A speaker from the Finnish Fire Investigation Delegation at the CTIF meeting.
13 Jun 2019

Report from the International Fire Investigation Networking Meeting in the Netherlands


On Wednesday 22 and Thursday 23 May, the Netherlands was the host country for the CTIF Fire Investigation (CTIF FI) network meeting. Twenty-four fire researchers from thirteen different European countries exchanged knowledge and experiences with each other for two days.


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"Fire research is a young discipline in the Netherlands and we would like to learn from countries that have been doing this for some time. The lessons they have learned in their development help us to develop further. Building up this international network is important", says Folkert van der Ploeg in the CTIF Fire Investigation Working Group.


Fire Investigation Work Group in Netherlands May 2019


A peek into "someone else's kitchen"

The meeting started on Wednesday at the Twente Safety Campus with an explanation of the purpose of fire research by the Netherlands Fire Service, its organization, training and what has been achieved in the past ten years (see also Learning through fire research). Each representative of a country then gave a short pitch about his / her experiences and results as a fire researcher. It is good to not only be busy with your own work and content. It is important to look around you to see what others are doing and how they are doing that, also abroad.

"Four years ago I had the idea to set up a network of fire researchers in Europe under the CTIF. With the aim of learning from each other how we can not only find the causes of fire through fire research, but to use the lessons learned to further develop and improve fire prevention and fire fighting. The umbrella CTIF organization agreed and in 2017 we had our first meeting in Budapest", says László Bérczi, chairman of the CTIF Fre Investigation Group.


Virtual Reality training for the purposes of Fire Investigation training.



In the workshop New Generation Fire Research, the participants were able to experience how fire research can be trained through Virtual Reality.

In recent years, photos of practice cases have been collected all over the world and converted into scenarios. In this way, the fire investigators can receive additional training in finding a cause of the fire and the course of the fire, without actually having to enter a burned-out building. In the fire research house on the Twente Safety Campus, the participants were given an explanation about the way in which we train fire investigators in the Netherlands. They could also watch students from the Forensic Science study program at Saxion University of Applied Sciences in Enschede who carry out practical experiments for their studies.

The 'Burn to learn' workshop provided insight into how lessons are learned from investigated fires. To understand how some fires went, the situation is replicated on a small scale and the fire goes on. In this workshop the influence of insulation material on a fire was discussed.  

The international meeting was closed on Thursday morning in Arnhem at the IFV. Here the participants were included in the completed and ongoing studies of the knowledge institute on fire development and smoke spread.


A dollhouse burn for the purposes of fire investigation research.


Some Remarks:

- In Finland it is legally stipulated that the fire department conducts fire investigations. For the training of fire researchers, they are currently developing an online training (similar to our ELO system) with scenarios.

- Belgium started with so-called fire analysts last year and has already collected a nice collection of data from fires and some cases.

In Germany and Denmark, fire research is not yet part of the work of the fire department. Although a lot of research is being done at the University of Wuppertal on materials burning. Think of Lithium-Ion batteries.In 2016,

Fire research competitions are held annually in Hungary. The winners of the regional competitions go to the national final, where they are tested on theoretical and practical knowledge. The wish is to grow from national to international competitions.

At this meeting Tsjechië handed out their second fire investigation case book.

Russia has a large collection of data on car fires. This contains, among other things, which type of car was involved and what was the cause of the fire.

The next CTIF - FI meeting will be held in Germany during 2020

Best regards,

Folkert van der Ploeg