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Fire and Arson Photography. Eastman Kodak Company, 1977.

Abstract: The Fire Department can benefit from the use of photography in many ways. Photographs can contribute to the success and safety of Firemen by documenting previous fires, recording current hazards, and demonstrating new fire-fighting techniques. The Fire Department often times will plan ahead for possible fires or disasters. Photographing trouble areas greatly assists firemen by recording information that can be useful before and after a fire. Photographs can help determine access routes to certain areas as well as adequate water resources.

Photographs are an especially helpful tool for investigators because they can be examined for clues of the fire cause and area of origin. Eyewitness accounts of fires are often inaccurate, forcing investigators to rely on pictures. The first responsibility of a firefighter is to save lives and extinguish the fire. Initially, the firefighter is not concerned with what caused the fire.

Rather than concerning all of the responding firemen with preserving evidence, one fireman should be assigned to take all of the photographs. For the best results, photographs should be taken immediately upon arrival and at intervals thereafter. The assigned photographer should take a complete survey of the fire scene from every angle. He should record as much of the structure as possible. The photographer should attempt to document the presence of steam, the color and density of smoke, and the color and size of flames. The article provides a list of combustibles with their corresponding smoke and flame colors.

The article also provides solutions to problems that photographers might encounter while documenting a fire scene. Suggestions for preventing underexposure, using a camera under adverse conditions, and selecting the proper lens are included. The article also explains other photography principles such as exposure, flash and film selection.

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