Fire InvestigationHazards Over the last ten years, there has been a considerable amount of scientific and technological developments in the area of fire investigations. However, the area is still evolving and there is room for continued improvement. This is said because even in a climate of improvement, fire investigators continue to encounter obstacles and hazards in the investigation of post fire details. There are many unforeseen hazards which can arise in a post fire environment and they are prone to cause physical injury, illnesses, misjudgment, and as we have witnessed, such as in the WTC fire, the hazards resulted in the death of multiple firemen.
Fire investigators enter situations where there can be a substantial amount of instability, ever for the very well trained, and most experienced individuals. In spite of precautions, and knowledge, there always exist the possibility of the unknown which can present itself during an investigation. These unknowns can result in minor injuries, to disabilities, and even to death. The primary focus of the fire investigator is to determine the cause and origin of the incident.
There are also hazards in making this determination. A fire can be caused by any number of things, and these are things most of us see and use on a daily basis. Because of this reality, a fire investigator must be multi- disciplined ( electricity, construction, vehicles, human behavior etc, ) is particularly helpful. If a gas appliance is suspected as the origin, the fire investigator should possess enough knowledge about appliances to be able to include or exclude it as a point of origin of the blaze. Additionally, the investigator should also be aware of their individual talents, and recognize the need to consult experts to assist them in their investigations when the need arises.
The point of origin and the cause is vital in coming to a suitable conclusion of the fire investigation. If these points are missed, then the conclusion will also be subject to collapse. There is mythunderstanding which is associated with the precise area of origin, .which is commonly said to be, The area of greatest damage and the lowest point of burning is always the area of origin.
According to Mark A. Teufert, “This isn’t necessarily true. ” “There are too many variables to make this blanket statement. But, it’s what we all hear in training as a methodology: trace the fire back from least to most damage and that’s your area of origin. So, in the fire investigation courses at the ATF National Academy, we set up a compartment burn that challenges this statement, making it clear that it’s a method, not an absolute truth. ” (Teufert) The job of the fire investigator is as dangerous of a job, as fire fighting itself.
As a consequence, fire investigators are required to wear personal protective equipment, which will consist of a broad spectrum of clothing and equipment, which is designed to protect their bodies from the many hazards that they may encounter during the course of the