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NFPA 1033: Are You Qualified?

by Guy E. Burnette, Jr., Esquire

I. INTRODUCTION

NFPA 1033 STANDARD FOR PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR FIRE INVESTIGATOR IS A DOCUMENT EVERY FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHOULD BE FAMILIAR WITH. IT IS A NATIONAL STANDARD ADOPTED BY THE NATIONAL FIRE PROTECTION ASSOCIATION (NFPA) PREPARED BY THE TECHNICAL COMMITTEE ON FIRE INVESTIGATOR PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS. THE CURRENT EDITION OF NFPA 1033 WAS APPROVED AT THE NOVEMBER 16-18, 1992 FALL MEETING OF THE NFPA AND BECAME EFFECTIVE FEBRUARY 12, 1993.

NFPA 1033 HAS ITS ORIGINS IN NFPA 1031 PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR FIRE INSPECTOR, FIRE INVESTIGATOR AND FIRE PREVENTION EDUCATION OFFICER, ADOPTED IN MAY 1977. THE QUALIFICATIONS STANDARDS FOR FIRE INSPECTORS, FIRE INVESTIGATORS AND FIRE PREVENTION EDUCATION OFFICERS WERE SEPARATED IN 1986 AND NFPA 1033 WAS FIRST ADOPTED IN JUNE 1987.

NFPA 1033 WAS INTENDED "TO DEVELOP CLEAR AND CONCISE JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS THAT CAN BE USED TO DETERMINE THAT AN INDIVIDUAL, WHEN MEASURED TO THE STANDARD, POSSESSES THE SKILLS AND KNOWLEDGE TO PERFORM AS A FIRE INVESTIGATOR." THE QUALIFICATIONS STANDARDS OF NFPA 1033 ARE CONSIDERED APPLICABLE TO BOTH PUBLIC AND PRIVATE FIRE INVESTIGATORS.

CHAPTER 1 - ADMINISTRATION REITERATES THE SCOPE AND PURPOSE OF NFPA 1033:

CHAPTER 1 ADMINISTRATION

1-1 SCOPE. THIS STANDARD IDENTIFIES THE PROFESSIONAL LEVEL OF PERFORMANCE REQUIRED FOR FIRE INVESTIGATORS. IT SPECIFICALLY IDENTIFIES THE JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS NECESSARY TO PERFORM AS A FIRE INVESTIGATOR.

1-2 PURPOSE. THE PURPOSE OF THIS STANDARD IS TO SPECIFY IN TERMS OF MINIMUM JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS THE MINIMUM STANDARDS REQUIRED FOR SERVICE AS A FIRE INVESTIGATOR IN BOTH THE PRIVATE AND PUBLIC SECTORS. IT IS NOT THE INTENT OF THIS STANDARD TO RESTRICT ANY JURISDICTION FROM EXCEEDING THESE MINIMUM REQUIREMENTS. JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS DESCRIBE THE PERFORMANCE REQUIRED FOR A SPECIFIC JOB. THE COMPLETE LIST OF REQUIREMENTS FOR EACH DUTY DESCRIBES THE TASKS AN INDIVIDUAL MUST BE ABLE TO PERFORM IN ORDER TO SUCCESSFULLY CARRY OUT THAT DUTY; HOWEVER, THEY ARE NOT INTENDED TO MEASURE A LEVEL OF KNOWLEDGE. TOGETHER, THE DUTIES AND JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS DEFINE THE PARAMETERS OF THE JOB OF FIRE INVESTIGATOR.

NFPA 1033 IS AN AMBITIOUS UNDERTAKING IN SEEKING TO ESTABLISH NATIONAL STANDARDS FOR THE PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF FIRE INVESTIGATORS. IT IS INTENDED TO ESTABLISH MINIMUM STANDARDS AND SPECIFICALLY DISCLAIMS ANY INTENT TO RESTRICT ANY JURISDICTION FROM ESTABLISHING HIGHER STANDARDS. HOWEVER, NO JURISDICTION AND ONLY A SELECT FEW GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES HAVE ESTABLISHED ANY STANDARDS FOR THE PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS OF FIRE INVESTIGATORS AND IT REMAINS THE ONLY TRUE "STANDARD" IN EXISTENCE. CERTIFICATION PROGRAMS OF ORGANIZATIONS SUCH AS THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ARSON INVESTIGATORS AND THE NATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF FIRE INVESTIGATORS HAVE ESTABLISHED CRITERIA FOR THE DESIGNATION OF "CERTIFIED" FIRE INVESTIGATORS. THOSE PROGRAMS REMAIN VOLUNTARY AND THE NUMBER OF INDIVIDUALS WHO HAVE BECOME CERTIFIED UNDER THE PROGRAMS IS ONLY A SMALL PERCENTAGE OF THOSE WHO CALL THEMSELVES FIRE INVESTIGATORS. THE STANDARDS OF NFPA 1033 ARE THE ONLY PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS STANDARDS APPLICABLE TO ALL FIRE INVESTIGATORS, YET THEY HAVE LITTLE DIRECT APPLICATION OUTSIDE OF THE COURTROOM. WHETHER OR NOT ONE IS DEEMED QUALIFIED UNDER THE STANDARDS OF NFPA 1033, VIRTUALLY ANYBODY CAN CALL HIMSELF A "FIRE INVESTIGATOR" AND ENGAGE IN THE BUSINESS OF FIRE INVESTIGATION. WHILE LICENSING REQUIREMENTS IN CERTAIN STATES CALL FOR A BACKGROUND CHECK AND PROOF OF INSURANCE, THERE IS NO PROOF OF COMPETENCY REQUIRED FOR AN INDIVIDUAL TO SET UP BUSINESS AS A FIRE INVESTIGATOR. ONLY AFTER THE FACT WILL AN INVESTIGATOR'S QUALIFICATIONS AND COMPETENCY BE EXAMINED UNDER THE STANDARDS OF NFPA 1033. IN THAT CONTEXT, HOWEVER, NFPA 1033 DOES SERVE A USEFUL PURPOSE IN EXPOSING THE UNQUALIFIED AND INCOMPETENT FIRE INVESTIGATOR.

II. GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS

NFPA 1033 SETS FORTH CERTAIN GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS FOR ESTABLISHING AND MAINTAINING COMPETENCY AS A FIRE INVESTIGATOR. THE GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS ARE AS FOLLOWS:

1-3 GENERAL.

1-3.1 THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL BE AT LEAST AGE 18.

1-3.2 THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR A STATE RECOGNIZED EQUIVALENT.

1-3.3 THE AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION SHALL CONDUCT A THOROUGH BACKGROUND AND CHARACTER INVESTIGATION PRIOR TO ACCEPTING AN INDIVIDUAL AS A CANDIDATE FOR CERTIFICATION AS A FIRE INVESTIGATOR.

1-3.4 THE JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS FOR FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL BE COMPLETED IN ACCORDANCE WITH RECOGNIZED PRACTICES AND PROCEDURES OR AS THEY ARE DEFINED BY LAW OR BY THE AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION.

1-3.5 THE JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS DEFINED IN THIS STANDARD NEED NOT BE MASTERED IN THE ORDER IN WHICH THEY APPEAR. TRAINING AGENCIES OR AUTHORITIES SHALL ESTABLISH PROGRAMS THAT PREPARE INDIVIDUALS TO MEET THE REQUIREMENTS DEFINED IN THIS STANDARD.

1-3.6 EVALUATION OF JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS SHALL BE BY INDIVIDUALS APPROVED BY THE AUTHORITY HAVING JURISDICTION. THE EVALUATOR SHALL BE QUALIFIED TO CONDUCT THE EVALUATION OF AN INVESTIGATOR.

1-3.7 THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL REMAIN CURRENT WITH INVESTIGATION METHODOLOGY, FIRE PROTECTION TECHNOLOGY, AND CURRENT CODE REQUIREMENTS BY ATTENDING WORKSHOPS/SEMINARS, AND/OR THROUGH PROFESSIONAL PUBLICATIONS AND JOURNALS.

THE ONLY RIGID REQUIREMENTS IMPOSED ARE THAT THE INVESTIGATOR BE AT LEAST 18 YEARS OF AGE AND HAVE A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR EQUIVALENT CERTIFICATE. THE OTHER CRITERIA ARE BROADLY WORDED AND SOMEWHAT VAGUE. THE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS PRESUPPOSE THE INVOLVEMENT OF A GOVERNMENTAL AGENCY OR AUTHORITY EVALUATING AND APPROVING INDIVIDUALS AS QUALIFIED FIRE INVESTIGATORS. HOWEVER, AS PREVIOUSLY NOTED, FEW GOVERNMENTAL AGENCIES HAVE IMPOSED SUCH REGULATORY REQUIREMENTS FOR THE QUALIFICATION OR CERTIFICATION OF FIRE INVESTIGATORS. AS A RESULT, THESE GENERAL REQUIREMENTS ARE LARGELY INAPPLICABLE. UNTIL SUCH TIME AS GOVERNMENTAL REGULATION IS IMPOSED ON THE FIELD OF FIRE INVESTIGATION, THE ONLY GENERAL REQUIREMENTS FOR A FIRE INVESTIGATOR ARE ATTAINING THE AGE OF 18, POSSESSING A HIGH SCHOOL DIPLOMA OR EQUIVALENT AND "REMAINING CURRENT" WITH CONTINUING EDUCATION IN THE FIELD.

III. SPECIFIC DUTIES, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILL

BEYOND THE GENERAL QUALIFICATIONS CRITERIA REFERENCED ABOVE, NFPA 1033 DOES ESTABLISH A SERIES OF SPECIFIC DUTIES, KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS REQUIRED OF A FIRE INVESTIGATOR. THERE ARE SIX GENERAL DUTIES, TWENTY-NINE SPECIFIC DUTIES AND TWENTY-NINE CORRESPONDING KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS PREREQUISITES FOR A FIRE INVESTIGATOR TO BE QUALIFIED UNDER NFPA 1033. THESE COMPRISE THE ESSENTIAL TEXT OF NFPA 1033 AND ARE ENUMERATED BELOW.

3-1 GENERAL.

3-1.1 THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL MEET THE JOB PERFORMANCE REQUIREMENTS DEFINED IN SECTIONS 3-2 THROUGH 3-7. IN ADDITION, THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL MEET THE REQUIREMENTS OF 2-2.1 THROUGH 2-2.3 OF NFPA 472, STANDARD FOR PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE OF RESPONDERS TO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INCIDENTS.

3-1.2 THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL MAINTAIN APPROPRIATE LIAISON WITH OTHER INTERESTED PROFESSIONALS DURING AN INVESTIGATION.

3-1.3 THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR SHALL ENSURE THAT DUE PROCESS OF LAW IS SERVED.

3-2 SCENE EXAMINATION.

3-2.1 DESCRIPTION OF DUTY. TO INSPECT/EVALUATE THE SCENE SO AS TO DETERMINE THE AREA/POINT OF ORIGIN, SOURCE OF IGNITION, MATERIAL(S) IGNITED, ACT OR ACTIVITY THAT BROUGHT IGNITION SOURCE AND MATERIALS TOGETHER, AND ASSESS THE SUBSEQUENT PROGRESSION, EXTINGUISHMENT, AND CONTAINMENT OF THE FIRE.

