FIRE 2420 - Fire Investigation
Credit Hours: 3.00
(formerly FIRE 1180)
Fundamentals of fire investigation; chemistry of fire and fire behavior; determining point of origin and ignition sources; properties of combustibles and residues of pyrolysis; recognition of arson evidence.
Billable Contact Hours: 3
When Offered: Fall semester only
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OUTCOMES AND OBJECTIVES
Outcome 1: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to apply terminology used by fire investigators.
- Define fire investigation terms with 90% accuracy.
- Use fire investigation terms in classroom discussions to the satisfaction of the instructor.
Outcome 2: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to outline the basic method used to investigate a fire.
- Identify the scientific method of investigation.
- Identify the six major steps of a fire investigation.
Outcome 3: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to explain fire behavior.
- Define the four components of a fire tetrahedron.
- Define the three methods of heat transfer.
- Define ignition.
- Define fuel load.
- Identify fire development.
- List the products of combustion.
- Identify fire pattern development.
Outcome 4: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to examine fire patterns.
- Define fire patterns.
- Identify movement patterns.
- Define wood char.
- Identify spalling.
- Define oxidation.
- Identify the melting of materials.
- Identify thermal expansion and deformation of materials.
- Define smoke and soot.
- Identify clean burn areas.
- Identify calcination.
- Identify the role of glass in a fire investigation.
- Identify the location of patterns.
- Identify pattern geometry.
Outcome 5: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to outline legal considerations relating to fire investigations.
- Define arson according to Michigan law.
- List and define the Michigan Arson Statutes
- List relevant factors to be considered prior to an arson investigation.
- Identify civil litigation, negligence, and product liability.
- Define expert testimony.
- Distinguish between administrative and criminal search warrants.
Outcome 6: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to outline basic considerations of concern to the investigator prior to the beginning of the incident scene investigation.
- Identify basic incident information.
- List the basic functions that are commonly performed in each investigation.
Outcome 7: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to outline sources of information.
- Identify the Freedom of Information Act.
- Describe the purpose of an interview.
- Identify governmental sources of information.
Outcome 8: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to demonstrate the recording of a scene.
- Identify photographic preservation documentation of the fire scene.
- Identify photography techniques used during a fire investigation.
- Demonstrate notetaking techniques
- Create a fire investigation drawing according to nationally recognized standards.
Outcome 9: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to examine and test physical evidence.
- Define physical evidence.
- Identify when to collect physical evidence.
- Define comparison or control samples.
- Preserve physical evidence.
- Identify methods of collection.
- Identify evidence containers.
- Identify physical evidence.
- Identify the chain of custody of physical evidence.
- Identify examination and testing of physical evidence.
Outcome 10: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to outline safety requirements for fire investigators.
- Identify the safety factor that should require at least two investigators at a fire scene.
- List the personal protective equipment needed at a fire scene.
- Identify fire scene hazards.
- Identify structural stability.
- Identify status of all utilities
- Identify the safety of the fire scene atmosphere.
Outcome 11: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to assess the fire origin.
- Define fire origin.
- Identify fire damage assessment by notes, photography, vector, diagrams, and depth‐of‐char grid diagrams.
- Demonstrate a preliminary scene assessment.
- Demonstrate a preliminary scenario development.
- Demonstrate a detailed exterior surface examination.
- Demonstrate a detailed interior surface examination.
- Identify pre‐fire conditions.
- Demonstrate fire scene reconstruction.
- Identify fire‐spread scenario.
- Define a total burn.
Outcome 12: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to assess the fire cause.
- Define cause determination.
- Identify an accidental fire cause.
- Identify a natural fire cause.
- Identify an incendiary fire cause.
- Identify an undetermined fire cause.
- Identify the source and form of heat ignition.
- Identify first material ignited.
- Identify ignition factor (cause).
Outcome 13: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to classify explosions.
- Identify the types of explosions.
- Define BLEVEs.
- Identify the orders of explosions.
- Identify the effects of explosions.
- Identify factors controlling explosion effects.
- Identify seated, nonseated, gas/vapor, dust, and smoke explosions.
- Define explosives.
- Investigate the explosive scene.
Outcome 14: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to determine the motivation of a fire setter.
- Describe the fire scene conditions or situations.
- Assist in the identification of the plausible motive for a given fire.
- List the common arson motives.
Outcome 15: Upon completion of this course, students will be able to determine the cause of death based on information about the victim.
- Identify the type of information needed.
- Assess the fire victim’s condition.
- Collect evidence associated with fire victim.
- Consult with medical personnel.
- Follow best practices for gathering information.
- Document evidence.
COMMON DEGREE OUTCOMES (CDO)
• Communication: The graduate can communicate effectively for the intended purpose and audience.
• Critical Thinking: The graduate can make informed decisions after analyzing information or evidence related to the issue.
• Global Literacy: The graduate can analyze human behavior or experiences through cultural, social, political, or economic perspectives.
• Information Literacy: The graduate can responsibly use information gathered from a variety of formats in order to complete a task.
• Quantitative Reasoning: The graduate can apply quantitative methods or evidence to solve problems or make judgments.
• Scientific Literacy: The graduate can produce or interpret scientific information presented in a variety of formats.
CDO marked YES apply to this course:
Critical Thinking: YES
Global Literacy: YES
Information Literacy: YES
Quantitative Reasoning: YES
Scientific Literacy: YES
COURSE CONTENT OUTLINE
I. Emergency Responder Responsibilities and Observations
- Responsibilities of the Fire Department
- Responsibilities of the Firefighter
- Responsibilities of the Fire Officer
- Observations When Approaching the Scene
- Observations Upon Arrival
- Observations During Firefighting Operations
- Identification of Incendiary Devices
- Criminal Law
- Constitutional Amendments
- Case studies
- Michigan v. Tyler
- Michigan v.Clifford
- Daubert Decision
- Benfield Decision
- Kuhmo/Carmichael Decision
III.Fire Investigations Terminology
- Terms as They Apply to Structural Fires
- Terms as They Apply to Vehicle Fires
- Other Common Investigative Terms
IV. Basic Elements of Fire Dynamics
- Heat Transfer
- Flame Spread
- Burning Rate
- Fire Plumes
- Fire Analysis
V. Building Construction
- Types of Construction
- Building Materials
- Building Components
VII.Fire Protection Systems
- Extinguishment Systems
- Detection Systems
- Signaling Systems
- Other Building Services
VIII.Basic Principles of Electricity
- Basic Electricity
- Wiring Systems
- Common Electrical Systems
IX.Health and Safety
- Methods of Identification
- Common Causes of Accidents
- Common Causes of Injuries
X. Fire Scene Investigations
- Examining the Fire Scene
- Securing the Fire Scene
- Documenting the Fire Scene
- Evidence Collection and Preservation
- Exterior Examination
XI. Determining Point of Origin
- Interior Examination
- Area of Origin
- Fire Patterns
- Other Indicators
- Scene Reconstruction
- Point of Origin
XII.Types of Fire Causes
- Examination of Scene
- Examination of Exterior
- Examination of Driver and Passenger Areas
- Examination of Fuel System
- Examination of Electrical System
- Characteristics of Arson
- Common Motives
Official Course Syllabus - Macomb Community College, 14500 E 12 Mile Road, Warren, MI 48088
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