Education / Resources


Fire and Explosion Investigation Leeds University

This course has been extensively revamped and now aims to provide a large part of the scientific knowledge and understanding needed in Fire Investigation within the framework of the new relevant legislation. The course will be delivered by a large team of practitioners and academics, all experts in their particular fields of contribution. Example calculations and scientific analyses and over 100 case-studies will be used by the speakers to demonstrate clearly the application and significance of science principles in fire investigation. The course is part of the Masters programme in Fire and Explosion Engineering here at Leeds. The syllabus of the course covers the breadth and far exceeds the depth of the subjects required for the IFE membership Examination Paper: Fire Investigation.

Gardiner Associates Fire Investigation Training North Essex

Gardiner Associates is the UK’s major provider of inter-agency fire investigation training to police and fire authorities. The company ethos is that training should be delivered by people who possess and practice intrinsic skills in the subject areas that they teach. To that end, from its launch in 1996, Gardiner Associates has assembled a multi-disciplined team of practitioners. These professionals, who are amongst the most highly experienced and skilled in their disciplines, bring to the classroom and the training ground a wealth of practical insight and technique. The team continues to provide a range of ‘best value’ training options. Representatives of the majority of British fire and police authorities and forensic science laboratories have already attended our training programmes and in the past the Forensic Science Service has used our practical training facilities to assess and accredit its own scientists.

Taught Postgraduate Degree Courses – MSc Fire and Explosion Engineering

Fire and Explosion Engineering Postgraduate Programme


In just a brief duration of time – in a few minutes or even in a fraction of a second –a fire or an explosion can have catastrophic consequences in residential buildings or in industrial plant.Some single incidents cost millions of pounds, such as the Windsor Castle fire. The Sandoz industrial fire devastated 500 miles of the Rhine River. Explosion initiated fires can cause severe devastation: in the Piper Alpha disaster in the North Sea, 167 lives were lost and the financial loss exceeded a billion pounds sterling, and the explosion of a gas facility in San Juan Ixuatepec, Mexico killed 262. Loss of life in fires is commonplace and can be in large numbers, as in the Bradford football stadium fire and the Kings Cross fire.

In addition to this programme, we also offer an MTP in Sustainable Energy Engineering.

The total monetary cost of fire and explosions (of losses and safety provision) in the UK is estimated at £5 billion per year or approximately 1% of GDP.

At present, professionals in fire protection engineering come from a variety of undergraduate degree backgrounds, including civil, chemical, mechanical and electrical engineering. Most gain their relevant fire and/or explosion expertise ‘on-the-job’ and by attending Continuing Professional Development short courses.

A complex and fast changing legislative framework and a move towards performance based standards, necessitate a fundamentally based scientific / engineering approach to fire and explosion protection design, of multi-disciplinary and inter-disciplinary nature. There is therefore a strong national and international need for high level training in this area.

Fire Science and Fire Investigation Course Edinburgh

Course description

The Fire Science and Fire Investigation Course is a 3½ day residential course, hosted by The University of Edinburgh’s Fire Safety Engineering Group.

The course is presented by speakers who are all well-known and highly respected experts in their field, and covers a wide range of topics, including ignition sources, investigation at the fire scene, explosions, wilful fire raising and more, through a combination of lectures and case studies.

A fire investigation may be required for any one of a number of reasons, ranging from a desire to understand the processes and prevent recurrence, to a need to establish liability or detect criminal acts. This popular and highly respected course, now in its 23rd year, assumes a basic knowledge of the subject and builds on either scientific training or experience from other courses.

The main objective of the course is to show how scientific principles can be used by the fire investigator to interpret a fire scene and determine inter alia how a fire started and how it spread. To this end, the course begins with lectures on fire science and compartment fire dynamics which provide the basis for understanding fire behaviour. Case Studies are presented to illustrate how the principles are applied and delegates have the opportunity to examine items recovered from scenes of fire which have evidential value.

Forensic Science & Chemistry Anglia Ruskin University Cambridge

Forensic Science is the study and application of scientific disciplines and techniques that may be used to produce evidence acceptable in a court of law. The subject has been taught at the Cambridge campus of Anglia Ruskin University since 1998, and continued growth and investment of over £4m has meant that today we are able to offer a range of courses which accurately reflect the needs of our students and the current market. Moreover, all of our programmes are taught by a team of dedicated staff, with a large number years of active casework and research experience between them.

