Once the fire department has put out the fire, the next team to go in is the fire investigation team. Their task to determine what happened to start the fire and from what direction the fire came from. They use a technique known as fire science to help in their investigation. In the United States, you need to hold a certification through the International Association of Arson investigators to be able to complete fire investigations. For those that choose to carry it to the next level. There is a national certification through the National Association of Fire Investigators. This group is made up of individuals who are professionals in the field of fire and explosives. Fire investigators can also become specialized by obtaining certain credentials in specific areas of vehicle investigations, explosives investigations, and also instructor certifications. Investigators will also find it useful to learn about many of the common appliances in the home, home construction basics, how humans behave, etc. Whatever form of fire investigation is chosen, the intricate details of the scene must be studied for an accurate ruling on the fires origin.
It is very hard to investigate a fire. Fire investigation is considered to be one of the more difficult forms of crime scene investigation or forensic science. The difficult question to ask in fire situations is whether or not it is an actual crime scene. In most of the other types of crime scenes, the wrong doing is usually obvious providing a body, blood, or evidence of foul play. With a fire scene most of those indicators have been destroyed and the fire investigator is only able to use what is left. In a fire scene the main argument is about arson. The fire investigator must decide if the fire was started by an arsonist or by accident. To do this, the investigator must take all the evidence he has left and also look at the events leading up to the fire if they are available.
A system is used by the investigator to determine the fires cause. It could almost be considered a specific scientific method. A highly skilled fire investigator should have other resources available for those scenes that require an expert on a certain subject. This means that an appliance may need to be looked into deeper and by someone qualified to make a judgment call on the working order of that appliance. In vehicle fires, it is also important to know if any part of the care was malfunctioning at the time of the fire. These things are all a part of the fire investigation and should be used when necessary.
Five things need to be in place to conduct a proper investigation. The first is the assignment being given to the investigator and them knowing what they are needed to do. Next, planning comes in and the investigator must get together all the things they need such as tools, help needed, and equipment for fire determination. Third, the scene needs to be looked over and examined and any evidence needs to be collected. Fourth, the evidence collected is examined carefully, findings are written down, retested, and reevaluated for correct findings. Finally, the scientific method is used to determine the cause by whatever the findings are from the evidence. All this is the correct procedure of the fire investigator when using fire science.