Agencies Involved in Fire Prevention and Investigation

Agencies Involved in Fire Prevention and Investigation

Fire and Rescue Services

  • Fire and rescue services have a key role to play in investigating the cause of a fire and collecting and preserving evidence.
  • In the UK, local fire brigades are responsible for attending fire incidents, and many have specially trained Fire Investigation Officers.
  • They work closely with other agencies such as the police and insurance investigators to determine the cause of a fire.

Police and Crime Scene Investigators (CSI)

  • Police forces become involved in fire investigations particularly when there is suspicion of arson or when a fire results in harm or loss of life.
  • Crime Scene Investigators may be called in to assist in collecting and preserving evidence, and enhancing the understanding of the fire’s origin and cause.
  • The police may use forensic specialists including chemists, engineers and pathologists to examine evidence and provide expert opinions.

Health and Safety Executive (HSE)

  • The Health and Safety Executive is a UK government agency responsible for enforcing health and safety at work.
  • If a fire occurs in a workplace, the HSE may undertake an investigation, particularly if the fire is thought to have resulted from a breach of health and safety regulations.

Local Authority Building Control

  • Local Authority Building Control departments are responsible for enforcing building regulations.
  • They may become involved in fire investigations if there are concerns that fire spread because of a breach of building regulations, e.g., inadequate fire doors or lack of fire-stopping measures.

Insurance Companies

  • Insurance companies conduct their own investigations through loss adjusters and investigators.
  • Their primary interest is in determining whether a policyholder’s claim is valid.

Arson Task Forces

  • An Arson Task Force is usually a multi-agency team, often made up of representatives from fire and rescue services, the police, insurance companies, and other interested organisations.
  • The purpose of these teams is to reduce the incidence of arson, generally through a combination of prevention, detection, and suppression activities.

Understanding the roles of these agencies is crucial in comprehending the collaborative nature of fire prevention and investigation. It allows students to appreciate how multidisciplinary teamwork contributes to uncovering the causes of fires and producing effective strategies to prevent future incidents.