University of Central Lancashire

Course in Fire Investigation
Fire Investigation is the analysis of fire-related incidents and is a highly multi-disciplinary area. Fire investigators need knowledge of fire behaviour, scene management, analytical chemistry and investigative skills. The course is designed for those from a range of backgrounds who are employed, or who wish to pursue a career, in the area of Fire Investigation, working for fire and rescue services, insurance companies or independent agencies, or as a Crime Scene Investigator or Forensic Scientist.

The course covers fire science and fire behaviour, fire investigation and analytical science, and provides students with research skills and knowledge of being an expert witness in the English legal system. Guided teaching and formal assessments will enhance the development of transferable skills such report-writing, maintenance of casenotes, formal presentations, participation in discussions, ability to work to deadlines, computing skills, public speaking, scientific analysis, and adherence and development of laboratory protocols.

If you know of any courses other then please e-mail us.

Fire Statistics

Republic of Ireland
This Department provides the planning and legislative framework for the enforcement of fire safety and the operation of the fire service through the Fire Services Act, 1981. Advice and guidance is given to fire authorities on fire safety and on emergency planning. Guidance on fire safety is also given to those in charge of premises. Financial assistance is provided to fire authorities by way of grants towards the cost of providing fire stations and the purchase of fire appliances and emergency and rescue equipment including communications equipment. The section also publishes the national fire statistics.

Northern Ireland

Fire statistics monitors

This NIFRS Statistical Report covers the period of 2003 to 2008 and provides information most frequently requested by our stakeholders on various aspects of NIFRS Business.

Useful Publications

The conditions necessary for ignition and steady burning of combustible materials to occur
How large a fire has to become before fire detectors and sprinkler heads will operate
The circumstances that can lead to flashover in a compartment
Kirk’s Fire Investigation

by John D. DeHAAN.
Published by Prentice Hall, New Jersey.
792 pages 6th edition (August 19, 2006)

Written by a forensic scientist with extensive education and training experience in all phases of fire and explosion investigation, this widely used book details all essential information. Now updated and expanded, it is in closer accordance to the NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigation, which is used at the National Fire Academy. This revision will help enhance the accuracy and reliability of your investigation. Chapter topics examine the elementary chemistry of combustion; the nature and behavior of fire; combustion properties of liquid, gaseous, and solid fuels; sources of ignition; structure fires and their investigation; grass and wildland fires and their investigation; automobile, motor vehicle, and ship fires; electrical causes of fire; clothing and fabric fires; explosions and explosive combustion; chemical fires and hazardous materials; laboratory services; fire-related deaths and injuries; arson as a crime; and other investigative topics. For public fire investigators, arson investigators, bomb/arson specialists, special investigations units, and fraud specialists.


Free Pocket Guide to Arson Investigation

FM Global produce a number of free handbooks for people in the fire service and associated professions. One such book is the pocket guide to Arson investigation.

Recognized worldwide as an excellent resource for fire service professionals and arson investigators, this pocket guide outlines key measures to take throughout various stages of fire, from the time the alarm is sounded until extinguishment, and details general fire investigation and evidence collection techniques to determine the cause of fire.
To order the book and view more titles visit the FM Global site.>>>

Fire Investigation

edited by Dr. Niamh Nic Daeid. Published by Taylor & Francis


There are numerous short case histories … along with comments about scene investigations … [which] will be useful and informative to most fire investigators. John Twibell is one of the best forensic scientists … . Few people are as well qualified to write about fire testing and its application to fire investigation and reconstruction as Martin Shipp of the Fire Research Station … . Reta Newman is very well known for her own co-authorship of the landmark reference GC-MS Guide to Ignitable Liquids …. This worthy effort was deliberately design to address the needs of scientific fire investigators whose responsibilities over a wide range and successfully fulfills that aim. By selecting a panel of first-class subject experts and drawing them together in a useful and readable text, Niamh has rendered a useful service to fire investigators.

Journal of Forensic Science

Pocket Guide to Fire and Arson Invesigation, published by FM Global.

This pocket-sized guide has been compiled by Mick Gardiner of Gardiner Associates and is a basic introduction on how to investigate a fire. Contact the Gardiner Associates website.

Principles of Fire Behavior

by James G. QUINTIERE. Published by Delmar, New York. 1997.

