For arson investigators, determining the cause of a fire typically involves gathering sufficient data from multiple sources. After the fire is extinguished by first responders, investigators arrive at the fire scene, contact the team, define the scene’s boundaries and interview eyewitnesses such as first responders, property owners and tenants.
Investigators also collect evidence such as damage around the ignition source or sources, tool marks, fuel containers, bloodstains and latent prints to not only determine the type of fire but whether or not the fire was started by human activity. After the fire scene has been thoroughly processed, reviewed and released to its owners, an investigator will then create and submit paper-based incident reports to local, state and national databases, helping authorities to more easily identify trends and to develop new procedures and equipment.
In addition to collecting fire-related data, arson investigators must address other issues such as structural integrity, environmental concerns, legal issues, and human health and safety. These issues require their own documentation in the forms of paper documents, photographs and videos.
Thorough investigation is a vital necessity since the U.S. Fire Administration estimates that hundreds of deaths and over $593 million in property damage occurs each year. Traditionally, collecting all of the required data requires considerable time and effort from arson investigators. In recent years, mobile computing technology has emerged as a more efficient and time-saving method of recording the data relating to an arson investigation.
Mobile computing technology offers arson investigators the ability to remain highly mobile while they are processing a fire scene and to easily record fire-related data onto smartphone and tablet computers. Mobile computing also provides investigators with the ability to record and store large amounts of data onto electronic forms and to take high-quality photographs which can be analyzed after a fire scene has been completely processed.
With the use of a mobile data collection system such as COMMANDmobile®, the benefits are plentiful:
- Improved accuracy: By reducing the necessity of transferring data from paper forms to computers, the possibility of accidental errors are significantly decreased with mobile computing software.
- Time savings: Using smartphones and tablet computers equipped with mobile data collection software enables arson investigators to record a greater amount of information during shifts.
- Cost savings: COMMANDmobile offers an efficient, scalable mobile computing system at a cost-effective price.
- Fully comprehensive service: COMMANDmobile provides a full-service mobile data collection software package including devices, hosting and integration.
To view a demonstration of COMMANDmobile mobile data collection software, visit the COMMANDmobile website for more details.