FIR 4311 CSU Fire Prevention Code Enforcement Fire Safety & Protection Essay: Science Answers 2021

FIR 4311 CSU Fire Prevention Code Enforcement Fire Safety & Protection Essay: Science Answers 2021

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FIR 4311 CSU Fire Prevention Code Enforcement Fire Safety & Protection Essay

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Fire Prevention Investigation
Course Learning Outcomes for Unit VII
Upon completion of this unit, students should be able to:
5. Discuss a comprehensive overview of the general fire safety provisions for occupied buildings.
5.1 Explain Model Fire Marshal Law and its connection to fire investigation.
6. Explain the rationale for general fire safety provisions as methods of fire protection.
6.1 Explain an arson investigation.
6.2 Explain the professional certification and training requirements for fire investigators.
9. Discuss the operational procedures for the construction of fire suppression systems.
9.1 Discuss fire suppression systems? importance to arson.
Learning Outcomes
5.1, 6.2
6.1, 9.1
Learning Activity
Unit Lesson
Chapter 10
Unit VII Essay
Unit Lesson
Chapter 11
Unit VII Essay
Required Unit Resources
Chapter 10: Fire Prevention Responsibilities of the Public Sector
Chapter 11: Fire Prevention Through Arson Suppression
Unit Lesson
As this course has progressively discussed the fire prevention division and what it does to reduce the risk of
fire in our communities through public education, inspections, code enforcement, and plans review, this unit
will now focus on what happens after a fire. Fire prevention responsibilities are all geared toward what fire
marshals and inspectors do before the event. The reality is that people make mistakes and accidents happen
that start conflagrations; sometimes these tragic events are even started intentionally and require a thorough
investigation as to how the fire started and who or what is responsible. In simple terms, we want to find out
who, what, where, when, and why.
Depending on the nature and size of the incident, the cause and origin of the fire may be investigated and
determined by trained and qualified company officers on the scene. Where there is a death, suspected arson,
suspicion of wrongdoing, or a large event outside of the scope and capabilities of the officers on the scene, a
fire marshal or fire investigator may be needed to conduct the investigation in a systematic way to determine
the case and if there are criminal implications.
Depending on the jurisdiction and organization, the way in which one investigates fires can vary. In most
organizations, the fire investigations are conducted by trained and certified members of the fire prevention
division and can be done by a specific investigator or be a duty of the fire marshal or fire inspector. Some
organizations also use paid on-call consultants to either conduct or assist in their fire investigations or use the
FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
state fire marshal?s office for assistance. One unique way is to utilize partnerships
region to
In California?s Central Valley, many of the fire departments in the area, metro and rural, participate in a
regional Fire Investigator Strike Team (FIST) concept. With this concept, each department in the area
donates a certain amount to the team annually. Each member of the FIST maintains a list of available
investigators that are on call and available for use if an agency has a need for a fire investigator. If needed,
the agency with the incident will notify the communications center and they send a FIST activation request.
The first person or agency to respond is assigned and responds to the incident to help the requesting agency.
The crime of arson is a national problem in the United States. Here are some statistics from the Federal
Bureau of Investigation (FBI) from 2010.
15,475 law enforcement agencies provided 1-12 months of arson data and reported 56,825 arsons.
Of the participating agencies, 14,747 provided expanded offense data regarding 48,619 arsons.
Arsons involving structures (e.g., residential, storage, public, etc.) accounted for 45.5% of the total
number of arson offenses. Mobile property was involved in 26.0% of arsons, and other types of
property (such as crops, timber, fences, etc.) accounted for 28.5% of reported arsons.
The average dollar loss due to arson was $17,612.
Arsons of industrial/manufacturing structures resulted in the highest average dollar losses (an
average of $133,717 per arson).
Arson offenses decreased 7.6% in 2010 when compared with arson data reported in 2009.
Nationwide, there were 19.6 arson offenses for every 100,000 inhabitants.
In addition to the statistics, arson has other social and economic effects that dramatically impact the
communities you serve that do not show on the data sheets. While there is already significant fire loss in the
data that is reported, some other factors that affect our communities range from insurance rates increasing,
work stoppage of the affected business possibly reducing employment in the area and income for the city.
The loss of inventory for a business can affect its ability to recover, and there may often be disability and
medical costs from injury or death resulting from the incident.
Professional Standards
The National Fire Protection Association sets professional standards for fire investigators as well as peace
officer standards curriculum, such as PC 832, respectively. There are various agencies that are nationally
accredited through IFSAC and Pro Board to deliver training that meets or exceeds these professional
qualification standards. State certification boards are accredited by the National Board of Fire Service
Professional Qualifications (NBFSPQ) (Pro Board, 2019). It also accredits any certifying NFPA standard
agencies (Pro Board, 2019). The International Fire Service Accreditation Congress also accredits state
programs. Certification at each level is earned when individuals successfully complete certain job
performance objectives.
