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Fire Investigation and Research Team (FIRT)

Fire investigation

Fire is of course a destructive force but, the application of sound scientific principles and extensive experience allow FIRT officers to identify the clues and evidence that remain.

Every fire attended by the fire service is assessed for its most likely cause by the responding crew. However sometimes there is the need for a more detailed investigation or follow up.

For these incidents we have FIRT officers who have a wide range of practical experience and technical knowledge in relation to the causes, behaviour of fire and related subjects. FIRT officers regularly work with the police to identify where a fire has been set deliberately and are often called upon to provide evidence regarding the origin and cause of a fire to the Coroner, Criminal or Civil courts.


An important and growing area of work for FIRT is the use of applied research to improve our understanding of fire risks. This includes studying not only the causes of fire, and fire spread but also pioneering work on the impact of human behaviour in relation to accidental dwelling fires.

Real incidents offer an invaluable opportunity to learn about fire causes using evidence from the scene and witness accounts. Large or tragic fires typically attract the headlines, but we place equal value on learning from the smaller incidents. We consider what prevented a more serious fire, and learn what can be done to reduce injuries or limit fire spread.

Research outcomes can include internal recommendations, publicity campaigns and working with trade associations or with other specialists and academics able to further develop our initial research.

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