FRSC206 Fire Investigation I

Department of Business Studies: Fire Science

I. Course Number and Title
FRSC206 Fire Investigation I
II. Number of Credits
3 credits
III. Number of Instructional Minutes
IV. Prerequisites
FRSC100 (C or better) or permission of the Business Studies Department and FRSC103 (C or better) and FRSC112 (C or better) and Writing Placement Score of 6 or COMP107 (C or better).
V. Other Pertinent Information
  1. This course aligns with Fire and Emergency Services Higher Education (FESHE) associate degree curriculum requirements.
  2. Students having the appropriate prerequisites and complete both FRSC206 and FRSC216 are eligible to test for Professional Certification (ProBoard) in accordance with NFPA 1033 to the Fire Investigator Level.
  3. FRSC206 and FRSC216 may be completed through Prior Learning Assessment (PLA) if the student has ProBoard and/or IFSAC Professional Certification to the Fire Investigator Level, in accordance with NFPA 1033 or a National Fire Academy (NFA) Certificate for Fire/Cause Origin and Cause Investigations (FAOCI) course R0206.
  4. Students should either complete FRSC202 prior to this course or at the same time.
VI. Catalog Course Description
This course provides the student with the fundamentals and technical knowledge needed for proper fire scene interpretations, including recognizing and conducting origin and cause, preservation of evidence and documentation, scene security, case law and constitutional amendments, motives of the fire setter, and types of fire causes.
VII. Required Course Content and Direction
  1. Course Learning Goals

    Students will:

    1. Identify the responsibilities of a firefighter when responding to the scene of a fire, including scene security and evidence preservation;
    2. Describe the implications of constitutional amendments as they apply to fire investigations;
    3. Identify key case law decisions that have affected fire investigations;
    4. Define the common terms used in fire investigations;
    5. Explain the basic elements of fire dynamics and how they affect cause determination;
    6. Compare the types of building construction on fire progression and describe how fire progression is affected by fire protection systems and building design;
    7. Discuss the basic principles of electricity as an ignition source;
    8. Recognize potential health and safety hazards;
    9. Describe the process of conducting investigations using the scientific method;
    10. Identify cause and origin and differentiate between accidental and incendiary;
    11. Explain the procedures used for investigating vehicle fires; and
    12. Identify the characteristics of an incendiary fire and common motives if the fire setter.
  2. Planned Sequence of Topics and/or Learning Activities

    1. Emergency Responder Responsibilities and Observations
      1. Responsibilities of the Fire Department
      2. Responsibilities of the Firefighter
      3. Responsibilities of the Fire Officer
      4. Observations when approaching the Scene
      5. Observations upon arrival
      6. Observations during firefighting operations
      7. Identification of incendiary devices
    2. Constitutional Law
      1. Criminal Law
      2. Constitutional Amendments
    3. Case Studies
      1. Michigan v. Tyler
      2. Michigan v. Clifford
      3. Daubert Decision
      4. Benfield Decision
      5. Kuhmo/Carmichael Decision
    4. Fire Investigations Terminology
      1. Terms as they apply to structural fires
      2. Terms as they apply to vehicle fires
      3. Other common investigative terms
    5. Basic Elements of Fire Dynamics
      1. Ignition
      2. Heat transfer
      3. Flame spread
      4. Burning rate
      5. Fire plumes
      6. Fire analysis
    6. Building Construction
      1. Types of construction
      2. Building materials
      3. Building components
    7. Fire Protection Systems
      1. Extinguishment systems
      2. Detection systems
      3. Signaling systems
      4. Other building services
    8. Basic Principles of Electricity
      1. Basic electricity
      2. Wiring systems
      3. Common electrical systems
    9. Health and Safety
      1. Methods of identification
      2. Common causes of accidents
      3. Common causes of injuries
    10. Fire Scene Investigation
      1. Examining the fire scene
      2. Securing the fire scene
      3. Documenting the fire scene
      4. Evidence collection and preservation
      5. Exterior examination
    11. Determining Point of Origin
      1. Interior examination
      2. Area of origin
      3. Fire patterns
      4. Other indicators
      5. Scene reconstruction
      6. Point of origin
    12. Types of Fire Causes
      1. Accidental
      2. Natural
      3. Incendiary
      4. Undetermined
    13. Vehicle Fires
      1. Examination of scene
      2. Examination of exterior
      3. Examination of driver and passenger areas
      4. Examination of engine compartment
      5. Examination of fuel system
      6. Examination of electrical system
    14. Fire Setters
      1. Characteristics of arson
      2. Common motives
  3. Assessment Methods for Course Learning Goals

    Students satisfy the course learning goals via class discussions, written exams, assignments, papers, and/or performance based tasks and projects.
  4. Reference, Resource, or Learning Materials to be used by Student:

    See course syllabus.

Review/Approval Date -11/00; course number revised 3/2010; Revised 4/2012; New Core 8/2015; Revised 6/2016