Coffee Break Training: Fire/Arson and Explosion Investigation Curriculum: Fire Scene Safety [open pdf - 212KB]
"The safety and health of investigators is often taken for granted since most investigators assume that by the time they arrive at a fire scene, most hazards are either eliminated or diminished to the point that they are no longer a concern. However, today's fire investigators work in environments and conditions that are considerably more hazardous than those of 20 to 30 years ago. The widespread use of building materials and furnishings manufactured from plastics pose numerous short- and long-term health hazards that may result in injury, exposure, respiratory diseases and certain cancers unless personnel use effective protective measures. Investigators should always assume that numerous toxic byproducts of combustion are present well after a fire is extinguished. Several of these toxic substances are poisons or known or suspected human carcinogens such as acrolein, acrylonitrile, benzene, formaldehyde, hydrogen cyanide and dioxins. Investigators face the risk of exposure to these toxic substances during and after overhaul unless proper personal protective equipment, including adequate respiratory protection, is worn."
Coffee Break Training - Fire Investigation Series No. FI-2013-5
United States Fire Administration: http://www.usfa.fema.gov/