3-2.2 SECURE THE FIRE GROUND, GIVEN MARKING DEVICES, SUFFICIENT PERSONNEL AND SPECIAL TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT, SO THAT UNAUTHORIZED PERSONS CAN RECOGNIZE THE PERIMETERS OF THE INVESTIGATING SCENE, ARE KEPT FROM RESTRICTED AREAS, AND ALL EVIDENCE OR POTENTIAL EVIDENCE IS PROTECTED FROM DAMAGE OR DESTRUCTION.

3-2.2.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF FIRE GROUND HAZARDS, TYPES OF EVIDENCE, AND THE IMPORTANCE OF FIRE SCENE SECURITY AND EVIDENCE PRESERVATION.

3-2.2.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: USE OF MARKING DEVICES.

3-2.3 CONDUCT AN EXTERIOR SURVEY, GIVEN STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS, SO THAT EVIDENCE IS PRESERVED, FIRE DAMAGE IS INTERPRETED, HAZARDS ARE IDENTIFIED TO AVOID INJURIES, ACCESSIBILITY TO THE PROPERTY IS DETERMINED, AND ALL POTENTIAL MEANS OF INGRESS/EGRESS ARE DISCOVERED.

3-2.3.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF THE TYPES OF BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND THE EFFECTS OF FIRE UPON CONSTRUCTION MATERIALS, TYPES OF EVIDENCE COMMONLY FOUND IN THE PERIMETER, EVIDENCE PRESERVATION METHODS, THE EFFECTS OF FIRE SUPPRESSION, FIRE BEHAVIOR/SPREAD, AND BURN PATTERNS.

3-2.3.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ASSESS FIRE GROUND AND STRUCTURAL CONDITION, OBSERVE THE DAMAGE AND EFFECTS OF THE FIRE, AND INTERPRET BURN PATTERNS.

3-2.4 CONDUCT AN INTERIOR SURVEY, GIVEN STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS, SO THAT AREAS OF POTENTIAL EVIDENTIARY VALUE REQUIRING FURTHER EXAMINATION ARE IDENTIFIED AND PRESERVED, THE EVIDENTIARY VALUE OF CONTENTS IS DETERMINED, AND HAZARDS ARE IDENTIFIED TO AVOID INJURIES.

3-2.4.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF THE TYPES OF BUILDING CONSTRUCTION AND INTERIOR FINISH AND THE EFFECTS OF FIRE UPON THOSE MATERIALS, THE EFFECTS OF FIRE SUPPRESSION, FIRE BEHAVIOR/SPREAD, EVIDENCE PRESERVATION METHODS, BURN PATTERNS, EFFECTS OF BUILDING CONTENTS ON FIRE GROWTH, AND THE RELATIONSHIP OF CONTENTS TO THE OVERALL INVESTIGATION.

3-2.4.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ASSESS STRUCTURAL CONDITIONS, OBSERVE THE DAMAGE AND EFFECTS OF THE FIRE, DISCOVER THE IMPACT OF FIRE SUPPRESSION EFFORTS ON FIRE FLOW AND HEAT PROPAGATION, AND EVALUATE PROTECTED AREAS TO DETERMINE THE PRESENCE AND/OR ABSENCE OF CONTENTS.

3-2.5 INTERPRET BURN PATTERNS, GIVEN STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS AND SOME STRUCTURAL/CONTENT REMAINS, SO THAT EACH INDIVIDUAL PATTERN IS EVALUATED WITH RESPECT TO THE BURNING CHARACTERISTICS OF THE MATERIAL INVOLVED.

3-2.5.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF FIRE DEVELOPMENT AND THE INTERRELATIONSHIP OF HEAT RELEASE RATE, FORM, AND IGNITIBILITY OF MATERIALS.

3-2.5.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: INTERPRET THE EFFECTS OF BURNING CHARACTERISTICS ON DIFFERENT TYPES OF MATERIALS.

3-2.6 CORRELATE BURN PATTERNS, GIVEN STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS AND SOME STRUCTURAL/CONTENT REMAINS, SO THAT FIRE DEVELOPMENT IS DETERMINED, METHODS AND EFFECTS OF SUPPRESSION ARE EVALUATED, FALSE ORIGIN AREA PATTERNS ARE RECOGNIZED, AND ALL AREAS OF ORIGIN ARE CORRECTLY IDENTIFIED.

3-2.6.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF FIRE BEHAVIOR/SPREAD BASED ON FIRE CHEMISTRY AND PHYSICS, FIRE SUPPRESSION EFFECTS, AND BUILDING CONSTRUCTION.

3-2.6.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: INTERPRET VARIATIONS OF BURN PATTERNS ON DIFFERENT MATERIALS WITH CONSIDERATION GIVEN TO HEAT RELEASE RATE, FORM, AND IGNITIBILITY; DISTINGUISH IMPACT OF DIFFERENT TYPES OF FUEL LOADS; EVALUATE FUEL TRAILS; AND ANALYZE AND SYNTHESIZE INFORMATION.

3-2.7 EXAMINE AND REMOVE FIRE DEBRIS, GIVEN STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS, SO THAT ALL DEBRIS IS CHECKED FOR FIRE CAUSE EVIDENCE, THE IGNITION SOURCE(S) IS IDENTIFIED, THE FIRE CAUSE IS DETERMINED, AND EVIDENCE IS PRESERVED WITHOUT INVESTIGATOR-INFLICTED DAMAGE OR CONTAMINATION.

3-2.7.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: BASIC UNDERSTANDING OF IGNITION PROCESSES, CHARACTERISTICS OF IGNITION SOURCES, AND EASE OF IGNITION OF FUELS, DEBRIS-LAYERING TECHNIQUES, USE OF TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT DURING THE DEBRIS SEARCH, TYPES OF FIRE CAUSE EVIDENCE COMMONLY FOUND IN VARIOUS DEGREES OF DAMAGE, AND EVIDENCE-GATHERING METHODS AND DOCUMENTATION.

