Vancouver Fire Fire investigators are effects to firefighters. This, of course, applies to
Investigators are often in the structure fire investigators who spend more time in
sworn limited before the fire is out, overhaul or post-fire environment compared to
commission officers before and during line firefighters.”
and members of the International Association of overhaul. They are exposed to many of the same Fire investigators routinely dig though fire debris
Fire Fighters Local 452. However, they do not hazards as firefighters but when it comes to the for evidence, exposing themselves to substances
have the benefits of presumptive disease amount and length of exposure to carcinogens which may sicken them years later.
legislation that firefighters currently have. They and other hazards, they are at much greater risk.
are currently in PERS and therefore must work to
age 65 compared to LEOFF retirees who may HYBRID DUTIES
retire in their 50’s because of hazards, stress and Fire investigators share some of the same risks
shorter life expectancies. as both firefighters and law enforcement. Yet for
the purposes of retirement systems, and
EXPOSURES presumptive disease they are considered
Both Firefighters and Fire Investigators are neither. So if firefighters have 100% higher risk to
exposed to toxic compounds and gasses exposures then the general public, it would
including at least 20 documented carcinogenic stand to reason fire investigators will be in the
(cancer causing) elements. Research has found same higher risk for these toxins, because of
that firefighters have 100% higher risk of their job duties.
testicular cancer and a 50% higher risk of multiple
melanoma and non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma. WHAT ARE THE RISKS?
Prostate cancer a 28% increased risk compared Cancer:
with the general population. In 1997, NIOSH initiated a study due to the fact POLYCYCLIC AEROMATIC HYDROCARBONS
that two ATF fire investigators in their 30’s had (PAH)
FIREFIGHTERS contracted bladder cancer. They determined that The American Journal of Industrial Medicine
Firefighters go in to a structure with protective their fire investigators were at risk. ATF reports that a known carcinogen found in fire
gear & breathing apparatus. They work in teams implemented a respiratory protection program debris, is PAH. It states that absorption via the
under the incident command system. They for its fire investigators in 1999 as a result of this skin is the primary route of PAH uptake. “The
ensure the fire is extinguished and get back in study. While the City of Vancouver also skin is therefore as or more important than the
service as soon as possible. Not every firefighter subsequently initiated a respiratory protection airways in absorption of PAH. PAH has been
responds to every fire. Some will go weeks or program for fire investigation, the risk cannot be linked to testicular, lung, breast, skin, bladder,
months and not see a fire scene. They certainly fully eliminated. prostate and other cancers.
are exposed to multiple hazards during this
dangerous work. PHOENIX STUDY
The City of Phoenix published a study of 26 fires
FIRE INVESTIGATORS for post fire contaminates and found chemicals
Fire investigators are in many more fire scenes exceeding the occupational exposure limits.
than a firefighter simply because of the These included acrolein, formaldehydes,
specialized service they provide. Fire glutaraldhydes, benzenes, NO2, SO2, CO &
investigators typically spend significant time on polycyclic aromatic hydrocarbons.
scene. The exposure to hazardous chemicals, “The chemicals found to exceed occupational
dust and structural dangers are frequently exposure limits in the Phoenix study
prolonged by several hours or even several days. demonstrate the potential of adverse health
Page 1 of 6
Structural Collapse: Why Vancouver Deputy Fire Marshal’s not
Nov 21, 2005 ... On January 19, 1999, a New York, covered by LEOFF or presumptive disease
43-year-old male career fire investigator died legislation?
after being crushed by a chimney that collapsed. The bottom line is, DFM’s were required to take
Chemicals: a civil service test but the test was not specific to
Inhalation – gases and airborne particulates can the job as firefighter.
be inhaled. http://www.drs.wa.gov/member/handbooks/leo
Absorption – chemicals, including dust, smoke or ff/plan-2/leoff2hbk.pdf page #4
vapors, can enter your body through your skin or
eyes. See how the job description mirror’s what a
Ingestion – chemicals can enter your body Vancouver’s Deputy Fire Marshal does.
Falls: through your mouth. http://citynet/fire/admin/jobdescriptions.asp
On July, 18, 2000, two Illinois, arson investigators Injection – chemicals can enter your body
were dispatched to the scene to conduct an through an accidental impact, cut or puncture to WHAT CHANGE IS NEEDED?
