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Presentation on theme: "FIRE INVESTIGATOR SAFETY & EQUIPMENT Instructor Rich Musicant."— Presentation transcript:



3 Learning Objectives To NEVER get injured or killed Identify and understand common hazards associated with fire investigations. Identify and understand safe practices for fire investigations Identify equipment used for fire investigations

4 A word on SAFETY Fire scenes by their nature are dangerous places. Fire investigators have a duty to themselves and to others who may be endangered at fire scenes to exercise due caution during their investigations.

5 Getting Started As in most endeavors, PROPER PRIOR PLANNING is the best way to avoid injuries. This includes: Knowing what you’re getting into Having the proper equipment

6 Preparing for the Investigation Type and magnitude of fire Status of incident Time of day & weather Type of area Other Hazards

7 Preparation Number of investigators Safety equipment Tools Special resources Based on initial information, you can begin to formulate a plan for the investigation

8 What would you bring? Number of investigators Safety equipment Tools Special resources 0230 hrs mid February, residential fire, contained to bedroom, fire damage to one room, smoke and heat damage throughout.

9 What would you bring? Number of investigators Safety equipment Tools Special resources 1900 hrs May 10 th, fire in a 2 story manufacturing plant, heavy fire smoke and heat damage throughout structure, reported explosions of 55 gal drums.

10 What would you bring? Number of investigators Safety equipment Tools Special resources 0100 hrs November 12, fatal fire, 1 victim, 2 story residential with attached garage, heavy fire damage to entire structure.

11 Basic Safety Equipment Whenever you go on a fire investigation you should have the following basic safety items readily available. Identification - Badge and/or ID card - Accountability tag

12 Basic Safety Equipment Protective over-garment - Nomex or tyvek coveralls - Turnout gear - Overcoat / raincoat

13 Basic Safety Equipment Gloves - Latex gloves - Work gloves ALWAYS try to avoid touching anything on a fire scene with your bare hands.

14 Basic Safety Equipment Footwear - Work boots - Rubber boots Eye protection - Goggles - Safety glasses

15 Basic Safety Equipment Head Protection (Brain bucket) - Fire helmet - Plastic hard hat Portable lighting - Flashlight - Spotlights

16 Basic Safety Equipment Communications - Radio - Cell phone Personal sidearm (police investigators)

17 Advanced Safety Equipment Some fire scenes require more advanced safety equipment for completing investigations. This equipment may not always be readily available

18 Advanced Safety Equipment Air monitoring devices - Personal gas detectors - Multi gas meters Lock out / tag out kits Life lines

19 Advanced Safety Equipment Respiratory Protection - Particle mask - Respirator - Powered air purifying respirator - Self Contained Breathing Apparatus

20 Advanced Safety Equipment Hazardous Materials Ensemble - Level A - Level B - Level C - Level D If you are using this gear, you need decon resources in place BEFORE you start your investigation.

21 Advanced Safety Equipment Hazardous Materials Ensemble If you find that you need any ensemble above level D, ask yourself how important it is to be in there for an investigation.

22 Reporting to the scene Responding to the fire scene is similar to an emergency response, but generally not as time sensitive. When driving, you should always take care to arrive safely. Make sure your vehicles are positioned so they don’t block other vehicles at the fire scene

23 Reporting to the scene Upon arrival notify the incident commander and accountability officer when required. If fire units have cleared the scene before you arrive, make sure someone knows where you are and what you are doing.

24 Scene size up Before you begin an investigation, you should assess the scene for potential hazards. There are many factors to consider before any investigators should enter the structure

25 Scene size up Assessing the scene - Utilities secured - Structural stability - Air monitoring - Stage of the incident

26 Safety Issues The fireground typically has many substances which may be hazardous to your health. These substances may enter the body one of the following ways: Ingestion Inhalation Injection Absorption

27 Safety Issues As an investigator you will come into contact with any number of these substances that could be harmful to you. It’s important to limit your exposure as much as possible. Pyrolized materials Accelerants Contaminated water run-off

28 Safety Issues Body substance isolation Hand washing Equipment decon - Latex gloves - Protective clothing

29 Safety Issues Slip and fall Environmental - Wet surfaces - Ice - Heat stress - Hypothermia / frostbite - Structural defects

30 Safety Issues What lies beneath… Nails Broken glass Splintered wood Other sharp metal Who knows what else ???

31 Safety Issues Fatigue Depending on the circumstances, fire investigations may be a prolonged operation. Be aware that fatigue may set in and effect your physical and mental abilities.

32 10 Rules for Investigator Safety 1. Know what you’re getting into 2. The only life hazard at a fire investigation is the one YOU create for yourself. 3. There’s no reason to rush… The fire won’t unburn 4. Know where you’re stepping

33 10 Rules for Investigator Safety 5. Know what you’re cutting and what it’s connected to 6. If you’re using tools, know how to use them properly 7. If you get hurt and there’s nobody that knows about it, you’re still hurt. 8. Know what you’re touching

34 10 Rules for Investigator Safety 9. If you didn’t personally see the utilities secured, consider them HOT. 10. There is NOTHING in there worth your life.

35 Tools

36 A variety of tools may be required to complete your fire investigation. It is important for you as the investigator to know what you will need to complete the job.

37 Tools Shovel Broom Rake The “big three”

38 Tools The “little three”

39 Tools

40 Getting to the bottom of things…

41 Take care of your tools !!! As in most professions, you must take proper care of your tools. It’s important not only to use them properly, but also to maintain them and store them with care.

42 Tool care and maintenance Maintaining your fire investigation tools is especially important due to the hazard of cross-contamination. It’s also a health hazard to let some substances acquire in your vehicle or storage areas

43 Dirty Gear Isolate dirty or contaminated tools and gear from the clean equipment.

44 Tool care and maintenance Clean your tools after each use so you don’t cross contaminate fire scenes or evidence. Avoid putting tools away dirty !!!

45 Tool cleaning Clean your tools with a mild detergent in a clean environment. Allow them to dry properly and prevent rust from forming.

46 Tool storage Keep your tools in a safe clean place free of contaminants. Whenever possible you should keep your tools under lock and key.

47 Tool safety It’s especially important to know the proper use of your tools and how to use them safely. If you’re unsure how to use a certain tool, be sure to get instruction and practice if you can.

48 Other tools A small toolbox may be helpful during investigations.

49 Scene documentation


51 Photo equipment Digital camera

52 Photo equipment 35 mm camera

53 Evidence collection

54 Absorption materials

55 Thank you ! For your patience and your attention Questions… Comments… Concerns…

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