3-2.7.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: EMPLOY SEARCH TECHNIQUES THAT FURTHER THE DISCOVERY OF FIRE CAUSE EVIDENCE AND IGNITION SOURCES, USE SEARCH TECHNIQUES THAT INCORPORATE DOCUMENTATION, AND COLLECT AND PRESERVE EVIDENCE.

3-2.8 RECONSTRUCT THE AREA OF ORIGIN, GIVEN STANDARD AND IF NEEDED, SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS AS WELL AS SUFFICIENT PERSONNEL, SO THAT ALL PROTECTED AREAS AND BURN PATTERNS ARE IDENTIFIED AND CORRELATED TO CONTENTS/STRUCTURAL REMAINS, ITEMS POTENTIALLY CRITICAL TO CAUSE DETERMINATION AND PHOTO DOCUMENTATION ARE RETURNED TO THEIR PRE-FIRE LOCATION, AND THE POINT(S) OF ORIGIN IS DISCOVERED.

3-2.8.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF THE EFFECTS OF FIRE ON DIFFERENT TYPES OF MATERIAL AND THE IMPORTANCE AND USES OF RECONSTRUCTION.

3-2.8.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: EXAMINE ALL MATERIALS TO DETERMINE THE EFFECTS OF FIRE, IDENTIFY AND DISTINGUISH AMONG DIFFERENT TYPES OF FIRE-DAMAGED CONTENTS, AND RETURN MATERIALS TO THEIR ORIGINAL POSITION USING PROTECTED AREAS AND BURN PATTERNS.

3-2.9 INSPECT THE PERFORMANCE OF BUILDING SYSTEMS, INCLUDING DETECTION, SUPPRESSION, HVAC, UTILITIES, AND BUILDING COMPARTMENTATION, GIVEN STANDARD AND SPECIAL EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS, SO THAT A DETERMINATION CAN BE MADE AS TO THE NEED FOR EXPERT RESOURCES, AN OPERATING SYSTEMS IMPACT ON FIRE GROWTH AND SPREAD IS CONSIDERED IN IDENTIFYING ORIGIN AREAS, AND DEFEATED SYSTEMS ARE IDENTIFIED.

3-2.9.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: DIFFERENT TYPES OF DETECTION, SUPPRESSION, HVAC, UTILITY, AND BUILDING COMPARTMENTATION SUCH AS FIRE WALLS AND FIRE DOORS; TYPES OF EXPERT RESOURCES FOR BUILDING SYSTEMS; THE IMPACT OF FIRE ON VARIOUS SYSTEMS; AND COMMON METHODS USED TO DEFEAT A SYSTEM'S FUNCTIONAL CAPABILITY.

3-2.9.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: DETERMINE THE SYSTEMS OPERATION AND ITS EFFECT ON THE FIRE, IDENTIFY ALTERATIONS TO BUILDING SYSTEMS, AND EVALUATE THE IMPACT OF SUPPRESSION EFFORTS ON BUILDING SYSTEMS.

3-2.10 DISCRIMINATE THE EFFECTS OF EXPLOSIONS FROM OTHER TYPES OF DAMAGE, GIVEN STANDARD EQUIPMENT AND TOOLS, SO THAT AN EXPLOSION IS IDENTIFIED AND ITS EVIDENCE IS PRESERVED.

3-2.10.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: DIFFERENT TYPES OF EXPLOSIONS AND THEIR CAUSES, CHARACTERISTICS OF AN EXPLOSION, AND THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN LOW- AND HIGH-ORDER EXPLOSIONS.

3-2.10.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: IDENTIFY EXPLOSIVE EFFECTS ON GLASS, WALLS, FOUNDATIONS, AND OTHER BUILDING MATERIALS; DISTINGUISH BETWEEN LOW- AND HIGH-ORDER EXPLOSION EFFECTS; AND ANALYZE DAMAGE TO DOCUMENT THE BLAST ZONE AND ORIGIN.

3-3 DOCUMENTING THE SCENE.

3-3.1 DUTIES SHALL INCLUDE DIAGRAMMING THE SCENE, PHOTOGRAPHING, AND TAKING FIELD NOTES TO BE USED TO COMPILE A FINAL REPORT.

3-3.2 DIAGRAM THE SCENE, GIVEN STANDARD TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT, SO THAT THE SCENE IS ACCURATELY REPRESENTED AND EVIDENCE, PERTINENT CONTENTS, SIGNIFICANT PATTERNS, AND ORIGIN AREAS/POINTS ARE IDENTIFIED.

3-3.2.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: COMMONLY USED SYMBOLS AND LEGENDS THAT CLARIFY THE DIAGRAM, TYPES OF EVIDENCE AND PATTERNS THAT NEED TO BE DOCUMENTED, AND FORMATS FOR DIAGRAMMING THE SCENE.

3-3.2.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ABILITY TO SKETCH THE SCENE, BASIC DRAFTING SKILLS, AND EVIDENCE RECOGNITION AND OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS.

3-3.3 PHOTOGRAPHICALLY DOCUMENT THE SCENE, GIVEN STANDARD TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT, SO THAT THE SCENE IS ACCURATELY DEPICTED AND THE PHOTOGRAPHS APPROPRIATELY SUPPORT SCENE FINDINGS.

3-3.3.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: WORKING KNOWLEDGE OF A 35-MM CAMERA AND FLASH, TYPES OF 35-MM CAMERAS, AND TYPES OF FILM AND FLASH AVAILABLE, AS WELL AS THE STRENGTHS AND LIMITATIONS OF EACH.

3-3.3.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ABILITY TO USE A 35-MM CAMERA AND FLASH.

3-3.4 CONSTRUCT INVESTIGATIVE NOTES, GIVEN A FIRE SCENE, AVAILABLE DOCUMENTS (E.G., PRE-FIRE PLANS, INSPECTION REPORTS, ETC.), AND INTERVIEW INFORMATION, SO THAT THE NOTES ARE ACCURATE, PROVIDE FURTHER DOCUMENTATION OF THE SCENE, AND REPRESENT COMPLETE DOCUMENTATION OF THE SCENE FINDINGS.

