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Training Offerings

“Anatomy of an Arson – Sex, Drugs, Rock & Roll” (CE credits)

This dynamic workshop/presentation utilizes an actual claim experience that took the insurance adjusting and investigation team a look into dark corners of their insured’s world.  The current mortgage and economic crisis sets the stage for a fire claim for policyholders that face: foreclosure, bankruptcy, and generally desperate times!

“The DNA of Fire Investigation”

This presentation informs the participants as to the building blocks upon which a successful fire investigation is conducted.  Actual cases are utilized to assist claims and legal professionals understand the basic steps of a fire investigation and allow them to evaluate retained [and adverse] experts as to their findings in a systematic manner.

“NFPA 921 – Fire Claims Benchmark”

The National Fire Protection Association [NFPA] publishes a Guide for Fire and Explosions Investigation –NFPA 921.  Fire Cause Analysis’ Hal Lyson has been a member of this committee since its inception and teaches this wide-ranging material in depth to fire investigators across the country.  We have synthesized this material to a less technical level and created this seminar for those claims and legal professionals who want to understand the critical elements and methodology of this profession.   This material allows them to challenge retained [and adverse] experts as to their findings.

“Vessel Fire Investigations – Sink or Swim!”

This program was designed by FCA’s Don Perkins [Coast Guard Diver, Submariner and Marine Fire Investigator] to apply the general principles of fire investigation to the unique circumstances in maritime vessel and cargo fires. Determination of origin and cause for a fire confined to a large ship or a small craft demands attention to investigative issues unique to marine fires. Materials and construction are considered in conjunction with fire spread issues.  Utilizing actual case studies of vessel investigations, this program provides context understanding the dynamic circumstances, fuels and materials that complicate such investigations.  The program is rooted in common sense while providing such insights as “The bow of the ship is the pointy end!”

“Wildland Fire Investigation” (CE credits)

This program is designed to provide educational insight into the challenges of investigating fires that are not contained within a compartment.  The fuels that burn and fire spread issues are as critical components as the fire patterns that remain.  Weather effects are also discussed at length with regard to moisture content of fuels and effects of wind.  It will help the attendee ‘see the forest for the trees’.

“Urban Wildland Interface – Construction Issues”

This program is based upon FCA’s work with the Office of the California State Fire Marshal’s data developed after the 2003 Southern California Wildfires.  It highlights construction techniques that were proven effective in limiting fire damage and the costs/benefits associated with such techniques.  This program is approved for CE Credits for Architects and is of potential interest to insurance claims and underwriting professionals.

Roofing Fires

This program was developed specifically to address the most common causes of roofing fires and to highlight the risk management practices critical to avoiding fire.  Case studies of actual fire investigations address the challenges to investigation of such events and the process expected of an investigator conducting such an examination.

Large Loss Fires – A Team Approach

Fire Cause Analysis has investigated many fires in terms of total dollar loss.  Significant loss exposure due to: death/injury, direct property damage or loss of use, requires that coordination among many professionals [with varying interests] be maintained.  Case studies of these large loss fires illustrate the tactical benefits and cost savings that can be realized.   The effective utilization of “Examination Protocols” is also discussed.

Vehicle Fire Investigation

Determination of origin and cause for a fire confined to a small compartment with a significant fuel load such as that found in the engine compartment of many vehicles is a skill that is beyond many investigators.  The fire indicators are often obliterated or masked by the fire effects.  This program highlights the systematic approach for investigating these fires utilizing a series of case studies that focus on many of the potential causes for such fires.   It is designed to educate the attendee so that they might see through the smoke of vehicle fires.

Daubert and Beyond - Managing the Claim’s Expert (CE credits)

The skills of the forensic fire investigator must be utilized in a manner that allows for the expert opinions to be admissible in court.  This program addresses the potential challenges to expert testimony admissibility and the proactive approach to handling the potential case killer!  Qualifying the expert prior to retention and the standards that apply are addressed in a discussion of NFPA 1033.  The methodology utilized by the investigator is explored as a tool to defeat such challenges.  The lessons learned in the film “My Cousin Vinny” entertain and illustrate effective voir doir.

Subrogation of the Fire Claim – Tactical Tools for Success

This program is designed to be presented in tandem by FCA and a subrogation lawyer.  We discuss fire peril recovery claims from our respective points of view and emphasize the value of working together along with the claims professional to maximize potential recovery.  Actual fire cases are utilized to cover a range of topics from: mechanical failure to theories of liability.  

Managing the Fire Case

Fire related litigation can be potentially complex and thus confusing for a jury or arbitrator.  This program will help the legal and claims professional identify the ‘themes’ of their case at an early stage.  This effort will focus the investigation in a cost effective direction and lay the foundation for admissibility of graphics and scientific evidence if needed.  Significant discussion will include anticipating the adverse party’s case and ‘removing their bullets’.  This class is very effective when taught in tandem with trial counsel experienced in fire litigation.

Litigating the Arson Case

This class is taught in tandem with trial counsel experienced in arson litigation.

Fire Cause Analysis has co-authored a chapter of a 2008 Continuing Education of the Bar [CEB] publication on scientific and technical evidence in California which serves as the foundation for the class.  This program will help the legal and claims professional identify the ‘themes’ of their case at an early stage.  This effort will focus the investigation in a cost effective direction and lay the foundation for admissibility of graphics and scientific evidence as needed.  Significant discussion will include anticipating the adverse party’s case and ‘removing their bullets’.  

Spoliation of Evidence

Evidence taken in the course of a forensic fire investigation is a critical element to proving the investigator’s findings.  However, that very same evidence [if improperly taken, secured or handled] can destroy an otherwise sound case.  This workshop explores the issues involved in fire related litigation when evidence is in the mix.   It highlights considerations in taking/securing/testing evidence and discusses tactical issues when evidence is taken by an adverse party.

If you are interested in any of our classes and presentations, please fill out the form below. If a topic isn’t on the list and you would like to request a presentation on that topic, please call our office at 1-800-726-5939 or fill out the form below, and one of our representatives will get back to you shortly.