Typically, fire investigator certification is determined by the jurisdiction and level of involvement. For example,
certification for California State Fire Marshal Fire Investigator 1A is 40 hours and provides information on
securing the fire scene and determining the origin and cause of the fire. The class may include the
responsibilities of a fire investigators, how to secure the fireground for investigations, conducting inner and
outer surveys, conducting interior inspections, determining fire patterns, examining fire debris, reconstructing
the area of origin and more.
Fire Investigator 1B is 33 hours and provides information for gathering on-scene documentation and evidence
collection/preservation. Topics include photographing the scene, diagramming the scene, constructing
investigative notes, processing evidence, establishing chain of custody, processing victims and fatalities,
selecting evidence for analysis, maintaining a chain of custody, preparing a fire investigation report, and
disposing of evidence. Fire Investigator 1C is 40 hours and provides information on legal considerations for a
court proceeding. Topics include coordinating expert resources, formulating an opinion, presenting
FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
investigative findings, and testifying during legal proceedings (CSFM, 2019). The
of NFPA 1033
Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator is the basis for these
These standards of professional qualifications are generally tied to job performance requirements that have
been identified as those needed to be proficient in to meet a national minimal standard. Many states have
state training programs, a state fire marshal?s office, certification tracks that prepare people to conduct fire
investigation competencies such as investigation, evidence collection, and legal proceedings, etc. After
employees go through the training, some states offer certification or credentials that verify the individual?s
knowledge, skills, and abilities to perform that function. Depending on the position, there may be multiple
certification tracks or certifications that someone may need to achieve to be competent as a fire investigator.
For example, the certification track for an aspiring fire Investigator may include IFSAC or Pro Board
certification in various fire investigation training, as well as peace officer investigations training. Of course,
each state may vary their requirements but this is an example of the multiple certifications that would be
needed to be minimally certified to be a fire investigator. Additionally, many states have task books that must
be completed that document real-world experience and time performing the duties before being qualified to
perform the job function.
Typical Certification for Fire Investigator (CA)
Legal Framework
Since fire investigations can result in possible criminal
implications, fire investigators must understand the applicable
laws in guiding fire investigations, and the protections afforded to
citizens. Investigators must abide by certain legal criteria when
conducting investigations that must include process and
procedures from the initiation of the investigation to court
proceedings. The Bill of Rights must be adhered to at all times,
and one that specifically come up in fire investigation is
Amendment IV to the U.S. Constitution. This amendment protects
the right of citizens to be secure in their persons, houses, papers,
and effects against unreasonable search and seizure, and that
warrants may only be issued if there is a probable cause. Having
said that, fire investigators can legally conduct a search during
the cause and origin investigation. The U.S. Supreme Court in
1976 established minimum constitutional requirements in Michigan v. Tyler (1978) that requires a warrant
after a reasonable time for investigation. Some of the gray areas that can exist, but are available for the fire
investigator in the field in regard to post fire searches that do not require a warrant include the following:
situations where emergency conditions still exist (does not have to be the active firefight; it can also
include times when a fire investigator and engine company remain on the scene in case of rekindle
and significant overhaul);
abandonment; or
consent by the owner/occupant.
Remember that you still have to be able to prove the emergency conditions still exist. If there is no longer an
emergency then there must be another probable cause. In one example, a fire investigator was on the scene
to determine the cause and origin of the fire and identified that there may be suspicious factors involved. The
fire investigator left the scene, leaving an engine company behind for overhaul. After multiple hours went by,
the investigator went back to collect evidence. When the case went to court, it was determined that that
evidence was not admissible because there was not probable cause. An emergency condition did not exist
that long after the fire to warrant the search. If an organization is looking to take the lead on conducting fire
investigations, it is critical that those investigators have the proper training in the laws applicable to them
during the investigative process.
The Investigation
Depending on the state or jurisdiction, it is the responsibility of law enforcement or the fire department, or a
combination of the two for fire investigations. According to Love and Robertson (2015), many jurisdictions
FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
give this responsibility almost solely to the fire department but in any case, fireUNIT
x STUDYresponsibilities
are generally carried out in one of three ways.
Full investigative authority is solely on the fire department. In this case the entire process, including
cause and origin determination, investigation, and arrest powers are conducted by fire investigators.
Full investigative authority is solely on law enforcement. In this case, the entire process including
cause and origin determination, investigation, and arrest powers are conducted by police
The responsibility is split, with fire service personnel being responsible for cause determination,
followed by police investigation responsible for arrest. In some communities, a team concept is
employed. In others, fire service personnel merely notify the police when arson is suspected.
The fire investigation process is a systematic and scientific process that is intended to conduct seven key
activities to determine the cause of a fire, reduce the frequency of future fires, and bring people who
intentionally set fires to justice. NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations provide the framework
for fire investigations. Since this is not a fire investigations class, this unit will not get into great detail on fire
investigation, but provide you a basic understanding of the process.
FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
Fire Origin and Cause Reporting
In the case of fire investigations, reporting becomes one of the most crucial elements if called to court,
pursuing criminal convictions of arsonists, or seeking cost recovery. The ability to conduct investigations in a
systematic and scientific way that is documented in detail to successfully recovery funds or convict accused
arsonists. The anatomy of a solid report will include the following components:
Provide a brief overview of what the investigation established including:
o Property description
o Damage
o Injuries
o Cause
o Status, i.e., suspect(s) at large, investigation ongoing, etc.
FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
Initial observations/actions
o Activity or conditions perceived at time of arrival
o Actions taken in response to above
o Document efforts to secure fire scene integrity
Summary of statements
o Get statement from occupants or any other people involved in the incident (owners and
occupants), and witnesses as well (firefighters, police department, reporting party[s]), suspects,
other. Some of the greatest information will be provided by the first in company.
o Ensure you document statements and detail information that includes:
Sequence of events
Establishes description/identity, locations, and modus operandi of suspects and/or suspect vehicles
o Must include, but not limited to:
Time of occurrence
Condition/location of any affected/involved persons/property, prior to and after the event
Description of pertinent actions/statements of suspects or other people
Any other pertinent information obtained through statements
Multiple statements must be clearly described and identified one at a time.
Scene Examination
o General description of entire victim property. It is important to note anything out of the ordinary.
Some common findings may include abnormal barriers that prevent or delay fire attack, empty
flammable liquids containers, no furniture in the property of an otherwise occupied structure, etc.
o General construction description of damaged property, note any modifications to traditional
construction methods and materials. As discussed in previous units, certain types of construction
use fire rated materials as fire stops to limit combustions and the spread of fire. In suspicious fire
or during fire investigations you may come upon a situation that fire-resistant materials have been
removed, damaged, or replaced with non-fire rated materials to aid in the spread of fire. Some
examples may include interior fire stops missing, held open fire doors, poke through in fire rated
separations, the wrong materials being used, piled construction materials, and other changes that
are not normal to the construction found.
o Chronological narrative of scene processing
o Detailed, systematic, description of area of origin including:
The pattern of fire damage. Note the areas of significant damage to least damage to most damage to
identify a flow path. The pattern as described above will also help determine the possible cause and
Presence or absence of natural sources
Presence or absence of accidental sources
Presence or absence of incendiary evidence
Remove fire debris and reconstruct the room of origin
Identify areas of significant char depth. Char depth can vary based on how fire reacts to various
construction materials. Specifically, in the case of char depth, we are refereeing to the amount of
wood in depth and amount of pyrolysis that has occurred under fire.
In flooring or sub flooring, just the presence of char can indicate the presence of flammable liquids
used and charring of s significant depth with not accelerant may indicate that the fire burnt for some
time before being reported.
o Confirm fire suppression system conditions and operation
o Detailed description of the scene layout and examination such as orientation of the structure such
as points of entry/exit, location evidence was found, etc.
Explanation/reconstruction of the event based on:
Scene corroborated information obtained in statements
Investigator?s examination
Ignition source
Material first ignited
Event that brought the two together
Cause of the fire
FIR 4311, Fire Prevention and Code Enforcement
Undetermined (when two of the three causes cannot be ruled out as aUNIT
Summary/status of other action taken toward disposition of case
Processing and preservation of evidence
Results of area canvas
Status of suspects/victims
Notification of other parties
Disposition of property
Related cases (including the law enforcement agency having jurisdiction case number)
Follow-up is required
Scene examination can be straightforward or very complex. Investigators must be vigilant and aware of
anything out of place. In one example, a city was having problems with several strip mall grocery store fires
that were each under investigation for possible arson. At the third fire, a fire investigator was surveying the fire
damage and patterns on the inside of the store. There was significant fire damage on one side of the store, but
the firefighters saved the contents from the other half with little to no smoke or fire damage of the contents. As
the fire investigator was surveying the unburned side, they noticed that on one aisle, cans of food had char/burn
marks on them. What was odd was that this aisle had no fire damage from the fire. Upon further investigation,
it was found that the owners were torching their business and taking all of the ready-to-use food items and
contents to fill the next store before they burned it. These cans and other goods were from the previously
burned store. Stay aware, and be sure in consecutive fires that are suspicious and similar in nature that you
compare findings and research from other enforcement agencies.
While this course is focused on inspection and code enforcement, fire investigations play a critical role in the
protection of responders and the community you serve. Many times, the results of fire investigations start new
public safety initiatives, change inspection process and frequency and influence recommendations for
changes in the next code cycle. Fire investigation also protects the department and the community from
financial hardship and increases the safety of occupants and firefighters on the fireground. Fire investigators
must have a comprehensive knowledge of the local fire code to potentially identify violations, seek cost
recovery, and conduct competent fire investigative processes.
Babrauskas, V. (2004). Wood char depth: Interpretation in fire investigations. International Symposium on Fire
Investigation [Symposium]. Fire Service College, Moreton-on-Marsh, United Kingdom.
California State Fire Ma?

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