in criminal cases.
Deposing attorneys employ a variety of tactics to learn about the expert witness giving testimony, to try to unsettle that witness to see how he/she handles such pressure, and to probe for weaknesses to exploit.
This module provides introductory information on the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard – 29 CFR 1910.120.
The program examines the importance of assessing the impact of ventilation on a fire.
This module demonstrates the investigative potential of information stored on electronic devices.
This module explains the relationship between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921
The basics of the scientific method are deceptively simple: observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude.
This module addresses the foundations of thermometry, including the definition of temperature, the scales used to measure temperature and much more.
This program presents the results of flame experiments conducted with a candle.
This self-paced program explains to non-investigators the role of the fire investigator, what the fire investigator does, how the fire investigator is trained, what qualifications the fire investigator must meet.
This module will untangle the meanings of "undetermined," straighten out how to use the term correctly, talk about how not to use it, and describe how to properly report fires where "undetermined" is the cause or classification.
This module will advise fire investigators on how to approach the fact-finding procedures necessary and validate a hypothesis.
This module provides an overview on how structures can become vacant and eventually abandoned.
This self-paced program provides a basic framework for structuring the management of fire cases and fire investigators.
This module illustrates how wildland fires spread, explains how to interpret burn patterns unique to these types of fires.
This module presents the key elements of the initial origin and cause report and methods of clearly presenting findings in a professional manner.