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The CTIF fire investigation Working group during a meeting in the Netherlands.
24 May 2024

The CTIF Fire Investigation Work Group has started up again

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The group met online on May 22, 2024. meeting of the working group was opened by the vice-president of the CTIF Martin Nekula, who welcomed the participating members. He stated that the last meeting of the working group was held in 2022. 

CTF Vice President Martin Nekula underlines the need for the group to find a chair person and a secretary for upcoming meetings. 

The above photo is from a physical meeting of the group in Netherlands in 2019.   

 

MINUTES

 

  1. Opening of the meeting

Introduction, consent to record

The meeting of the working group was opened by the vice-president of the CTIF Martin Nekula, who welcomed the participating members. He stated that the last meeting of the working group was held in 2022. Martin shortly introduced himself as he is a member of the Fire Rescue Service of Moravian-Silesian Region, the vice-president of the Czech Association of Fire Officers and he is also the vice-president of the CTIF. He would like to hold this meeting for the purpose of reestablishing this working group, setting up its rules as well as the possibilities to share skills etc.

Participants agreed with the recording of the virtual meeting.

Approval of the agenda

The agenda was approved by the participating members.

 

Roll call of participants and overview of participants

Martin Nekula – Czech Republic

Jakub Škoda – Czech Republic

  • Chief of Fire Investigation at the Ministry of Interior – Directorate General of Fire Rescue Service of the Czech Republic.

Aurelijus Česūnas – Lithuania 

  • Due to technical issues he was not able to attend the whole meeting.

Zoltán Szilcsanov – Hungary

  • This working group started in 2016 at the international fire investigation conference, next year the group was established within the framework of the CTIF but due to the lack of human resources the group was not able to continue, respectively Zoltán and his colleagues were not able to lead the group and were only participating. His task within the Fire Rescue Service is international relations officer. His colleague who is a chief national fire investigator will take part in this working group as well. Zoltán has a technical suggestion that he will send the relevant documents, presentations from the past etc. to Martin and Jakub. Martin suggests that information will be shared on some kind of cloud at one place. The same goes for the articles etc. As regards the next meetings, some meeting would be possible to hold in person as it would be possible to meet in the Czech Republic in autumn – there will be meeting of the Forest Fires Group but it is also important to plan the next virtual meeting.

Janne Hovdenakk – Norway

  • Janne has been working in the fire department for 25 years. In Norway there is no fire investigation at the Fire Rescue Service as it falls under the police, but they have people with bachelor's degree in fires who assists and are taken as experts to the court which is Janne's work as well. They try to look at the fires in Norway but they do not focus on them.

Tiina Kiil – Estonia

  • Tiina has been working in the rescue board since 2018. She is the expert of the fire investigation service under the rescue board in the fire safety field. She has 9 fire investigators all around Estonia. She is not a fire investigator but she is coordinating the field of education, learning, experience, data collection, training. 

Klemen Repovs – Slovenia 

  • Due to technical issues he was not able to attend the whole meeting.

Mark Bokdam – Netherlands 

  • Participant in the Extrication and New Technologies commission. He is the project leader of the solar panels, he did a lot of investigations of the fires of solar panels and battery packs. 

Fire Research Centre – Edvard Dabulevičius, Mark Daukševič – Lithuania

 

  1. Responsibility for the group

Chairman and Secretary – proposal

Martin asked participants who have been in the working group since its beginning what are the rules to choose the chairman and the secretary of the group, respectively how are the positions set up. If the positions are filled by vote or by voluntary enrollment. Zoltán explained that the last chairman was Mr. László Bérczi but now he is not available in the organization. The procedure was that the last chairman was voted. Zoltán has a suggestion for online platform e.g. Microsoft Sharepoint but question is how many countries are able to connect to this type of platform due to their internal rules. Martin will check what are the possibilities.  Regarding Mr. Bérczi he is not currently in the CTIF as the vice-president and we have no feedback from him about his participation in this working group. Martin can ask member countries for the suggestions for the chairman and the secretary. It should be somebody who will be active and willing to lead the group as well as experienced in the area. Zoltán will check with Mr. Bértzi.

 

  1. Internal activities in countries

Internal activities in countries can be part of the development for tasks or goals that would be shared and discussed. Martin prepared some topics which can be discussed and chosen to be focused on. Also another topics from other countries are welcomed to be shared.

 

  1. Lessons learned – exchange of experience

Main directions of the area of interest – equipment and technology, procedures and legislation of investigation, personal responsibility in countries 

Statistic data – dead people, fires, causes 

  • It was agreed that it would be very interesting to share experience in this area throughout the countries. 

  • Mark stated that in the Netherlands they have a database for all the investigations they did.

 

Accelerator detection

  • How does it work in other countries, who is responsible and who is able to detect the accelerators which caused fire. 

  • Which tools are used, maybe new ways to be presented. 
  • Proposal – possibility to vote on topics.

 

Batteries (scooters, bicycles)

  • Dynamic development.

  • It could be interesting to bring new ideas for prevention. Many interventions in Czech Republic – fires in flats from scooters, bicycles etc. 

  • Batteries are definitely topic to discuss. 

 

Building constructions and their resistance

  • Knowledge about resistance of different construction systems.

 

Education and plan for the future

  • Also topic to focus on.
  • How to educate investigators, what are the possibilities in this area.

 

Visualization tools for presentation and record of investigation

  • In the Czech Republic there is a system for visualization called HAWK. 
  • The system has been used from 2023. It started as a recording of fire extinguishing and work of the firefighters on the fire scene. 
  • From the field of the fire prevention the system can bring advantages even for their work.
  • Drones, 3D scanners, 3D cameras are working on the fire scene and are recording the place before, during and after the fire. 
  • This presents great support for the fire investigators.
  • Photos and camera shoots can be rebuilt into one interactive model. It can be changed into the video.
  • Useful for fire scenarios. Good for educational purposes. 
  • Presentation – if it is interesting for other members it will be prepared by Jakub or Martin.

 

Cooperation between fire services, police and other institutions

Development trends in the causes of fire

  1. Discussion

Mark suggested that solar panels should also be included as a topic.

Zoltán suggested that they have good detection system, laboratory etc. – member countries can describe their detection system and then it will be decided what is important. 

Martin will set up topics for next discussion.

Zoltán mentions case studies from 2016 and 2017 etc. Group members should share experience, lot of interesting fire scenes could be shared to describe the whole situation with the fire investigation process. Maybe in some countries it could be considered as a sensitive data. In the past statistic data and presentations were shared. In lot of countries the fire investigation is not a part of the Fire Rescue Service but e.g. a part of the police. Martin will prepare a plan for the group to set up the possibilities for the next meeting and topics to discuss. Presentations can be prepared. Next meeting can be for voting chairman and secretary etc. 

 

  1. Opportunities for collaboration

Member countries can make proposals for possible cooperation.

 

  1. Next meeting plan

Martin will prepare topics and presentation for the next meeting. Next meeting should serve as a resolution for the chairman election.

 

Conclusion 

Regarding the conclusions the main directions of the group were set up. 

Next steps for the group include important tasks, mainly to vote the chairman and the secretary of the working group. 

Other issue to deal with is the platform for sharing knowledge, information, documents etc. It will be established on a non-conflict version of software available ideally in all countries. 

It was also suggested that meeting should be arranged for the members of the working group to meet in person and also the date for next virtual meeting should be planned.