The IAAI and CFITrainer.Net present these podcasts with a focus on issues relating to fire investigation. With expertise from around the world, the International Association of Arson Investigators produces these podcasts to bring more information and electronic media to fire investigators looking for training, education and general information about fire investigation. Topics include recent technologies, issues in the news, training opportunities, changes in laws and standards and any other topic that might be of interest to a fire investigator or industry professional affected by fire. Information is presented using a combination of original stories and interviews with scientists, leaders in fire investigation from the fire service and the law enforcement community.
ROD AMMON: Welcome to this edition of the IAAI’s CFITrainer.Net podcast.
Before we get started we’d like to say thanks to those who have supported us in our endeavor to create CFITrainer and this podcast.
The podcast and CFITrainer.Net are funded by DHS Fema Fire Prevention and Safety Grants through the AFG or Assistance to Firefighter Grant Program.
We’re also supported by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms & Explosives.
This month we’re grateful for the support of UL.
Having working smoke alarms is critical to public safety. New technology is enabling alarms to be even more effective to better distinguish between smoke from cooking and that from a potentially life-threatening fire. Learn more about this new technology and how it’s being incorporated into new editions of safety standards by visiting smokealarms.UL.org.
We have two topics on the agenda today, a report from the location of wildland fire investigation training that was conducted by the IAAI California chapter in September 2019 and some interesting thoughts on the potential of big data in fire prevention.
First, CFITrainer.Net went on location to California for a firsthand look at wildland fire investigation training conducted by the California chapter of IAAI, which is called the California Conference of Arson Investigators. On that trip, we had the opportunity to speak with many folks connected with the training besides just learning and reporting. I was surrounded by welcoming people who really let me into their work. Everyone was passionate about their job, and their passion migrated to me. Wildland fire is a huge issue in our country, and we know at CFITrainer that we have to be paying attention and getting the best info to you, our audience.
We’ll open with Tom Fee. He’s the past president of the IAAI. He’s an IAAI CFI and a CCAI CFI and the chairperson of the CCAI training committee. You should know that we are planning on this wildland feature of the podcast to have three parts. Two parts of the podcast will be audio and interviews. That will be section one, which you’ll hear today and then section two or part two when we come back either later this month or in the next month during the next podcast.
The third part is going to be something special. We’re going to be setting up a micro website, a small website that will probably be inside CFI Trainer that will allow you to take a look at what we believe is what you want to see the most, to see what happens during these fires.
To do that, we’re going to gather and edit some video taken by all the players who shot this training in different ways, from the ground, within the fire, and from the air before, during, and after the fire. In the second part of the podcast, we will continue our coverage of the burns, and we will talk to Dr. Vyto Babrauskas about his work at the fires in validating different indicators. Let’s first talk to Tom Fee, and then we’ll get in the truck with Greg Liddicoat, one of the instructors in San Luis Obispo. He’s an IAAI CFI, a CFEI, and an investigator, instructor, and expert on wildland fires from Minden, Nevada. Let’s get to Tom Fee first.
So, I’m here with Tom Fee who is leading this effort that’s going on out here in California. So, tell me about the overall importance of training wildfire – training these investigators about wildfire.
TOM FEE: Well, wildfires have kind of taken over our country, and the discussion of fires turned from structural fires to wildfires a few years ago when California got hit. Florida got hit. Texas got hit. Just about all the states experienced wildfires that were not experienced in the past, and so it – not only is it the talk of the country, it’s also the number-one focus is how do you put them out, and how do you find out what started them and where they start.
And this particular class is a lead-in to a full-blown investigation class, but it’s to take and provide an introductory effort and get the interest built up in fire investigators, in wildland fire investigation. Wildland fire investigation is different than structural fire investigation in that the indicators are all different. We don’t have trees in our living room, and we don’t have couches out in the forest normally. So, consequently, you’re looking at different things in both types of fires, so what we’re doing here is we’re showing them what the different wildland indicators are.
You’re looking at fence posts. You’re looking at trees. You’re looking at utility poles. You’re looking at rocks on the ground. You’re looking at any debris that’s laying on the ground. Anything that leaves a fire pattern is an indicator as to which way that fire was moving on the ground, and the first thing you have to do in wildland fire investigation is follow your indicators back to the source, where it started. Then you start looking for the cause. If you do it the other way around, it just doesn’t come across well. You don’t get a good ending.