Product Description

Fire fighters, building officials, fire investigators and product manufacturers will enhance their critical store of knowledge with this book on fire behavior. Easy to read, the text covers the four forms of fire while thoroughly discussing heat transfer, ignition, flame spread, fire plumes, heat flux as a damage variable, and other vital issues. With its explanation of fire modeling, Principles of Fire Behavior keeps professionals abreast of the latest design, analysis, and investigative techniques. Coverage of formulas help professionals understand the science behind fire- and how it applies to their particular

Forensic Fire Scene Reconstruction

by David ICOVE and John D. DeHAAN. Published by Prentice Hall, New Jersey. 2004.

Product Description

For junior/senior-level college courses in Fire Science Technology and Fire Protection Engineering, as well as advanced Fire Investigation and Training programs and professional seminars. This textbook for the fire and law enforcement investigator, prosecutor, and fire protection professional provides a thorough understanding of fire dynamics, describing and illustrating a totally new systematic approach for reconstructing fire scenes. The approach applies the following principles of fire protection engineering along with forensic and behavioral science: identifiable fire pattern damage, human factors, physical forensic evidence of human activity, and application of the scientific method based upon relevant scientific principles and research. Using historical fire cases, the authors provide new lessons and insight into the ignition, growth, development, and outcome of those fire

NFPA 921 Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations (2004).

Published by National Fire Protection Association, Quincy, MA.

First published in 1992 this text has been compiled by the technical committee of the NFPA and has been revised at regular intervals since. It has been adopted by most states in USA as the benchmark by which fire investigations are to be carried out. Consequently it is not far from the side of both prosecution and defence attorneys at arson trials. It is an easy read with no complicated mathematical equations or complex chemistry. Simple, practical and very informative. Available for about £30 from ILI Tel: 01344 636300 or Ili Publishing.

An Introduction to Fire Dynamics

by Dougal DRYSDALE. Published by Wiley, Chichester. 1998.

Product Description
An Introduction to Fire Dynamics Second Edition Dougal Drysdale University of Edinburgh, UK Fire Safety Engineering, identified in the original edition as ‘a relatively new discipline’, has since grown significantly in stature, as Fire Safety Engineers around the world begin to apply their skills to complex issues that defy solution by the old ‘prescriptive’ approach to fire safety. This second edition has the same structure as the first highly successful text, but has been updated with the latest research results. Fire processes are discussed and quantified in terms of the mechanisms of heat transfer and fluid flow. Problems addressed include:

This book is unique in that it identifies fire science and fire dynamics and provides the scientific background necessary for the development of fire safety engineering as a professional discipline. It is essential reading for all those involved in this wide ranging field, from Fire Prevention Officers to Consulting Engineers, whether involved in problems of fire risk assessment, fire safety design, or fire investigation. It will also be of considerable interest and value to research scientists working in building design, fire physics and chemistry.

A Guide to Fatal Fire Investigation

by D. LEITCH. Published by The Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) 1993. 70 pages of text and 44 pages of glossy photos of corpses.

This book includes the principles of cremation, identification, and common mistakes made at fatal fire scenes. It is very basic and easy to read. Available from the Institute of Fire Engineers for £12.35. (25% discount if bought with Principles of Fire Investigation).

Ignition Handbook

by Vytenis BABRAUSKAS. Published by Fire Science Publishers (2004).

After 7 years in the preparation this 1116 page handbook is what fire investigators and fire scientists have been waiting for. Available for about $200 from Fire Science Publishers.

Safety at Scenes of Fire and Related Incidents

by James MUNDAY. Published by Fire Protection Association, London (1994).

Often quoted in other works on Fire Investigation this book (now only available on disc) gives practical guidance on the risks encountered at fire scenes. £15 from the Fire Protection Association.

Crime Scene to Court: The Essentials of Forensic Science

edited by P.C. White. Published by Royal Society of Chemistry (2004).


The book is well laid out and presented in a logical order following the crime scene to court theme. Chapter one gives a comprehensive overview of the process of forensic science, including aspects such as accountability, accreditation and quality. The second chapter deals with crime scene investigation by means of two examples (a burglary and murder scene) and takes the reader through the processes that would be put in place to investigate these crimes. Chapters three to 14 cover the various aspects of forensic evidence. The material has generally been updated since the previous version and each chapter is presented in a semi-technical format so that it is clear and understandable to a wide range of readers.
The final chapter deals with the preparations of court reports and the presentation of evidence in court. This is an essential part of the forensic scientist’s role as is the ability to interpret analytical results fairly and then communicate the findings to a jury and court are essential skills for an expert witness.