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When should you call the FM?

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  • cubbie
    replied
    Originally posted by emt161 View Post
    I don't know the SOPs of most departments, but I do know that anytime there is a victim with burns of more than 5% BSA, the department is required to notify the state FM. This applies whether or not the department uses its own investigators, and also applies to incidents where the burns were not received in a structure fire.
    I have to ask...What national standard, law, or regulation are you quoting. I have never heard of the 5% rule.

    Leave a comment:


  • emt161
    replied
    I don't know the SOPs of most departments, but I do know that anytime there is a victim with burns of more than 5% BSA, the department is required to notify the state FM. This applies whether or not the department uses its own investigators, and also applies to incidents where the burns were not received in a structure fire.

    Leave a comment:


  • SjfdJim
    replied
    George the wonderful

    Wow, George.

    A little arrogant and self impressed? Can you walk on water too?

    Lighten up, man.

    Leave a comment:


  • cvgtrapper
    replied
    When to call the FM

    I received this from my chief, it came from Troop "C" Penna State Police.
    To all Fire Chiefs, designees and Clearfield County Control:



    Troop C Fire Marshal(s) will respond immediately to the following fires:



    a. Fatal fire
    b. Catastrophic fire
    c. Attempted homicide
    d. Property damage in excess of $1,000,000
    e. Any fire of such an unusual nature that would be expected to generate higher than normal media attention
    f. A fire which resulted in any injury to an emergency responder or serious bodily injury to other persons
    g. Any suspicious fire which is thought to be part of an arson pattern in the area

    In general, fires which do not fall into any of the above listed categories and have an estimated monetary loss of $75,000 or less will not require the immediate response of a Deputy or Assistant Deputy Fire Marshal. Additionally, vehicle fires, shed fires, detached garage fires and seasonal residence/camp fires will normally not require the immediate response of a Deputy or Assistant Deputy Fire Marshal, unless one of the criteria above applies.

    Requests for immediate responses to fires which do not fit into the above categories shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The approving officer shall take the following factors into consideration during the decision making process:

    a. Is the fire suspicious, and if so, based upon what circumstances?

    i. Any signs of forcible entry
    ii. Physical evidence at the scene such as gas cans or tire tracks
    iii. Does the structure have no electrical service or other utilities which could account for an accidental ignition?
    iv. The time of the fire (most arsons occur between midnight and 0500)
    v. Is the owner present and do his/her statements make sense?

    vi. Potential for destruction or contamination of evidence
    vii. Inability to secure the scene
    viii. Potential loss of ability to interview occupants, witnesses, owners, suspects, and first responders
    ix. Potential restriction or denial of access to the scene at a later time
    x. Successful completion of the investigation will be significantly hampered by a delayed response

    b. What is the Fire Chief’s initial opinion of the cause- is it suspicious or does he feel it’s probably an accident, but would just like confirmation, in which case an immediate response would not be necessary.

    Leave a comment:


  • cvgtrapper
    replied
    when to call the FM

    Here is part of a document I got last summer from my chief, it was distributed by The Penna State Police Troop "C"

    To all Fire Chiefs, designees and Clearfield County Control:



    Troop C Fire Marshal(s) will respond immediately to the following fires:



    a. Fatal fire
    b. Catastrophic fire
    c. Attempted homicide
    d. Property damage in excess of $1,000,000
    e. Any fire of such an unusual nature that would be expected to generate higher than normal media attention
    f. A fire which resulted in any injury to an emergency responder or serious bodily injury to other persons
    g. Any suspicious fire which is thought to be part of an arson pattern in the area

    In general, fires which do not fall into any of the above listed categories and have an estimated monetary loss of $75,000 or less will not require the immediate response of a Deputy or Assistant Deputy Fire Marshal. Additionally, vehicle fires, shed fires, detached garage fires and seasonal residence/camp fires will normally not require the immediate response of a Deputy or Assistant Deputy Fire Marshal, unless one of the criteria above applies.