ROD AMMON: Got it. We’ll take a break until chainsaw man is done. So, I’m actually in a truck right now with Greg Liddicoat, and he’s one of the instructors for the class that’s going to be on wildland here. We’re out near San Luis Obispo, and we’re going to be taking a little stroll, actually a little drive around an area that we’re looking at, which is supposed to be around three parcels – three acres a piece. There’s supposed to be wildland, a burn area for training. The vegetation or the fuel for this is a lot longer than a lot of us expected from looking at the aerial photos, and what we’ve got is vegetation that’s anywhere from – well, let’s say a foot to 6 feet tall and mounds of dirt, and geography is not just flat. It’s going up and down quite a bit.
So, as we’re driving around here, we’re seeing different fire breaks that are already in place. There’s some roads that are about 10 to 15 feet wide that have been cut through this parcel, so that’s good news. The rough part is that they’re only about 10, 15 feet wide. If there was an actual fire going on out here, we’d need them to be wider to actually make this stop so some of the preparations right now going on are to try to get those fire breaks to be wider, bring some kind of heavy machinery out here to scrape some of this so we’ve got some wider fire breaks to be able to do more controlled burns. So, Greg, tell me a little bit about this setup. You just found one of the parcels or what are you calling it, a plot?
GREG LIDDICOAT: Plot, yeah, and part of our goal here is we’re going to set up a scenario where we have possibly up to three different sources of ignition, and the goal is t get the students to find the right source of ignition to start a fire. So being a paved road, which is typical, it could be something like a blown tire. The remains of a blown tire could have started a fire. We might have cigarette butts, a cigarette fire. In this case, we’re probably not going to have – we’re not going to meet the criteria at all for a cigarette to start a fire. And then we may have something else that we’ll put out there like an actual arson device.
ROD AMMON: So, tell me a little bit because it was surprising to me because when I look at this, it all looks very dry. But I know you all were looking at humidity, relative humidity and those kind of things. Why would you rule out a cigarette butt with this? And I know you wouldn’t rule that out in an investigation, but in a training setup right now, why are you saying that?
GREG LIDDICOAT: Because cigarette studies done have shown that a cigarette cannot start a wildland fire as easily as most people think. It’s been one of those catch-all things where in the past where an investigator couldn’t find a source but there’s plenty of cigarette butts alongside the road, so he’d blame it on a cigarette butt or cigarette fire. Well, the studies have shown that if you got relative humidity basically over 20%, and the temperature doesn’t get up to about 80 degrees, a cigarette can’t start a fire. And we’ll show you that. We’ll some time – a couple times during the day here, I’ll lay a cigarette out here in the grass and find fuel, and we won’t get a fire.
We have other issues that are more – actually becoming more important. For example, we have a focus, a prevention focus on cigarettes, not throwing them out your window and stuff. But particularly in the west here, in California, in Nevada, Utah, Arizona and stuff, we have target shooting, people going out in public lands and just setting up a steel target or something like that. And we’re actually getting more fires from those than we are from cigarettes.
ROD AMMON: And how is that happening?
GREG LIDDICOAT: It’s the sheering effect of the bullet striking a solid object, so when the bullet hits something, it sheers the metal, and the metal then becomes very hot. Well, on a wildland fuel, the typical ignition temperature is 450 degrees. That’s not very much. A lead bullet striking a solid object, and again this is one of the things that’s been tested, actually gets up to about 750 degrees.
ROD AMMON: So, it’s not the gun firing.
GREG LIDDICOAT: No. It is the bullet striking a solid object, and like I said, it’s kind of a heat transfer, turning energy, that energy of velocity and then stopping it, and then the sheering effect of the bullet coming apart.
ROD AMMON: Interesting.
TERRY TAYLOR: And then that mass of the bullet is able to retain and radiate heat over a sufficient period of time to ignite the fine fuels. My name is Terry Taylor. I’m a retired fire captain and investigator from the East Fork Fire District in Minden, Nevada. I’ve been a fire investigator since 1980, and I’ve been an adjunct instructor in the National Fire Academy’s Fire Arson Investigation Program. We’ve been teaching FI210 in Minden, Nevada.