3-3.4.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN NOTES, DIAGRAMS, AND PHOTOS; HOW TO REDUCE SCENE INFORMATION INTO CONCISE NOTES; AND THE USE OF NOTES DURING REPORT WRITING AND LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

3-3.4.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: DATA REDUCTION SKILLS, NOTE TAKING SKILLS, OBSERVATIONAL AND CORRELATING SKILLS.

3-4 EVIDENCE COLLECTION/PRESERVATION.

3-4.1 DUTIES SHALL INCLUDE USING PROPER PHYSICAL AND LEGAL PROCEDURES TO RETAIN EVIDENCE REQUIRED WITHIN THE INVESTIGATION.

3-4.2 UTILIZE PROPER PROCEDURES FOR MANAGING VICTIMS AND FATALITIES, GIVEN A PROTOCOL AND APPROPRIATE PERSONNEL, SO THAT ALL EVIDENCE IS DISCOVERED AND PRESERVED AND THE PROTOCOL PROCEDURES ARE FOLLOWED.

3-4.2.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF EVIDENCE ASSOCIATED WITH FIRE VICTIMS AND FATALITIES AND EVIDENCE PRESERVATION METHODS.

3-4.2.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: OBSERVATIONAL SKILLS AND THE ABILITY TO APPLY PROTOCOLS TO GIVEN SITUATIONS.

3-4.3 SELECT APPROPRIATE EVIDENCE FOR ANALYSIS, GIVEN INFORMATION FROM THE INVESTIGATIVE FILE, SO THAT SAMPLES FORWARDED FOR ANALYSIS SUPPORT SPECIFIC INVESTIGATIVE NEEDS.

3-4.3.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF THE CAPABILITIES OF THE SERVICES PERFORMING THE ANALYSIS, PURPOSES FOR SUBMITTING SAMPLES, AND TYPES OF ANALYTICAL SERVICES AVAILABLE.

3-4.3.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: EVALUATE THE FIRE INCIDENT TO DETERMINE FORENSIC, ENGINEERING, OR LABORATORY NEEDS.

3-4.4 COLLECT AND PACKAGE EVIDENCE, GIVEN STANDARD TOOLS AND EQUIPMENT AND EVIDENCE COLLECTION MATERIALS, SO THAT EVIDENCE IS IDENTIFIED, PRESERVED, COLLECTED, AND PACKAGED TO AVOID CONTAMINATION AND INVESTIGATOR-INFLICTED DAMAGE AND THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY IS ESTABLISHED.

3-4.4.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF EVIDENCE (EXCLUSIONARY OR FIRE-CAUSE SUPPORTIVE EVIDENCE), TYPES OF LABORATORY TESTS AVAILABLE, PACKAGING TECHNIQUES AND MATERIALS, AND IMPACT OF EVIDENCE COLLECTION ON THE INVESTIGATION.

3-4.4.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ABILITY TO RECOGNIZE DIFFERENT TYPES OF EVIDENCE AND DETERMINE EVIDENCE CRITICAL TO THE INVESTIGATION.

3-4.5 MAINTAIN A CHAIN OF CUSTODY, GIVEN STANDARD INVESTIGATIVE TOOLS, MARKING TOOLS, AND EVIDENCE TAGS/LOGS, SO THAT WRITTEN DOCUMENTATION EXISTS FOR EACH PIECE OF EVIDENCE AND EVIDENCE IS SECURED.

3-4.5.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: RULES OF CUSTODY AND TRANSFER PROCEDURES, TYPES OF EVIDENCE (E.G., PHYSICAL EVIDENCE OBTAINED AT THE SCENE, PHOTOS, DOCUMENTS, ETC.) AND METHODS OF RECORDING THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY.

3-4.5.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ABILITY TO EXECUTE THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY PROCEDURES AND ACCURATELY COMPLETE NECESSARY DOCUMENTS.

3-4.6 DISPOSE OF EVIDENCE, GIVEN JURISDICTIONAL/ AGENCY REGULATIONS AND FILE INFORMATION, SO THAT THE DISPOSAL IS TIMELY, SAFELY CONDUCTED, AND IN COMPLIANCE WITH JURISDICTIONAL/AGENCY REQUIREMENTS.

3-4.6.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: DISPOSAL SERVICES AVAILABLE AND COMMON DISPOSAL PROCEDURES AND PROBLEMS.

3-4.6.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: DOCUMENTATION SKILLS.

3-5 INTERVIEW/INTERROGATION.

3-5.1 DUTIES SHALL INCLUDE OBTAINING INFORMATION REGARDING THE OVERALL FIRE INVESTIGATION FROM OTHERS THROUGH VERBAL COMMUNICATION.

3-5.2 DEVELOP AN INTERVIEW PLAN, GIVEN NO SPECIAL TOOLS OR EQUIPMENT, SO THAT THE PLAN REFLECTS A STRATEGY TO FURTHER DETERMINE THE FIRE CAUSE AND AFFIX RESPONSIBILITY AND INCLUDES A RELEVANT QUESTIONING STRATEGY FOR EACH INDIVIDUAL TO BE INTERVIEWED THAT PROMOTES THE EFFICIENT USE OF THE INVESTIGATOR'S TIME.

3-5.2.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: PERSONS WHO MAY PROVIDE INFORMATION THAT FURTHERS THE FIRE CAUSE DETERMINATION OR THE AFFIXING OF RESPONSIBILITY, TYPES OF QUESTIONS THAT ARE PERTINENT AND EFFICIENT TO ASK OF DIFFERENT INFORMATION SOURCES (FIRE DEPARTMENT, NEIGHBORS, WITNESSES, SUSPECTS, ETC.), AND PROS AND CONS OF INTERVIEWS VERSUS DOCUMENT GATHERING.