    Requests for immediate responses to fires which do not fit into the above categories shall be evaluated on a case-by-case basis. The approving officer shall take the following factors into consideration during the decision making process:

    a. Is the fire suspicious, and if so, based upon what circumstances?

    i. Any signs of forcible entry
    ii. Physical evidence at the scene such as gas cans or tire tracks
    iii. Does the structure have no electrical service or other utilities which could account for an accidental ignition?
    iv. The time of the fire (most arsons occur between midnight and 0500)
    v. Is the owner present and do his/her statements make sense?

    vi. Potential for destruction or contamination of evidence
    vii. Inability to secure the scene
    viii. Potential loss of ability to interview occupants, witnesses, owners, suspects, and first responders
    ix. Potential restriction or denial of access to the scene at a later time
    x. Successful completion of the investigation will be significantly hampered by a delayed response

    b. What is the Fire Chief’s initial opinion of the cause- is it suspicious or does he feel it’s probably an accident, but would just like confirmation, in which case an immediate response would not be necessary.

    Leave a comment:


  • LtDanDaFireman
    replied
    Thanks George. That actually gave me some other ideas that I hadn't thought/or weren't suggested before.

    Leave a comment:


  • GeorgeWendtCFI
    replied
    Originally posted by cubbie View Post
    Let me make this suggestion. If your going to have a recall policy for investigations. Keep what you have were they call you when they don't know or believe it could be a set fire. Then add that you should be called to all fires were the dollar value of the loss is in excess of 20 percent of value of the property. Any fire were an injury or death has occurred. Injuires should include those that occur to firefighters while on scene.
    Most fire investigators, public and private, are grossly underqualified to estimate losses. The loss must include building, contents and additional expenses. This information is not normally available at the time of the fire. Fire officers make a huge mistake entering this info on NFIRS unless there is a solid basis.

    Dan, you are new to the job and obviously have alot to learn-especially about the private side.

    Here's a suggestion as to when to call back investigators:

    1. Fire involving a fatality or suspected fatality.
    2. Fire involving a public or governmental facility.
    3. Fire involving target occupancies: house of worship, medical facility, ethnic or racial cultural occupancy, multiple dwelling, shopping center, chemical plant, or any other occupancy that may be of concern to your locale.
    4. Obviously incendiary fire or fire where an arrest has been made
    5. Any explosion, regardless of cause
    6. Any recovery of an incendiary or explosive device
    7. Any other fire on a case-by-case basis that may have extraordinary or unusual circumstances.

    Of course, this is coming from an uneducated private guy with 17 years f/t experience as a law enforcement fire investigator and 32 years as a volunteer fire fighter. It's probably worthless.

    Leave a comment:


  • jkevn28
    replied
    A few days ago I attempted to post a link and some advice, it apparently was not approved or something, never showed up. It would've proved useful before this latest exchange between Ltdan & George.

    The link was to Phoenix FD's SOP regarding fire investigators & callouts. (You can Google it) If ya can't find it I'll post it. You can learn alot about revamping SOP's on google...

    The advice was something to the effect of getting feedback from all involved concerning what they see as "needs" that need to be addressed. The most important tidbit was reminding you that private guys are on the same side as we are..(we being public sector) unless of course they have been taken over by the dark side.
    I do not know George Wendt personally, only from posting on several of these forums, I would not have shat on his hat while asking for help.

    Private guy or no, there is no topic in this forum that doesn't include a post from him offering help, opinions or high-powered private guy musings....

    Leave a comment:


  • cubbie
    replied
    Let me make this suggestion. If your going to have a recall policy for investigations. Keep what you have were they call you when they don't know or believe it could be a set fire. Then add that you should be called to all fires were the dollar value of the loss is in excess of 20 percent of value of the property. Any fire were an injury or death has occurred. Injuires should include those that occur to firefighters while on scene.

    Leave a comment:


  • somearsonguy
    replied
    My fault Cubbie for not addressing fire deaths/injuries. We make fire scenes where there is a fire death or injury as well. We make a few fires a year so our policy may be different from a smaller municipality than doesn't see a lot of fires. Our way of doing things isn't the only way, Lord knows. We even like private guys where I'm at (Lt Dan ).

    Leave a comment:


  • LtDanDaFireman
    replied
    George,
    I am speaking from my experiences only. I am not stating trends of an industry. You are taking what I said out of context again. As for your other question about my inquisition of the experience of private investigators, I don't. One thing that happens when people of similar professions get together is they talk shop and I am sure you are well aware of that already. I am fairly new to this profession so some of the more seasoned guys don't mind sharing some of experiences with me that helped them be successful. I know you are a highly qualified individual and I by no means am trying to offend you.

    Cubbie,
    I understand and completely agree with your points. And trust me you didn't hurt my feelings. I recognize the "quality" of the incident reports generated by the local companies can often be about as useful as a fire truck without a crew. I know my reports are not things to write home about but in talking to the more experiences, training, and seeing what goes back and forth on here they are improving. I agree completely with the statements about "only call me when" and law enforcement vs fire service experience vs other skill sets.