We’ve taught over 320 students over the last 15 years under the aegis of the Nevada chapter of IAAI and the Sierra Front Wildfire Cooperators, which is a bi-state organization involving the California and Nevada US Forest Service Bureau of Land Management and all the local entities: Lake Tahoe Basin, basically from Bridgeport, California all the way up to Susanville, California and that area. So, the local government entities are all members. Everybody contributes in, and we’re able to teach FI210, a 40-hour class, at the Minden Tahoe Airport and have successfully graduated a lot of students.
ROD AMMON: You mentioned Dr. Babrauskas is going to be doing some things out here, so give me a quick rundown of the goal.
TERRY TAYLOR: There’s multiple goals I guess is probably the best way to put it. Dr. Babrauskas has some ideas on trying to validate the methodology that we use in FI210 and that there has been no real scientific paper even though those of us that do this, we’ve had it work. We’ve had it take us to a fire that we didn’t know where it started. The science is here. We have to go along with the science and use the scientific method with a systematic approach, which FI210 does do. So, we need to be able to create a spot where Dr. Babrauskas can test basically where are the different movement patterns. And we also have students coming in, so we have to be able to give them just a quick overview and sort of introduce them to the topic.
GREG LIDDICOAT: Typically, when we teach the class, we break them into groups of four or five people, teams, and let them investigate their plots. When we do classes, they usually have at least five fire scenes they can investigate by the end of the class, so in that 40 hours, they get five different fire scenes. One of them is their final practicum, and again we typically – the last couple fires they have a couple of ignition sources, and they have to identify the correct ignition source. So, a lot of times we’ll use a cigarette butt, a cigarette. Well, we know the criteria here we’ll never get one to start. Probably the entire week we will not be able to get a fire started with a cigarette. But we’ll put them out there and see if they bite, but it will also improve things around here, too. Instead of this junk, if you will, vegetation, it should come back basically in grass hopefully. And so even though the quail like the brush and stuff, it’s going to be better off for most of the wildlife here.
ROD AMMON: It will also be safer, won’t it, for the buildings that are around here.
GREG LIDDICOAT: Oh yeah, definitely. I mean we’re – right now we’re looking at fuel breaks that aren’t wide enough to protect buildings like this auditorium here. This shield break around here is not sufficient to protect it. They’ve got a probably – looks like about a 20-foot fuel break around it, and basically the minimum criteria here in California is 30 feet. But I haven’t seen a 30-foot clearance around any of these buildings here.
ROD AMMON: Sometimes you just need to make the door or the window a little bit bigger. That’s what we’re hearing now.
So, we’re actually going into the base now. Why are we doing that, Terry?
TERRY TAYLOR: We’re doing that so we can get access to an area where there are eucalyptus saplings that we’re going to remove and bring back to our burn area. We have an area that has a lot of dry grass, and we have an area that – and that also has tall weeds that are over 6 feet tall, and then there’s brush. And so, we need some saplings to represent young trees. All of these items, when a fire goes through, give us evidence of what, in fact, the fire movement is. Is it fire moving forward? Is it moving sideways, or is it moving backwards? And those are one of the things that we are teaching in the class itself. And we all have to break out our IDs here.
ROD AMMON: Nothing like an electric chainsaw to make work take a little bit longer. Got two guys out here cutting down eucalyptus, as Terry was telling us. Talking about logistics, we’re sitting here. We cut down these eucalyptus trees, which you’d think already drove three, four miles to go get trees, stuck those in the back of a pickup truck, and now we’ve got to worry about how we get back because we can’t go driving on the highway with eucalyptus trees hanging out of the back of a pickup, so more logistics. Contact the base, get a specific gate open, and bring those trees through at a slow rate of speed.
Another interesting sort of side bar here, different agencies need to get different approvals, and we’re waiting for a big front-bladed, heavy vehicle that’s going to push – create the fire breaks, and for that to be released, they need to get a letter. Thank God for email.
We’re just going to talk. I’m here with Carlo. Carlo, what’s your full name?
CARLO GUAJARDO: My name is Carlo Guajardo. I’m coming up from Orange County. I’m with Forensic Fire with Jim Brown.
ROD AMMON: Tell me what you’re doing. We heard people talking about drones.
CARLO GUAJARDO: Sure. I’m going to go ahead and put this drone up. I want to do some before shots, videos and stills of the area in which we’re going to burn just so we can have a comparison before and after. That’s what we’re looking at doing today.
ROD AMMON: So, you – we’re out near SLO, so you have to get clearance?