"origin-and-cause" fire investigation. During this your skin. Fire investigators should be a part of the same
investigation, Arson Investigator #1 (the victim) presumptive disease legislation that firefighters
lost his balance and fell, pinning his camera Asbestos Mesothelioma: have due to the increased risk of cancer and
between the left side of his chest and a bed In the United States, over 35 million residences other illnesses. And have the same protection of
frame/slats... ultimately the injuries he sustained harbor asbestos-containing materials that have retirement’s benefits because of hazards, stress
led to his death on August 9, 2000. the potential to release toxic fibers into the air if and shorter life expectancies.
they are damaged by a fire. This is a serious
Responding to Fires: heath risk for homeowners, firefighters and
Dec 9, 2009 HOUSTON (KTRK) – “One arson other first responders, as asbestos exposure is QUESTIONS?
investigator did not make the scene of a morning the only known cause of pleural mesothelioma, a Contact Dan McCoy, Deputy Fire Marshal – City
fire in the Heights. That's because the fatal type of cancer that attacks the lungs and of Vancouver (360) 487-7217.
investigator is in the hospital. The arson unit was does not have a cure. Asbestos fibers are friable
on the way to the fire when it collided with and can lodge in your protective gear or on your
another car on 11th and North Durham.” equipment during fire investigation only to
become airborne again while doffing the gear or
Criminals: stowing it in your vehicle. The time between
Fires are sometimes crime scenes exposure and the appearance of symptoms can
Jun 30, 2008, CHICAGO — Donald Cox was be as long as 20 to 50 years.
investigating the apparent firebombing of a
southeast side home Sunday when he was struck Exhaustion:
by a bullet below his left ribs…Arson Fire investigators get calls at all hours to rush to
investigators usually work by themselves, but in a fire incident and conduct physically exhausting
the future, "There's going to be two arson work similar to firefighters who have an
investigators per car,'' Orozco said. increased risk of heart attack.
March 17, 2010 HENRY COUNT, Ga Fire
Investigation Turns Into Police Shootout.
Page 2 of 6
LEOFF’s definition of a Fire fighters university or port district are also included.
A “fire fighter” is someone employed in a Directors of public safety and public safety officers
uniformed fire fighter position on a fulltime, fully may qualify if they are employed by cities or towns
compensated basis, and as a consequence, has the with populations less than 10,000.
legal authority and responsibility to direct or
perform fire protection activities that are required City police are considered law enforcement
for and directly concerned with preventing, officers only if they have been appointed to offices,
controlling and extinguishing fires. This includes positions, or ranks specifically created and
supervisory fire fighter personnel. designated by city charter provision or by
“Fire protection activities” may include incidental ordinance.
functions such as housekeeping, equipment The following positions are excluded:
maintenance, grounds maintenance, fire safety
inspections, lecturing, performing community fire • non-commissioned people in positions that are
drills and inspecting homes and schools for fire primarily clerical or secretarial
hazards. These activities qualify as fire protection • deputy sheriffs who have not passed a civil
activities only if the primary duty of the position is service exam for deputy sheriff
preventing, controlling and extinguishing fires. • directors of public safety or public safety officers
The following positions are excluded: in cities or towns with populations of less than
• fire fighters who have not completed a civil 10,000, if they were receiving a LEOFF retirement
service exam for fire fighter if the employer allowance on July 25, 1993
• volunteer or resident volunteer fire fighters
LEOFF -covered employers
A “covered employer” is any of the following if
they employ any law enforcement officer and/or
• the authority of any city, town, county or district
• elected officials of any municipal corporation
• the governing body of any other general authority
law enforcement agency
• four year institutions of higher education with a
fully operational fire department (as of January 1,
1996) Updated March 2006
Law enforcement officers
A “law enforcement officer” is someone who is
fully commissioned and empowered to enforce the
laws of the state of Washington, including full
arrest powers, and employed by a LEOFF
employer. LEOFF-covered positions include
county sheriffs, deputy sheriffs, police chiefs, city
police officers, town marshals or deputy marshals.
Effective January 1, 1994, general authority law
enforcement officers employed by a state
Page 3 of 6
VANCOUVER FIRE DEPARTMENT’S JOB Receive and investigate complaints regarding fire Knowledge of:
DESCRIPTION OF A DEPUTY FIRE MARSHAL violations; recommend corrective actions and
enforce compliance. Fire hazards and the related prevention and
DEFINITION abatement methods.
Investigate fires to determine causes and damages;
To perform a variety of fire prevention and keep records of fire losses, investigations, fire Principles of fire prevention and safety
inspection work including fire code enforcement and deaths and injuries; collect, photograph and education, including effective teaching and
fire safety education program administration; act as maintain evidence; prepare detailed reports presentation techniques.
