Fire Investigation and Research Team (FIRT)
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
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