CARLO GUAJARDO: Especially here where we’re at, there’s an airport nearby, and you’re not supposed to be flying around airports. They actually geo-fence the area, so you can’t take off, in most cases, airports, national parks. You’re not supposed to fly around hospitals, places like that, but they actually got clearance from the nearby airport, so we can fly these drones.
ROD AMMON: Great to hear. We look forward to your footage.
CARLO GUAJARDO: Okay. Thank you.
ROD AMMON: So, we just got a little bit of a newsflash. After all that happy communication about the fact that we had approval to bring in the CAT to be able to create those fuel breaks, we just found out that got nixed because it’s a tract vehicle. So now the search is on for something that’s not a tract vehicle that can cut the breaks, oh yeah, in the next couple hours.
TERRY TAYLOR: Well, what I’m saying is the dividing here, dividing these in here, if a hand crew cut a line and then we had like what happened in Paso Robles…
ROD AMMON: So, we’re obviously hearing conversation about the options to create new fire breaks.
TERRY TAYLOR: … an inch and a half wildland line, or you could pull peanut lines and deploy down to stop the jumping.
GREG LIDDICOAT: Here’s another thought, Terry, is we’re going to cut down these power poles. Why don’t we chop one of those power poles into about a 10-foot length?
TERRY TAYLOR: And drag it.
GREG LIDDICOAT: And drag it and knock down the weeds. We’ll just crush the weeds down, and that will give us a width to run an engine through. That would give us a break.
TERRY TAYLOR: That’s actually a great idea.
GREG LIDDICOAT: I’ll tie it onto the back of my truck, and we’ll just – I’ll just drive right through, and we can make a break.
ROD AMMON: Terry, did I just hear you say that Greg had a good idea?
TERRY TAYLOR: Yes, yes, and we’ve known each other long enough. We rarely agree about great ideas.
GREG LIDDICOAT: He originally – I had him set up where he’d have two cameras. Now he’s down to one, so – but I know Scotty. I’ll put him in turnouts. I’ll just wade him out through the fire and turn the camera.
ROD AMMON: We didn’t actually just hear that. We’re joking, and we need to make sure we’re clear about that.
SCOTT BAKER: Scott Baker, arson bomb investigator, state of California, California State Fire Marshal, Fire Engineering and Investigation Division.
ROD AMMON: Wow, okay, and you’re here doing some things with photography, so I wanted to find out a little bit about what you were doing with your camera setup.
SCOTT BAKER: We have a 50-caliber ammo can, and we have it lined with 1 inch of hardwood, and we have one end of it cut out with Thermoglass we got from a fireplace store, and they’ve cut it to fit the box, and we put thermal glue on it. We’ve already used it a couple times. It works, so what we’re trying to do is see visually the fire is actually – it’s approaching the camera as it overruns the camera, as it passes the camera, and then we’ll swing the camera down and show how the fire is advancing away from the camera. Hopefully we’ll be able to see the patterns we always talk about, how they’re formed, and we had this hypothesis how they’re made, but now we’ll actually be able to see how they’re made. We’ll watch it.
ROD AMMON: So, we’re walking out. I’m going to head over to these guys who are going to be dropping some of these indicators. It’s like an orangey-red ammo can sitting out with a class window on it in the middle of a 20-some-mile-an-hour wind, looks nice.
SCOTT BAKER: The nice thing here, with the patterns we’ve got, we have undisturbed area and disturbed area. Johnny is driving out into the brush. He’s going to make a set, and he’s going to leave, and you’ll be able to see the patterns on the ground where Johnny drove his vehicle out here because it mashed the ground down. We have some trees in the area. Hopefully we’ll see some really nice burn patterns on them also.
GREG LIDDICOAT: All in all, the weather is still holding good for us. I’m very excited about tomorrow morning. I think when we light this thing, we’re going to see some nice fire and get some good results.
ROD AMMON: Our second topic today is a buzzword that many of us have probably heard but don’t really understand. Yet it has the potential to really change the practice of fire prevention through better data reporting and analysis. That buzzword is big data. First, let’s side aside any predispositions we might have to equate big data with big brother. In the context of fire investigation and fire prevention, we aren’t talking about the surveillance or covert monitoring. What we’re talking about here is how we can better capture, store, analyze, and share information about fire causes in the service of identifying ways we can prevent fires from occurring in the first place.
