NFPA 921 advises the use of a systematic approach to fire investigation that is best embodied by the scientific method. The scientific method includes the steps of collecting data, analyzing that data, developing a hypothesis, and then testing that hypothesis. The final step of this process, testing the hypothesis, can be done either physically or analytically. In some cases, a physical test may be conducted to confirm or falsify some aspect of the hypothesis. However, in many cases creating a physical test may be difficult or even practically impossible. It is these cases, and others, where analytic testing using computer simulations may be helpful to the fire investigator.
This is the first blog in a series on integrating new technologies into the process of forensic investigations. Documenting the scene of an incident accurately, efficiently, and safely is a key step in every investigation. Busy roadways and unstable structures present hazards to the investigator during the investigation process. The use of remote sensors can reduce these risks and provide data that otherwise could not safely be obtained.
Many people just take for granted that something is just going to work, and in many cases assume that it will work forever. One such device that does not get enough attention is the Ground Fault Circuit Interrupter (GFCI). Simply put, a GFCI is a protective device that compares the current flowing on the hot and neutral wires of the circuit and will "trip" to disconnect power to the circuit if a small imbalance of current is detected. The imbalance of current is an indication of a dangerous alternate path for the current to flow from a damaged line cord or a fault inside an appliance and constitutes a shock hazard to a person.
Case Synopsis - A family wanted to add a self-contained heater for their home living room for use upon the loss of in-home AC (Alternating Current) power. They went to a nearby Home & Building Supply store to select and purchase a heater. The store salesman recommended a kerosene heater, which could provide independent heat upon a loss of power. The salesman recommended a kerosene heater rated at 23,000 BTU/Hour, and as a feature of the heater sale, he assembled the heater and provided brief operating instructions on its use.
When I was a boy, playing in the sandbox or building with blocks, I dreamed of building cities. I feel fortunate to be in a profession which allows me to fulfill that dream. To enjoy your job is a more important measure of success than the amount of money in your bank account. My favorite definition of success is borrowed from Ann Landers:
Too frequently an attorney will begin to seek a potential expert witness only after having done considerable initial work. Often there is a last minute rush to locate and select specialized technical assistance. These approaches can have expensive consequences. Alternatively, securing a suitable expert early in the litigation process offers the following advantages for the retaining attorney:
Many negative consequences can result from failures of a range of different products that often lead to property & casualty insurance disputes or product liability legal actions. The products may include consumer or industrial goods. Typically the private user or worker is injured or a business incurs significant financial loss. The injured individual, insurance carrier, attorney(s) or industrial manufacturer and user are all interested to confirm what went wrong – and who is liable. Resolution often depends on engineering analysis.
Hand washing with soap is a practice that has long been recognized as a major barrier to the spread of disease in food production, preparation, and service and in health care settings, including hospitals, child care centers, and elder care facilities. Many of these settings present multiple opportunities for spread of pathogens within at-risk populations, and extra vigilance must be applied. Unfortunately, hand hygiene is not always carried out effectively, and both enteric and respiratory diseases are easily spread in these environments. Where water is limited or frequent hand hygiene is required on a daily basis, such as for many patients in hospitals and astronauts in space travel, instant sanitizers or sanitary wipes are thought to be an effective way of preventing contamination and spread of organisms among coworkers and others. Most concerns regarding compliance are associated with the health care field, but the food industry also must be considered.