DFES’s Fire and Investigation Analysis Unit (FIAU) assist operational fire crews to determine the origin and cause of all fires in Western Australia (WA) attended by DFES.
When the cause of a fire is determined, the intelligence received leads to the development of a range of future fire prevention strategies.
Fire prevention measures developed and implemented by DFES are aimed at stopping and reducing loss of life and property by fire, and the associated costs to the community.
If DFES identifies a fire as either suspicious or deliberate, the Western Australia Police (WAPOL) Arson Squad will continue inquiries for the detection and prosecution of those responsible for lighting fires.
The investigating team:
- Identifies and analyses fire trends
- Conducts investigations of incidents with a view to carrying out a detailed analysis so that it can document lessons learnt for life safety and property loss purposes
- Investigates and assists WAPOL with malicious ‘false alarm of fire’ prosecutions
- Investigates and provides assistance to WAPOL in the detection and apprehension of deliberate firelighters
- Provides advice to insurance investigators, other government agencies, statutory authorities, and the community in general
- Identifies faulty products and poor work practices which cause fires
Knowledge gained from fire investigations can lead to the development of more effective and focused fire and arson prevention strategies.
Some of the strategies undertaken by DFES and our partners include fire safety education programs, media safety campaigns for the community and engineering solutions through product safety and recalls.
Investigating the cause
The FIAU has strategically located Fire Investigation Officers (FIO) throughout Western Australia supporting operational fire crews to establish the origin and cause of all fires attended by DFES.
The FIAU will attend fires which:
- Have an unknown cause
- Are suspicious in nature
- Involve a fatality
- Involve a life threatening injury to a member of the fire service or the public
- Are politically sensitive
- Any significant accidental property fire
If DFES identifies the cause of a fire as either suspicious or deliberate, local police and/or officers from the WA Police Arson Squad continue inquiries for the detection and prosecution of those responsible for lighting fires.
Identifying the cause of fires assists with:
- Development of fire prevention and education strategies for the community
- Reduction of fire losses in the future
- Development of targeted arson prevention and reduction strategies
- Identification of trends with certain equipment or practices to develop engineering solutions through product safety and/or product recalls
- Working collaboratively with other agencies to reduce the occurrence of fires
- Identification of fatal fire trends
- Assistance in the production of media fire safety campaigns
- Identification of safety issues for firefighters