Think about all: all the recorded fire causes in every country since the beginning of record keeping. Analyzing that data can’t really be done with traditional methods. One research organization, the University of Sheffield in England, recently took on the challenge of using predictive analytics, which is analysis of historical data for the purpose of predicting future events in fire prevention. This is an interesting emerging field that we’re keeping our eye on. We plan to bring you other interviews and follow up on this topic in the future. We will be highlighting some of the researchers working with big data and fire prevention and hopefully some of their findings.
We’ve talked before on this podcast about the challenges of collecting data on fire causes here in the United States including the fact that this data collection is not mandatory. It is often incomplete or unfinished. Fire cause determination might not be made until well after a reporting form is filed or maybe changed at a later date without the reporting being updated, and that undetermined has been a poorly understood term and thus often not used properly as a fire cause determination or a classification. If we are truly to harness the power of big data, we’re going to have to take a hard look at how these data sets are defined, reported, compiled, stored, and sorted so we can have confidence in the conclusions from the analysis of that data. More on this in the future.
Don’t forget, we’re going to have a part two of the wildland feature, let’s call it, when we went out to California, and we’re going to be making sure that we do the microsite that we discussed where we’re going to allow you to take a look at the images and the video that were shot at the training.
Once again, I want to thank all of those out at the CCAI in San Luis Obispo, and express to them a lot of gratitude for having us out there, getting us anything we needed, and letting us be part of – any part of the training that we wanted to so that we could record interviews.
Thanks for joining us today on this podcast. Stay safe. We’ll see you next time on CFITrainer.Net. For the IAAI and CFITrainer.Net, 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.
One of the legal proceedings that may require the fire investigator to testify is a deposition. Depositions are often related to civil proceedings, but more and more jurisdictions are using them in criminal cases.
Deposing attorneys employ a variety of tactics to learn about the expert witness giving testimony, to try to unsettle that witness to see how he/she handles such pressure, and to probe for weaknesses to exploit.
The program discusses the basics of digital photography for fire investigators as well as software and editing procedures for digital images intended as evidence.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in civil proceedings such as fire loss claims and product defect lawsuits.
This self-paced program is an introduction to discovery in criminal proceedings.
This module covers the foundation of DNA evidence: defining, recognizing, collecting, and testing.
This program provides a practical overview of how to perform the baseline documentation tasks that occur at every scene.
This module will discuss the techniques and strategies for conducting a proper science-based fire scene investigation and effectively presenting an investigator’s findings in court as an expert witness.
This program explains the basic principles of how electric and hybrid vehicles are designed and work, including major systems and typical components.
This program presents critical safety information for how to interact with electric and hybrid vehicles.
This module presents critical electrical safety practices that every fire investigator should implement at every scene, every time.
In this program, we will look at emerging technologies that fire investigators are integrating into their daily investigative work with great success.
This self-paced program examines the fire investigator's ethical duties beyond the fire scene.
As social media has emerged as a powerful force in interpersonal communications, fire investigators are being confronted with new questions...
Should you work for a private lab as a consultant if you are on an Arson Task Force? How about accepting discounts from the local hardware store as a “thanks” for a job well done on a fire they had last year?
This module takes investigators into the forensic laboratory and shows them what happens to the different types of fire scene evidence that are typically submitted for testing.
This module teaches the foundational knowledge of explosion dynamics, which is a necessary precursor to investigating an explosion scene.
This module addresses the foundations of fire chemistry and places it within the context of fire scene investigations.
The program is designed to introduce a new Palm/Pocket PC application called CFI Calculator to users and provide examples of how it can be used by fire investigators in the field.
This module examines these concepts to help all professionals tasked with determining fire origin and cause better understand fire flow dynamics so they can apply that knowledge to both to fire investigation and to fire attack.
This module provides a road map for fire officers to integrate and navigate their fire investigation duty with all their other responsibilities and describes where to obtain specific training in fire investigation.
The evaluation of hazards and the assessment of the relative risks associated with the investigation of fires and explosions are critical factors in the management of any investigation.
This module will describe the most commonly encountered fire protection systems.
This module presents best practices in preparing for and conducting the informational interview with witnesses in the fire investigation case.
This module provides instruction on the fundamentals of residential building construction with an eye toward how building construction affects fire development.
This module provides introductory information on the Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response (HAZWOPER) standard – 29 CFR 1910.120.
