Documenting the Scene       Chapter 18                    © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
Objectives• Describe when and what to photograph to  document the fire scene adequately• Describe the different types of d...
Case Study• A homeowner noticed the laundry room on fire• Investigator searched the dryer and found only  debris that was ...
Introduction• Every fire scene must be adequately  documented to allow recall for the investigator• To test your hypothesi...
Photographs• In the past, arguments have been made against  digital photography   – Digital photographs in the early days ...
Photography for the First       Responder Investigator• Upon arriving at the scene, taking photographs  will be the last t...
Photography for the First  Responder Investigator (cont’d.)• Once the fire is under control and post-fire  procedures have...
Photography for the Assigned            Investigator• Assigned investigator should start from the  beginning and take all ...
Photography for the Assigned        Investigator (cont’d.)• Inside the structure, the photos should be taken  just as the ...
Specialized Photography               Figure 18-1 Digital cameras               can range from a simple               pock...
Documenting with Diagrams• Diagrams are drawings of the property  – Depict the property boundaries and the position of the...
Sketching and Measuring• A sketch is a simple rough drawing   – Starts with drawing the area, and then a sketch of the    ...
The Diagrams• Sketch needs to be rendered into a diagram• Basic completed diagram needs to be attached  to the final repor...
The Diagrams (cont’d.)• Pre-Fire Floor Plan  – First diagram should show the layout of the rooms    and spaces as they wou...
The Diagrams (cont’d.)• Burn and Smoke Patterns  – Diagram could also reflect the depth of the char  – Should show the dir...
The Diagrams (cont’d.)• Suppression Activities  – Placement of apparatus, water supply lines, location    of hydrants used...
Notes• Notes are an essential part of any investigation• If you do not write down what was said in the  interview, then th...
Notes (cont’d.)• Notes need to be legible• Two theories on keeping and destroying notes  – Some departments destroy their ...
Summary• Diagrams and notes are key tools to creating  the final report  – A variety of items can be captured with a diagr...
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Chapter 18

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Chapter 18

  1. 1. Documenting the Scene Chapter 18 © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  2. 2. Objectives• Describe when and what to photograph to document the fire scene adequately• Describe the different types of diagrams and how they can assist the fire investigator• Describe symbols used to represent common items used in most diagrams• Describe the importance of notes, proper note taking, and final disposition of notes © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  3. 3. Case Study• A homeowner noticed the laundry room on fire• Investigator searched the dryer and found only debris that was consistent with cotton• Five years later, the investigator appeared in the civil suit of an insurance company against a major appliance manufacturer• The fact that all answers during the deposition came from the notes and report were sufficient for a settlement © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  4. 4. Introduction• Every fire scene must be adequately documented to allow recall for the investigator• To test your hypothesis, you must document all the facts of the case – All the facts of the case include all notes gathered, reports written, photographs taken, and diagrams created © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  5. 5. Photographs• In the past, arguments have been made against digital photography – Digital photographs in the early days did not have clarity or details • Today, this is not the case• A major benefit of going digital is the fact that the photo can be reviewed immediately © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  6. 6. Photography for the First Responder Investigator• Upon arriving at the scene, taking photographs will be the last thing on the mind of the fire officer © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  7. 7. Photography for the First Responder Investigator (cont’d.)• Once the fire is under control and post-fire procedures have been established and before overhaul, the suppression officer can use the camera – Overall shots of the property – A photo framing each side of the structure – Photographs of each room – Series of photos showing the path of travel © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  8. 8. Photography for the Assigned Investigator• Assigned investigator should start from the beginning and take all photographs• First photo taken should depict the area where the fire occurred• Next shot should show the structure and the surrounding property• All evidence found on the exterior should be photographed © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  9. 9. Photography for the Assigned Investigator (cont’d.)• Inside the structure, the photos should be taken just as the investigator should work the scene• Any item identified as the first fuel ignited should be photographed• Any potential heat sources should be photographed• As evidence is collected, it should be photographed © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  10. 10. Specialized Photography Figure 18-1 Digital cameras can range from a simple pocket camera to SLR units with specialized lenses and flash units. © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  11. 11. Documenting with Diagrams• Diagrams are drawings of the property – Depict the property boundaries and the position of the structures on the property – Use an arrow to depict the direction north – All sketches and diagraphs, no matter how detailed, should state “Not to Scale” © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  12. 12. Sketching and Measuring• A sketch is a simple rough drawing – Starts with drawing the area, and then a sketch of the structure• Simple graph paper can help in making as accurate a depiction is possible in the field• Final diagrams need to be as accurate as possible – All walls, roads, landmarks, key points, evidence, or other data placed on the diagram should be measured © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  13. 13. The Diagrams• Sketch needs to be rendered into a diagram• Basic completed diagram needs to be attached to the final report• Several pieces of information that should be considered for placement on a diagram – Data can be placed on one diagram, or special diagrams can be created to show the data separately or in groups – One way to show multiple sets of data on one form is to create an overlay © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  14. 14. The Diagrams (cont’d.)• Pre-Fire Floor Plan – First diagram should show the layout of the rooms and spaces as they would have appeared prior to the fire• Pre-Fire Floor Plan with Known Furnishings – Furnishings whose locations prior to the fire can be verified should be placed in their proper position on a diagram © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  15. 15. The Diagrams (cont’d.)• Burn and Smoke Patterns – Diagram could also reflect the depth of the char – Should show the direction of fire travel from the area of origin• Evidence Diagram – Depending on the amount of evidence, it may be beneficial to mark it on a diagram• Photo Diagram – Final report should include a collection of photographs © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  16. 16. The Diagrams (cont’d.)• Suppression Activities – Placement of apparatus, water supply lines, location of hydrants used or not used, ladder truck placement, and attack lines should be placed on a diagram• Commercial Building Plans – A full set of plans may be available from the building official, the contractor, or architect © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  17. 17. Notes• Notes are an essential part of any investigation• If you do not write down what was said in the interview, then the interview will be of limited use• Writing the report is much easier and more efficient if written notes are used to get the information compiled © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  18. 18. Notes (cont’d.)• Notes need to be legible• Two theories on keeping and destroying notes – Some departments destroy their written notes once they have typed their report – Other departments keep their notes in the file © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning
  19. 19. Summary• Diagrams and notes are key tools to creating the final report – A variety of items can be captured with a diagram by using overlays or multiple diagrams• Photographs are also important to capturing the scene © 2009 Delmar, Cengage Learning

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