Fires accidents are destructive in nature and usually, they destroy the evidence of their initiation. The importance of arson investigation has grown over the years to determine the cause of the fire and identify hazardous practices to prevent future fires.
For handling insurance cases, the investigation of cause and origin of fires plays a vital role. This is because if a fire scene is not properly investigated it can have disastrous effects on the case. Thus, hiring a fire investigator is a key decision to determine the cause and origin of a claim. To successfully defend an arson case, finding an experienced origin and cause expert is crucial. With so many incompetent fire investigators in the business, it is necessary to select an origin and cause expert who is properly qualified and capable of efficiently investigating a fire scene.
The arson investigator you hire must possess professional qualifications, experience, training and reputation in the industry. Therefore, before hiring a fire investigator, be sure to keep the following things in mind.
- Check the experience level of the fire investigator
Investigating the origin and cause of fire requires extensive experience in this field. It is crucial to check the level of experience a fire investigator has and make sure he/she meet the requirements for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator. The origin and cause expert you hire must have experience in fire investigation and not simply in fire suppression. For this, you may check the investigator’s background in fire investigation and consider the percentage of fire investigation cases. You need to find the one who was responsible for the actual origin and cause determination and not only involved in the post-scene investigative phase of the case.
In addition to this, it is important to look at the number origin and cause cases an investigator has performed in a year. An investigator who claims to have conducted hundreds of cases is not always the best one because that means either the investigator has not investigated those cases thoroughly or maybe they were only indirectly involved in those fire scenes.
- Consider the fire investigator’s training
In addition to proper qualifications required for the job, the fire investigator must be able to provide you details of all training he has received in the field of fire investigation. Over the years, with the latest developments in fire science, the investigators are required to undertake adequate training in those issues on a regular basis. Thus, before hiring any professional, check if the investigator has received training annually with a diverse number of organizations. You need to check that the investigator is updated with recent developments and has attended different programs on fire investigation presented each year by many different organizations concerned with fire science issues.
- Ask for a sample report
To avoid hiring an incompetent investigator, you may also ask them to provide a sample report for review. The purpose of doing this is to check if the report is in a proper format with adequate photographic documentation. The report must clearly show the methodology and reflect the effort it takes to do a good examination. It should be objectively written with accurate diagrams of the fire scene.
- Know their credentials
There are some professional organizations concerned with fire investigation issues. A reliable origin and cause fire expert is a member such organizations which ensure that they adhere to the industry guidelines. Check if the investigator had any active involvement in the organizations through committees, projects or leadership positions.
In addition to this, the investigator’s relationship with local fire service and law enforcement agencies is also crucial. The origin and cause investigators need to work with these groups to carry out the investigation. It is important to make sure that the investigator has no past conflicts or problems in working with local fire service and law enforcement agencies.