Public Information Officer as assigned. documenting investigation findings.
Fire prevention inspection methods and
Respond to requests and inquiries from the fire techniques.
SUPERVISION RECEIVED AND EXERCISED suppression personnel, general public, contractors,
architects, and media relations regarding fire and Fire fighting techniques, incident command
Receive general supervision from a division chief. life safety codes and standards. system, and fire suppression equipment.
Principles of fire behavior.
Assume duties of Public Information Officers at
ESSENTIAL AND OTHER FUNCTION emergency incidents under the Incident Command Techniques of fire and arson investigation.
STATEMENTS--Essential and other important System; act as liaison with the news media;
responsibilities and duties may include, but are not perform public relations activities such as Laws and ordinances pertaining to fire
limited to, the following: coordinating press conferences, preparing news prevention, the Uniform Fire Code, and the
releases, and preparing audio visual materials. Uniform Building Code.
Examples of Essential Functions:
Safe work practices and procedures.
Participate in the coordination of the Fire Examples of Other Functions:
Suppression Division's fire safety education Public relations as they relate to obtaining
activities; provide training on fire and safety Serve as an expert witness testifying in court cases cooperation and compliance to fire codes
programs, fire and life safety codes, and inspection involving fire and code violations. and laws.
Maintain a variety of records, files and maps Computers and software application
Participate in the development and delivering fire related to fire prevention and safety activities and programs.
safety and prevention educational programs to programs.
local schools, community groups, and members of Ability to:
the general public. Conduct inspections for business license
compliance. Conduct fire inspection and code
Conduct annual inspections for existing buildings enforcement work.
and fire code permits inspections of buildings and Enter a variety of information into a computer.
property for fire hazards, efficiency of fire Respond to inquiries, complaints and
protective equipment, adequacy of fire exits, and Ensure various equipment used in performing requests for service in a fair, tactful and firm
general compliance with fire prevention laws and duties is properly maintained. manner.
Perform related duties and responsibilities as Speak publicly and give presentations.
Advise property owners on the removal of fire required.
hazards; enforce compliance to correct hazards. Deal effectively with property owners,
managers and the general public in difficult
QUALIFICATIONS work situations.
Page 4 of 6
Detect fire hazards and make
recommendations for their correction. Training:
Give instructions on ways to prevent and Equivalent to the completion of the
eliminate fire hazards. twelfth grade supplemented by
specialized training in fire science,
Conduct preliminary fact-finding inspections fire prevention, fire investigation, or
and investigations, including evidence a related field.
License or Certificate
Properly interpret and make decisions in
accordance with laws, regulations and Possession of an appropriate valid driver's
Observe and record findings during Meet NFPA 1031, step III, standard for Fire
inspections. Prevention as defined in the Senior Fire
Prevention Officer step program.
Communicate clearly and concisely, both
orally and in writing; communicate with the Meet NFPA 1033, step III, standard for Fire
general public and the news media in such a Investigator Prevention as defined in the
way as to be easily understandable to them. Senior Fire Prevention Officer step program.
Establish and maintain cooperative working Meet NFPA 1035, step I, standard for Fire
relationships with those contacted in the Public Educator as defined in the Senior Fire
course of work, and perform work with a Prevention Officer step program.
customer service orientation.
Possession of a Uniform Fire Code
Perform basic mathematical calculations and Certification from the International Fire
read blueprints or building plans. Code Institute.
Handle many different tasks in a short
amount of time. WORKING CONDITIONS
Travel from site to site in residential or commercial
Experience and Training Guidelines environment; conduct inspections in potentially
Any combination of experience and training hazardous buildings and at fire sites; may be on-call
that would likely provide the required 24 hours per day for emergencies, investigations, and
knowledge and abilities is qualifying. A inspections; frequent evening work to attend various
typical way to obtain the knowledge and meetings; considerable amount of driving is required.
abilities would be:
Five years experience as a deputy Est. 1990
fire marshal at the city of Rev. 6/98 dw
Page 5 of 6
Contacts: Ron Myers presumptive disease lawyer
in Seattle 360.459.5600 who was active in the
legislation process to get it passed
Keven Rojecki: Tacoma city counsel position # 6
Look for any training that is liken:
- part of EVAP
- part of respiratory training
- Adventist wellness testing
- Federal money for In the line of duty
get copy of firefighter’s presumptive disease law
then mirror for DFM
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