    The breakdown goes like this. 1 retired trooper (former state FM), 2 engineers, and 2 chemists. Prior to this year I personally had not dealt with any private investigators.

    I have a very divers background/education and have a good working relationship with our local PD, other FMs who are retired LEO's and good friends with a few engineers/scientist. Do I claim to be a world class fire investigator, No. Do I claim to be an expert on fire investigation, Hell no. I am an educated individual who has shown the basic competencies to be able to perform the job I do effectively. Do think I am an exception, no. 2007 produced 7 investigation reports and the following year 27. Fluke? Fire prevention slacking? Maybe.

    The point and purpose of this was to see how everyone else does it or has done it in the past. Not to get into a ****ing match. Just trying to get some information to help improve my little part of the world.

    Leave a comment:


  • cubbie
    replied
    George,
    Don’t let people get to you so easily. Everyone does not know your background and level of expertise in our profession.
    LtDanDaFireman,
    You have to understand that most private investigators don’t talk to you for any number of reasons.
    1. No contact information available, especially with volunteer fire departments.
    2. Insurance adjuster has already talked to the property owner.
    3. Now not to hurt your feelings, but 95% of the reports generated by fire departments are worthless information with regards to my fire investigation. Most public investigator reports don’t even include a diagram of the fire scene because they didn’t do one. There are generally very few photos and no photo log. As such useless red flags starts going up while investigating the fire most private investigators don’t want your report. Again not trying to hurt your feelings but facts or facts.
    You may be an exception, but a lot of public investigators only look at a dozen or less fire scenes a year. To be the best fire investigator you can be you need to look at as many fires as possible. You will learn something new or re-enforce something you have already learned the more fire scenes you work. This is why I believe the fire marshal’s office should investigate every fire. This practice that public investigator have of only call me when….. only hurts their ability to be competent fire investigators.
    Now you said 75 percent don't have fire service background. I don't know the actual breakdown. I come from a fire service background so I feel very qualifed to make this statement. The best fire investigators I have every work with come from a law enforcement background. I work for a retired ATF CFI/CES. They have a skill set that is those in the fire service don't. You have to have engineers. They have a skill set that those in the fire service don't. If you want to be a more competent investigator you need to work with and learn for these people. You can't hold yourself as being more qualifed because you come for a fire service background. To do so is foolish.
    Last edited by cubbie; 01-28-2009, 04:44 PM.

    Leave a comment:


  • GeorgeWendtCFI
    replied
    Originally posted by LtDanDaFireman View Post
    Last year we had 500 plus calls in town. Out of that 27 calls were investigated. I think of total of 5 instances where I was contacted by an insurance investigator, about 75% of the time they had no fire service experience.

    I am not begging for information. Most of the responses I received where following the most recent post I made. Prior to that I received few useful responses.


    Give me a break this is getting a bit petty now.
    You're some investigator. 3.75 times you were contacted by someone you claim to be non-fire service and you have enough data to trend an entire industry. Wow.

    Do you inquire to these people whether or not they have prior fire service or law enforcement experience before you talk to them? I'm just asking because that is not something I usually volunteer or am asked about when I call a FD.

    5 fires? I usually investigate that in a week.

    Leave a comment:


  • LtDanDaFireman
    replied
    Last year we had 500 plus calls in town. Out of that 27 calls were investigated. I think of total of 5 instances where I was contacted by an insurance investigator, about 75% of the time they had no fire service experience.

    I am not begging for information. Most of the responses I received where following the most recent post I made. Prior to that I received few useful responses.


    Give me a break this is getting a bit petty now.

    Leave a comment:


  • GeorgeWendtCFI
    replied
    Originally posted by LtDanDaFireman View Post
    George,

    I am sorry that you were offended by my post. As for coming across arrogant and ignorant towards the private guys, neither was my intention. Sorry if you took it that way. That statement was made because most of the private investigators I have run into are not retired from the public sector. I have ran into alot of Chemists and Engineers whom stated they never spent a as a firefighter or local FM. Maybe now you see where I am coming from.

    If you still do not want to provide imput, fine. However despite the few post on here I have received a large number of PM's from public and private guys providing valuable impute.
    Yeah, OK. Then you don't get to too many fires, do you?

    If you got so much input, why do you keep coming back begging for more?

    Leave a comment:

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