This module teaches first responders, including fire, police and EMS, how to make critical observations.
The program examines the importance of assessing the impact of ventilation on a fire.
This program discusses how to access insurance information, understand insurance documents, ask key questions of witnesses, and apply the information learned.
This module offers a basic introduction about how some selected major appliances operate.
This program introduces the fire investigator to the issues related to the collection, handling and use of evidence related to a fire investigation.
This program takes you inside the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) archives of some of the most interesting and instructive test burns and fire model simulations they have ever conducted.
The program provides foundational background on the scope of the youth-set fire problem, the importance of rigorous fire investigation in addressing this problem, and the role of key agencies in the response to a youth-set fire.
This module provides a thorough understanding of the ways an investigation changes when a fire-related death occurs.
This self-paced program will help you understand what to expect at a fire where an LODD has occurred, what your role is, how to interact with others, and how to handle special circumstances at the scene.
This program will introduce the fire investigator to the basic methodologies use to investigate vehicle fires.
This module presents the role natural gas can play in fire ignition, fuel load, and spread; the elements of investigating a fire in a residence where natural gas is present; and the potential role the gas utility or the municipality can play an investigation.
This self-paced program covers fundamental legal aspects of investigating youth-set fires, including the juvenile justice system, legalities of interviews and interrogations, arson statutes, search and seizure, and confidentiality.
This program explains what lithium-ion batteries are, how they are constructed, where they are used, safety concerns, and how they can cause fires and explosions.
This program discusses the latest developments in expert testimony under the Daubert standard, including the MagneTek case recently decided in the United States Circuit Court of Appeals.
This module focuses on how to manage investigations that have “complicating” factors.
This module uses the Motive, Means, and Opportunity case study to demonstrate how responsibility is determined in an arson case.
This program covers the general anatomy of a motor vehicle and a description of typical components of the engine, electrical, ignition, and fuel systems.
This self-paced program is the second part of a two-part basic introduction to motor vehicle systems. This program describes the function and major components of the transmission, exhaust, brake, and accessory systems.
This module educates the investigator about NFPA 1033’s importance, its requirements, and how those requirements impact the fire investigator’s professional development.
This module reviews the major changes included in the documents including the use of color photos in NFPA 921 and additional material that supports the expanded required knowledge list in NFPA 1033 Section 1.3.7.
The program illustrates for the fire investigator, how non-traditional fire scene evidence can be helpful during an investigation.
This module introduces the postflashover topic, describes ventilation-controlled fire flow, illustrates how the damage left by a postflashover can be significantly different than if that fire was extinguished preflashover.
This module demonstrates the investigative potential of information stored on electronic devices.
This module explains the relationship between NFPA 1033 and NFPA 921
This module lays the groundwork for understanding marine fires by covering four basic concepts that the investigator must understand before investigating a marine fire.
In this module, you will learn more about how cancer develops, what occupational exposure risks to carcinogens exist at fire scenes, and how to better protect yourself against those exposures.
The use of the process of elimination in the determination of a fire cause is a topic that has generated significant discussion and controversy in the fire investigation profession.
This module teaches the basics of the electrical power generation, distribution, and transmission system.
This module presents the basics of natural gas and its uses and system components in a residence.
The basics of the scientific method are deceptively simple: observe, hypothesize, test, and conclude.
This module explains the principles of search and seizure under the Fourth Amendment, as contained in the amendment and according to subsequent case law, and applies them to typical fire scene scenarios.
This module addresses the foundations of thermometry, including the definition of temperature, the scales used to measure temperature and much more.
This program presents the results of flame experiments conducted with a candle.
This self-paced program explains to non-investigators the role of the fire investigator, what the fire investigator does, how the fire investigator is trained, what qualifications the fire investigator must meet.
This module will untangle the meanings of "undetermined," straighten out how to use the term correctly, talk about how not to use it, and describe how to properly report fires where "undetermined" is the cause or classification.
This module will advise fire investigators on how to approach the fact-finding procedures necessary and validate a hypothesis.
This module provides an overview on how structures can become vacant and eventually abandoned.
This self-paced program provides a basic framework for structuring the management of fire cases and fire investigators.
This module illustrates how wildland fires spread, explains how to interpret burn patterns unique to these types of fires.
This module presents the key elements of the initial origin and cause report and methods of clearly presenting findings in a professional manner.