Library Dissertation Showcase

A study into the use of, and demand for, Fire Investigation Search Dogs and Photo Ionisation Detectors by Fire and Rescue Services in England.

  • Year of Publication:
  • 2021

This study was designed to investigate the use of, and demand for, Fire Investigation Search Dogs (FISDs) and Photo Ionisation Detectors (PIDs) by Fire and Rescue Services (FRSs) in England. The primary aims of this study were to research methods used in fire investigations to indicate possible accelerants, research the design, use and limitations of the most frequently used methods, ascertain which methods are used by FRSs in England, which methods are preferred by the survey respondents, and to determine the demand for resources. The method employed to address these primary aims was to extensively research background literature, design an online survey and distribute it to the 44 FRSs in England in order to gather primary data, analyse the primary data to identify any trends, and finally to conclude on the findings. Limited responses were received to the online survey with only 23 out of the 44 FRSs being represented by respondents. From these responses it was highlighted that 70% of FRSs who have their own FISD, also utilise externally provided FISDs. This emphasised that availability of resources, especially FISDs, is a significant barrier to usage, particularly when resources are being shared. Cost of resources was identified as a significant barrier, which was linked to the common opinion that the Police should be responsible for the supply and/or funding of resources due to arson being a criminal offence and under Police jurisdiction. This study concluded that the majority of respondents (57%) preferred to use an FISD as a method of identifying possible accelerants, even when offered the hypothetical option to use both a FISD and a PID simultaneously. The methods currently in use by the 23 FRSs that were represented by the respondents, were equally split between those who exclusively use an FISD and those who use both an FISD and PID, at 48% each.

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