selected Britanica.com because it is a practical example of how quickly
and how substantially the Internet is changing. Just a few years ago you
would have paid thousands of dollars for a printed version of the Encyclopaedia
Britannica and a few years after that the price for an "on line" subscription
was also substantial. Now, the entire encyclopedia is free. This was such
a hit with the public that the whole server system crashed and had to
be replaced by the company.
small example serves to illustrate the point. On the home page of Britannica
an investigator can use the search function to search the word, "pyrolysis."
The results will include encyclopaedia entries, web sites that discuss
on the topic. This "One stop shopping" should answer your research questions
and give you the ability to get more helpful information on any fire-related
would also like to note some arson related sites that not only serve as
great research tools to add to your arsenal of investigative aides, but
also have links to additional resources.
great starting place for the arson investigator is the home page for the
International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI), (www.fire-investigators.org.)
provides training information, an interactive bulletin board for issues
and questions, links to other arson resources, links to state chapters
and even free listings for members with their own web pages.
of the latest tools to come on line is Interfire. Interfire is a cooperative
training and educational effort sponsored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco
& Firearms (ATF), (www.atf.gov)
American Re-Insurance Company (www.amre.com,)
The US Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov)
and the National Fire Protection Association (www.nfpa.org.)
Check out www.interfire.org. In addition to
its own message board, training calendar, and news on the use of the virtual
reality fire training CD, they also publish fire and arson related articles
is a web searchable resource of the database of publications in the Fire
Research Information Service at the Building and Fire Research Laboratory
of the US National Institute of Standards and technology (NIST). This
resource can be searched by subject, author or title for a vast library
of fire related publications. They are located at http://fire.nist.gov/.
is the web-based information site for Firefindings Newsletter, a publication
that lists training and fire investigations updates. Use their resources
investigators often need historical weather information to recreate the
conditions at the time of a fire. The services of www.wunderground.com
will let you check weather at any location and time.
National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) located at http://www.nfpa.org/Research/index.asp
not only provides many fire and arson related services but also has their
extensive library available to be researched by arson investigators. The
Library of Congress has an on-line card catalog at http://catalog.loc.gov.
larger global world of fire related sites presents more research, educational,
and professional web locations that can both aid the professional fire
investigator and develop professional and career interests.
United States Fire Administration (www.usfa.fema.gov)
lists training, position vacancies, statistical fire reports, motel/hotel
safety lists, and arson prevention information.
Agency for Toxic Substances and Disease Database (ATSDR) HazDat Database
provides a searchable database of HazMat chemicals. The database can be
found at www.atsdr.cdc.gov/hazdat.asp.
FireLinks is a site devoted to fire news, links to fire departments and
issues of interest to the fire service.
is the source for fire news as APBonline is for police and crime news.
Located at www.firehouse.com
they have all things fire related, including breaking news.
in the fire service with interest in fire departments on the web, fire
service collectibles, photographs and videos of fires, and apparatus will
find what they are seeking on the web.
the right training in the right locations at the right price used to be
problematic. Now you can search out www.policetraining.net
for a complete calendar of fire related or investigative training.
last web site I suggest is one to help any investigator do the job. Trying
to locate someone or get a reverse telephone or address search? Visit
for a great site to start your search and the best part is that it's free!
hope this brief article will help you in your work and in a small way
will result in better and more efficient fire investigations.