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FIRE 2905

This is an archive of the Common Course Outlines prior to fall 2011. The current Common Course Outlines can be found at   
Credit Hours   3   
Course Title   Fire Causes Investigations   
Prerequisite(s)   None   
Corequisite(s)   None Specified   
Catalog Description   
This course reviews cause and origin, determination techniques, evidence gathering, methods, record and report requirements as well as the legal aspects of fire investigation. Technology used in cause and origin investigation is also studied.

Expected Educational Results   
At the end of the course, the student will demonstrate the ability to
1. Describe the basic laws of search and seizure of fire scenes.
2. Explain basic issues of fire spread.
3. Identify heat sources and what is required to start fires.
4. Explain how the three states of matter affect the start and spread of fires.
5. Identify and explain burn patterns on the materials.
6. Identify burn pattern indicators based on development of the flame plume.
7. Compare and contrast flashover and backdraft in a compartment fire.
8. Properly investigate an explosion scene

General Education Outcomes   
I. This course addresses the general education outcome relating to communication through listening, reading, writing and speaking.

1. Students develop their reading comprehension skills by reading the text and handout materials. Students are required to collect and summarize articles on instructional techniques from current periodical sources.
2. Students develop their listening skills through lecture and small group problem solving. Lecture material is presented that is not included in the text or handout material and is included as part of the exams or tests.
3. Students develop their reading and writing skills through the use of problems and activities developed specifically to enhance their understanding of certain instruction principles. Students provide written or oral solutions to these problems in both individual and group format. They must also deal with short-answer type questions on course exams.

II. This course addresses the general education outcomes of mathematical concept usage and applies the scientific method as follows:

1. Students must apply mathematical concepts in the solution of problems designed to illustrate figuring square footage, travel distance and temperature conversions while teaching. Analysis of graphically presented material also test their mathematical skills as well as their ability to interpret and communicate quantitative data.
2. Students apply the scientific method in the set-up and solution of problems designed to illustrate the procedure for administering emergency care when confronted with a variety of symptoms in a simulated setting

III. This course addresses the general education outcome relating to identifying and evaluating patient assessment techniques.
Course Content   
1. Introduction to Fire Investigation. .5
A. Requirements for investigator
B. Think like law enforcement officer
C. Knowledge of fire
D. Code of ethics/ethical behavior
E. Equipment
2. Fire Behavior and the Development of Burn Patterns 2
F. Chemistry of combustion
G. Nature and behavior of fire
H. Methods of heat transfer
I. Phases of fire
J. Flashover
K. Backdraft
L. Combustion properties of liquids and gaseous fuels
M. Combustion properties of solid fuels
3. Ignition Sources 1
N. Primary ignition sources
O. Appliances
P. Sparks
Q. Smoking
R. Chemical heat sources
S. Mechanical heat sources
4. Structure Fire Investigation 2
T. Organized approach
U. Outside to inside
V. Least damaged area to area of greatest destruction
W. Smoke and heat damage to fire damage
X. Char depth measurements
Y. Burn pattern analysis
5. Wildland Fire Investigation 1
Z. Location of fire
AA. Weather
BB. Topography
CC. Vegetation type
DD. Burn pattern indicators
EE. Area of origin
FF. Cause
6. Vehicle Fire Investigation .5
GG. Issues related to fire
HH. Location of fire
II. Accidental vs incendiary indicators
JJ. Cause determination
7. Electrical causes of fire 1
KK. Basic electricity
LL. Wiring systems
MM. Ignition
NN. Investigation
8. Clothing and Fabric fires .5
OO. Types of cloth
PP. Fire hazards
QQ. Ignition issues
9. Explosions 1.5
RR. Deflagrating explosions
SS. Detonating explosions
TT. Blast pressure
UU. Incendiary thermal effect
VV. Explosive materials
WW. Explosive devices
10. Evidence and Laboratory Services 1.5
XX. Evidence recognition and collection
YY. Laboratory services
ZZ. Identification of volatile accelerants
AAA. Non-fire related criminal evidence
11. Fatal Fires 1.5
BBB. Cause of fire
CCC. Cause of death
DDD. Roles of investigators
EEE. Scene examination
FFF. Post mortem examination
12. Arson Fire Indicators 1
GGG. Motives
HHH. Burn pattern indicators
III. Incendiary Devices
JJJ. Chemical
KKK. Mechanical
LLL. Electrical
MMM. Use of ignitable liquids
NNN. Evidence
13. Legal Aspects of Fire Investigation .5
OOO. Fourth Amendment to Constitution
PPP. Theory of search and seizure
QQQ. Michigan vs Tyler
RRR. Michigan vs Clifford
SSS. Other court cases
14. Arson Law .5
TTT. Penal Code Definitions - PC 450
UUU. Arson - PC 451
VVV. Reckless Burning - PC 452
WWW. Fire Bombs - PC 453
XXX. Attempted Arson - PC 455
15. Fire Scene Documentation .5
YYY. Legal issues of fire reports
ZZZ. Written narrative
AAAA. Photographs
BBBB. Sketches
16. Courtroom Testimony .5
CCCC. Expert witness
Kirk's Fire Investigation, 4th Edition, John D. DeHaan, Prentice Hall, 1997, ISBN 0-8359-5056-5
1. Building Construction for the Fire Service, Third Edition, Brannigan, National Fire Protection Association, ISBN 0-87765-381-x
2. Principles of Fire Behavior, James G. Quintiere, Delmar Publishers, ISBN 0-8273-7732-0
3. Fire Protection Handbook, Latest Edition, National Fire Protection Association, ISBN 0-87765-377-1
Assessment of Outcome Objectives   
The course grade will be determined by the individual instructor (under the guidelines of the division) using a variety of methods such as quizzes, homework, group projects and exams. Graded activities are designed to measure students' abilities to use higher order thinking skills in their understanding and applying of Life Safety and Inspection concepts. A comprehensive final exam is required. This exam must count for no more than 25% of the course grade.


FIRE 2905 will be assessed every 5 years in the fall. The committee will develop a time-line to monitor the assessment process during the five-year cycle to ensure that assessment activities are occurring in order to have sufficient data to undertake a formal assessment at the end of the cycle. Assessment will consist of:

a. An attitudinal survey addressing students' career and professional goals and perceptions of the quality and usefulness of the course.
b. A set of objective test items keyed to expect learning outcomes. These items will be balanced with respect to content and level of cognitive demand.
c. A pilot administration for the objective assessment instrument. The results of the pilot assessment will be used to determine how well the test items are functioning in terms of discrimination, difficulty, and test reliability. The information obtained from item analysis will be used to eliminate or rewrite test items not functioning properly.
d. The revised assessment instrument will be administered during the assessment cycle at a time established by the committee.
The FIRE 2905 Assessment Committee will analyze the results of both the pilot testing and the formal assessment data as well as the attitudinal survey. The committee will use assessment results to determine the effectiveness of the course by seeking answers to the following questions:

a. Are students performing at a pre-determined minimal level of performance on:
1. The course as a whole
2. On individual learning outcomes
b. Which learning outcomes are students' performance acceptable or above average?
c. Which learning outcomes are students' performance below minimal level?
d. What factors are contributing to student performance on those learning outcomes below minimal level of performance?
e. What changes or modifications in course content or instructional strategies are needed to help improve student performance on learning outcomes below minimal level of performance?
Last Revised: Aug. 08, 2011
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