3-5.2.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: PLANNING SKILLS, DEVELOPMENT OF FOCUSED QUESTIONS FOR SPECIFIC INDIVIDUALS, AND EVALUATION OF EXISTING FILE DATA TO HELP DEVELOP QUESTIONS AND FILL INVESTIGATIVE GAPS.

3-5.3 CONDUCT INTERVIEWS OR INTERROGATIONS, GIVEN INCIDENT INFORMATION, SO THAT PERTINENT INFORMATION IS OBTAINED, FOLLOW-UP QUESTIONS ARE ASKED, RESPONSES TO ALL QUESTIONS ARE ELICITED, AND THE RESPONSE TO EACH QUESTION IS DOCUMENTED ACCURATELY.

3-5.3.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF TYPES OF INTERVIEWS, PERSONAL INFORMATION NEEDED FOR PROPER DOCUMENTATION OR FOLLOW-UP DOCUMENTING METHODS AND TOOLS, AND TYPES OF NONVERBAL COMMUNICATIONS AND THEIR MEANING.

3-5.3.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ADJUST INTERVIEWING STRATEGIES BASED ON DEDUCTIVE REASONING, INTERPRET VERBAL AND NONVERBAL COMMUNICATIONS, APPLY APPLICABLE LEGAL REQUIREMENTS, AND EXHIBIT STRONG LISTENING SKILLS.

3-5.4 EVALUATE INTERVIEW INFORMATION, GIVEN INTERVIEW TRANSCRIPTS OR NOTES AND INCIDENT DATE, SO THAT ALL INTERVIEW DATA IS INDIVIDUALLY ANALYZED AND CORRELATED WITH ALL OTHER INTERVIEWS, CORROBORATIVE AND CONFLICTIVE INFORMATION IS DOCUMENTED, AND NEW LEADS ARE DISCOVERED.

3-5.4.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF INTERVIEWS, REPORT EVALUATION METHODS, AND DATA CORRELATING METHODS.

3-5.4.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: DATA CORRELATING SKILLS AND THE ABILITY TO EVALUATE SOURCE INFORMATION (E.G., FIRE DEPARTMENT, WITNESS, ETC.).

3-6 POST-INCIDENT INVESTIGATION.

3-6.1 DUTIES SHALL INCLUDE THE INVESTIGATION OF ALL FACTORS BEYOND THE FIRE SCENE AT THE TIME OF THE ORIGIN AND CAUSE DETERMINATION.

3-6.2 GATHER REPORTS AND RECORDS, GIVEN NO SPECIAL TOOLS, EQUIPMENT, OR MATERIALS, SO THAT ALL GATHERED DOCUMENTS ARE APPROPRIATE TO THE INVESTIGATION, COMPLETE, AND AUTHENTIC, THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY IS MAINTAINED, AND THE MATERIAL IS ACCEPTABLE TO THE COURTS.

3-6.2.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF REPORTS NEEDED THAT FACILITATE DETERMINING RESPONSIBILITY FOR THE FIRE (E.G., POLICE REPORTS, FIRE REPORTS, INSURANCE POLICIES, FINANCIAL RECORDS, DEEDS, PRIVATE INVESTIGATOR REPORTS, OUTSIDE PHOTOS, AND VIDEOS, ETC.) AND LOCATION OF THESE REPORTS.

3-6.2.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: IDENTIFY THE PROPER REPORTS AND DOCUMENTS NECESSARY FOR THE INVESTIGATION, IMPLEMENTING THE CHAIN OF CUSTODY, AND ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS.

3-6.3 EVALUATE THE INVESTIGATIVE FILE, GIVEN ALL AVAILABLE FILE INFORMATION, SO THAT AREAS FOR FURTHER INVESTIGATION ARE IDENTIFIED, THE RELATIONSHIP BETWEEN GATHERED DOCUMENTS AND INFORMATION IS INTERPRETED, AND CORROBORATIVE EVIDENCE AND INFORMATION DISCREPANCIES ARE DISCOVERED.

3-6.3.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: FILE ASSESSMENT AND/OR EVALUATION METHODS, PROPER AND ACCEPTABLE DOCUMENTATION, AND PROPER CONTENTS OF INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS AND GATHERED DOCUMENTATION.

3-6.3.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: INFORMATION ASSESSMENT AND CORRELATION SKILLS AND ORGANIZATIONAL SKILLS.

3-6.4 COORDINATE EXPERT RESOURCES, GIVEN THE INVESTIGATIVE FILE, REPORTS, AND DOCUMENTS, SO THAT THE EXPERT'S COMPETENCIES ARE MATCHED TO THE SPECIFIC INVESTIGATION NEEDS, FINANCIAL EXPENDITURES ARE JUSTIFIED, AND UTILIZATION CLEARLY FURTHERS THE INVESTIGATION TOWARD THE GOALS OF CAUSATION DETERMINATION OR AFFIXING RESPONSIBILITY.

3-6.4.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: KNOWLEDGE OF THE INVESTIGATOR'S OWN EXPERTISE, QUALIFICATIONS NEEDED FOR EXPERT TESTIMONY, TYPES OF EXPERT RESOURCES (E.G., FORENSIC, CPA, POLYGRAPH, FINANCIAL, HUMAN BEHAVIORAL DISORDERS, ENGINEERING, ETC.), AND METHODS TO IDENTIFY EXPERT RESOURCES.

3-6.4.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: RECOGNIZE THE VALUE OF EXPERT RESOURCES TO FURTHER THE INVESTIGATION, NETWORK WITH OTHER INVESTIGATORS TO IDENTIFY EXPERTS, QUESTION EXPERTS RELATIVE TO THEIR QUALIFICATIONS, AND PLAN UTILIZATION OF EXPERT RESOURCES.

3-6.5 ESTABLISH EVIDENCE AS TO MOTIVE AND/OR OPPORTUNITY, GIVEN AN INCENDIARY FIRE, SO THAT THE EVIDENCE IS THE RESULT OF A PRUDENT AND COMPLETE INVESTIGATION, IS SUPPORTED BY DOCUMENTATION, AND THE EVIDENCE MEETS THE EVIDENTIARY REQUIREMENTS OF THE JURISDICTION.

3-6.5.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF MOTIVES COMMON TO INCENDIARY FIRE INVESTIGATION, METHODS USED TO DISCOVER OPPORTUNITY, AND UNDERSTANDING HUMAN BEHAVIORAL PATTERNS RELATIVE TO FIRE SETTING.

3-6.5.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: FINANCIAL ANALYSIS, RECORDS GATHERING AND ANALYSIS, INTERVIEWING, AND INTERPRETING FIRE SCENE INFORMATION AND EVIDENCE FOR RELATIONSHIP TO MOTIVE AND/OR OPPORTUNITY.

3-6.6 FORMULATE AN OPINION OF THE PERSON(S) AND/OR PRODUCT(S) RESPONSIBLE FOR THE FIRE, GIVEN ALL INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, SO THAT THE OPINION REGARDING RESPONSIBILITY FOR A FIRE IS SUPPORTED BY ALL RECORDS, REPORTS, DOCUMENTS, AND EVIDENCE.

3-6.6.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: ANALYTICAL METHODS AND PROCEDURES SUCH AS DATA REDUCTION MATRIXING, HYPOTHESIS TESTING, AND SYSTEMS ANALYSIS, ETC.

3-6.6.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ANALYTICAL AND ASSIMILATION SKILLS.

3-7 PRESENTATIONS.

3-7.1 DUTIES SHALL INCLUDE THE ABILITY TO PRESENT FINDINGS TO THOSE INDIVIDUALS NOT INVOLVED IN THE ACTUAL INVESTIGATION.

3-7.2 PREPARE A WRITTEN INVESTIGATION REPORT, GIVEN INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, DOCUMENTATION, AND A SPECIFIC AUDIENCE, SO THAT THE REPORT ACCURATELY REFLECTS THE INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, IS CONCISE, EXPRESSES THE INVESTIGATOR'S OPINION, AND IS APPROPRIATE FOR THE INTENDED AUDIENCE(S).

3-7.2.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: ELEMENTS OF WRITING, TYPICAL COMPONENTS OF A WRITTEN REPORT, AND TYPES OF AUDIENCES AND THEIR RESPECTIVE NEEDS.

3-7.2.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: WRITING SKILLS, ABILITY TO ANALYZE INFORMATION AND APPLY DEDUCTIVE REASONING, AND ABILITY TO DETERMINE THE READER'S NEEDS.

3-7.3 EXPRESS INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS VERBALLY, GIVEN INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, NOTES, A TIME ALLOTMENT, AND A SPECIFIC AUDIENCE, SO THAT THE INFORMATION IS ACCURATE, THE PRESENTATION IS COMPLETED WITHIN THE ALLOTTED TIME, AND THE PRESENTATION INCLUDES ONLY NEED-TO-KNOW INFORMATION FOR THE INTENDED AUDIENCE.

3-7.3.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, THE INFORMATIONAL NEEDS OF VARIOUS TYPES OF AUDIENCES, AND THE IMPACT OF RELEASING INFORMATION.

3-7.3.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: COMMUNICATION SKILLS, ABILITY TO DETERMINE AUDIENCE NEEDS, AND ABILITY TO CORRELATE FINDINGS.

3-7.4 TESTIFY DURING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS, GIVEN INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, CONTENTS OF REPORTS, AND CONSULTATION WITH LEGAL COUNSEL, SO THAT ALL PERTINENT INVESTIGATIVE INFORMATION IS PRESENTED CLEARLY AND ACCURATELY AND THE INVESTIGATOR'S DEMEANOR IS APPROPRIATE TO THE PROCEEDING.

3-7.4.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF INVESTIGATIVE FINDINGS, THE UNDERSTANDING OF THE TYPES OF LEGAL PROCEEDINGS, APPROPRIATE DEMEANOR FOR EACH, AND AN UNDERSTANDING OF LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

3-7.4.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: COMMUNICATION AND LISTENING SKILLS; ABILITY TO DIFFERENTIATE FACTS FROM OPINIONS; AND ABILITY TO DETERMINE APPROPRIATE PROCEDURES, PRACTICES, AND ETIQUETTE DURING LEGAL PROCEEDINGS.

3-7.5 CONDUCT PUBLIC INFORMATIONAL PRESENTATIONS, GIVEN RELATIVE DATA, SO THAT INFORMATION IS ACCURATE, APPROPRIATE TO THE AUDIENCE, AND CLEARLY SUPPORTS THE INFORMATION NEEDS OF THE AUDIENCE.

3-7.5.1 PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE: TYPES OF DATA AVAILABLE REGARDING THE FIRE LOSS PROBLEM AND THE ISSUES ABOUT WHICH THE COMMUNITY MUST KNOW.

3-7.5.2 PREREQUISITE SKILL: ABILITY TO ASSEMBLE, ORGANIZE, AND PRESENT INFORMATION.

NFPA 1033 INCORPORATES NFPA 472 STANDARD FOR PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCE OF RESPONDERS TO HAZARDOUS MATERIALS INCIDENTS AS THE ONLY OTHER DOCUMENT CONSIDERED PART OF THE PROFESSIONAL QUALIFICATIONS CRITERIA FOR FIRE INVESTIGATORS. NFPA 921 GUIDE FOR FIRE AND EXPLOSION INVESTIGATIONS AND NFPA 907M MANUAL FOR THE DETERMINATION OF ELECTRICAL FIRE CAUSES ARE IDENTIFIED AS RECOMMENDED REFERENCE SOURCES ONLY AND ARE NOT CONSIDERED REQUISITE MATERIALS UNDER NFPA 1033. (NFPA 907M HAS BEEN INCORPORATED INTO THE 1995 EDITION OF NFPA 921 AND NO LONGER EXISTS AS A SEPARATE DOCUMENT.)

IV. THE MEASURE OF COMPETENCY

IN IDENTIFYING THE SIX GENERAL DUTIES AND TWENTY-NINE SPECIFIC DUTIES OF A FIRE INVESTIGATOR, NFPA 1033 ESTABLISHES THE SCOPE OF A PROPER FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION. THESE DUTIES PROVIDE THE FRAME- WORK FOR A COMPLETE AND COMPETENT INVESTIGATION BY A FIRE INVESTIGATOR. HOWEVER, WITHIN THOSE OBJECTIVE STANDARDS THERE IS A DECIDEDLY SUBJECTIVE COMPONENT IN MANY OF THEM. WHAT MUST BE DONE IS CLEARLY STATED: HOW IT MUST BE DONE IS NOT. NFPA 921 PROVIDES THE MECHANICS OF A PROPER FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION IN DETAILING HOW THE JOB SHOULD BE DONE. IRONICALLY, NFPA 1033 IS A NATIONAL STANDARD CARRYING THE FULL WEIGHT OF THE NFPA'S AUTHORITY, YET THE SPECIFIC TECHNIQUES AND METHODOLOGIES OF A PROPER FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION ARE SET FORTH IN NFPA 921, A RECOMMENDED "GUIDE" WHICH IS ONLY A REFERENCE SOURCE FOR FIRE INVESTIGATORS.

SIMILARLY, THE TWENTY-NINE PREREQUISITE KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS AREAS OF NFPA 1033 ARE EVEN MORE SUBJECTIVE IN THEIR CONTENT. NFPA 921 PROVIDES OBJECTIVE GUIDANCE FOR THE MEASURE OF A FIRE INVESTIGATOR'S KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS IN ONLY A SELECT FEW AREAS. IN THE END, THE FIRE INVESTIGATOR IS CHARGED WITH THE RESPONSIBILITY OF POSSESSING KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS IN THOSE TWENTY-NINE AREAS WITHOUT OBJECTIVE MEASURES TO APPLY IN DETERMINING THE TRUE DEPTH OF KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS POSSESSED BY THE INVESTIGATOR. INTERESTINGLY, PRIOR TO THE REVISION OF NFPA 1033 IN FEBRUARY OF 1993 THERE WERE SPECIFIC, OBJECTIVE STANDARDS OF COMPETENCY WITHIN THE DOCUMENT. THE PRIOR EDITIONS OF NFPA 1033 CONTAINED A DETAILED LIST OF PARTICULAR FIRE SCIENCE ISSUES REQUIRED TO BE KNOWN BY THE INVESTIGATOR IN ORDER TO BE PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED. IT SERVED AS A VIRTUAL CHECKLIST OF BASIC FIRE SCIENCE KNOWLEDGE WHICH COULD BE USED TO TEST THE INVESTIGATOR'S EXPERTISE. THE KNOWLEDGE OF THOSE ISSUES REMAINS AN IMPLICIT REQUIREMENT UNDER NFPA 1033, YET THEIR DELETION FROM EDITIONS AFTER 1993 REMOVED THE ABILITY TO CONFIRM THAT KNOWLEDGE OBJECTIVELY. IN THAT REGARD, THE CURRENT EDITION OF NFPA 1033 REPRESENTS A LESS CHALLENGING TEST AS A NATIONAL STANDARD OF COMPETENCY FOR FIRE INVESTIGATORS.

V. CONCLUSION

DESPITE THIS REVISION TO THE CURRENT EDITION OF NFPA 1033, IT STILL REMAINS AN IMPORTANT TOOL IN PROMOTING STANDARDS OF PROFESSIONAL COMPETENCY FOR FIRE INVESTIGATORS. IT IS A COMPREHENSIVE DOCUMENT WHICH METICULOUSLY DETAILS THE FULL SCOPE OF A PROPER FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION AND CATALOGS THE NECESSARY KNOWLEDGE AND SKILLS TO CONDUCT THE INVESTIGATION. WHILE THE UNQUALIFIED OR INCOMPETENT FIRE INVESTIGATOR MAY NOT BE AS EASILY EXPOSED FOR HIS LACK OF TECHNICAL EXPERTISE UNDER CURRENT NFPA 1033, AN INADEQUATE OR INCOMPLETE INVESTIGATION WILL BE EXPOSED. MOREOVER, ALTHOUGH NFPA 921 IS LABELED A "GUIDELINE" FOR THE INVESTIGATION OF FIRES AND IS ONLY A REFERENCED RESOURCE UNDER NFPA 1033, IT HAS BEEN USED WITH DEVASTATING EFFECTIVENESS IN THE COURTROOM TO POINT OUT THE LACK OF TECHNICAL EXPERTISE ON THE PART OF UNQUALIFIED FIRE INVESTIGATORS. ULTIMATELY, A PROPERLY CONDUCTED FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATION BY A COMPETENT AND PROFESSIONALLY QUALIFIED FIRE INVESTIGATOR REPRESENTS THE BEST DETERRENT TO THOSE WHO WOULD SEEK TO ADVANCE INADEQUATE OR IMPROPER FIRE SCENE INVESTIGATIONS AS CASE-MAKERS. IN THE BRIGHT LIGHT OF A COURTROOM, THE TRUTH WILL ALWAYS BE RECOGNIZED. THE FINAL MEASURE OF COMPETENCY IS TAKEN THERE, BY THE CITIZENS WHO SERVE AS JURORS.

Reprinted with permission from the author.

 
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