fire technology and arson investigation
Fire Technology

Fire Technology and Arson Investigation (Definition of Terms and Terminologies)

Fire Protection and  Arson Investigation (New Syllabi/TOS)

3 State of matter


4 General Categories Of Heat Energy

Chemical Heat Energy
Electrical Heat Energy
Mechanical Heat Energy
Nuclear Heat Energy

Backdraft - a phenomenon in which a fire that has consumed all available oxygen suddenly explodes when more oxygen is made available, typically because a door or window has been opened.

Boiling Point - The temperature of a substance where the rate of evaporation exceeds the rate of condensation.

British Thermal Unit - (BTU)  The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one pound of water one degree F.

Calorie - The amount of heat needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water one degree Centigrade.

Centigrade - (Celcius)  On the Centigrade scale, zero is the melting point of ice; 100 degrees is the boiling point of water.

Chemical Heat Energy

Heat of Combustion - The amount of heat generated by the combustion (oxidation) process.

Heat of Decomposition - The release of heat from decomposing compounds.  These compounds may be unstable and release their heat very quickly or they may detonate.

Heat of Solution - The heat released by the mixture of matter in a liquid.  Some acids, when dissolved, give off sufficient heat to pose exposure problems to nearby combustibles.

Spontaneous Heating - The heating of an organic substance without the addition of external heat. Spontaneous heating occurs most frequently where sufficient air is not present to dissipate the heat produced.  The speed of a heating reaction doubles with each 180 F (80 C) temperature increase.

Classification of Fires
Class A Fire - Fires involving ordinary combustible materials, such as wood, cloth, paper, rubber, and many plastics.

Class B Fires - Fires involving flammable liquids, greases, and gases.

Class C Fires - Fires involving energized electrical equipment.

Class D Fires - Fires involving combustible metals, such as magnesium, titanium, zirconium, sodium, and potassium.

Class K Fires - Class K is a new classification of fire as of 1998 and involves fires in combustible cooking fuels such as vegetable or animal fats.

Combustion - is the self-sustaining process of rapid oxidation of a fuel being reduced by an oxidizing agent along with the evolution of heat and light.

Creeping - A fire spreading slowly over the ground, generally with a low flame.

Crown fires - burn through the top layer of foliage on a tree, known as the canopy. Crown fires, the most intense type of fire and often the most difficult to contain, need strong winds, steep slopes, and a heavy fuel load to continue burning.

Dry Chemicals and Halons - method of fire extinguishment, interrupts the flame-producing chemical reaction, resulting in rapid extinguishment.

Electrical Heat Energy

Dielectric Heating - The heating that results from the action of either pulsating direct current or alternating current at high frequency on a non-conductive material.

Heat from Arcing - Heat released either as a high-temperature arc or as molten material from the conductor.

Heat Generated by Lightning - The heat generated by the discharge of thousands of volts from either earth to cloud, cloud to cloud, or from cloud to ground.

Induction Heating - The heating of materials resulting from an alternating current flow causing a magnetic field influence.

Leakage Current Heating - The heat resulting from imperfect or improperly insulated electrical materials.  This is particularly evident where the insulation is required to handle high voltage or loads near maximum capacity.

Resistance Heating - The heat generated by passing an electrical force through a conductor such as a wire or an appliance.

Static Electricity Heating - Heat released as an arc between oppositely charged surfaces.  Static electricity can be generated by the contact and separation of charged surfaces or by fluids flowing through pipes.

Endothermic Heat Reaction - A chemical reaction where a substance absorbs heat energy.

Exothermic Heat Reaction - A chemical reaction where a substance gives off heat energy.

Fahrenheit - On the Fahrenheit scale, 32 degrees is the melting point of ice; 212 degrees is the boiling point of water.

Fire point - The temperature at which a liquid fuel will produce vapors sufficient to support combustion once ignited. The fire point is usually a few degrees above the flash point.

Fire Triangle - Oxygen, Fuel, Heat

Using the same theory, there are three ways to extinguish fire:
1. Reduce the temperature (cooling)
2. Cut-off the Oxygen supply
3. Remove the Fuel

Fire National Training Institute - (FNTI) is the Institution for training on human resource development of all personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).

Flame - A gas-phased combustion.

Flammable or Explosive Limit - The percentage of a substance in the air that will burn once it is ignited.  Most substances have an upper (too rich) and a lower (too lean) flammable limit.

Flashover - an instance of a fire spreading very rapidly across a gap because of intense heat. Occurs when a room or other area becomes heated to the point where flames flash over the entire surface or area.

Flash Point - The minimum temperature at which a liquid fuel gives off sufficient vapors to form an ignitable mixture with the air near the surface.  At this temperature, the ignited vapors will flash, but
will not continue to burn.

Fuel - is the material or substance being oxidized or burned in the combustion process. Material such as coal, gas, or oil that is burned to produce heat or power.

Fuel Removal - method of fire extinguishment, fire is effectively extinguished by removing the fuel source.  This may be accomplished by stopping the flow of liquid or gaseous fuel or by removing solid fuel in the path of the fire or allowing the fire to burn until all fuel is consumed.

Glowing Combustion -  A condensed phased combustion.

Heat - the quality of being hot; high temperature. A form of energy arising from the random motion of the molecules of bodies, which ay be transferred by conduction, convection, or radiation.

Heating - is the transfer of energy, from a hotter body to a colder one, other than by work or transfer of matter.

Heat of Combustion - The amount of heat generated by the combustion (oxidation) process.

Heat Transfer

Conduction - is transferring heat through a material by direct contact between particles.

Convection - is the process of heat transfer by the movement of fluids.

Radiation - is the transfer of heat by electromagnetic waves. This process does not require a material to be in contact with the object that is emitting the radiation. Radiation can travel through a vacuum, which makes it very efficient at transferring heat over long distances.

Ignition Temperature - The minimum temperature to which a fuel in air must be heated in order to start self-sustained combustion independent of the heating source.

Heat - The form of energy that raises temperature.  Heat is measured by the amount of work it does.

Heat of Decomposition -  The release of heat from decomposing compounds. These compounds may be unstable and release their heat very quickly or they may detonate.

Heat of Solution -  The heat released by the mixture of matter in a liquid.  Some acids, when dissolved, give off sufficient heat to pose exposure problems to nearby combustibles.

Mechanical Heat Energy

Frictional Heat - The heat generated by the movement between two objects in contact with each other.

Friction Sparks - The heat generated in the form of sparks from solid objects striking each other.  Most often at least one of the objects is metal.

Heat of Compression - The heat generated by the forced reduction of a gaseous volume.  Diesel engines ignite fuel vapor without a spark plug by the use of this principle.

Nuclear Fission and Fusion - The heat generated by either the splitting or combining of atoms.

Oxidation - The complex chemical reaction of organic material with oxygen or other oxidizing agents in the formation of more stable compounds.

Oxidizing Agents - are those materials that yield oxygen or other oxidizing gases during the course of a chemical reaction.

Oxygen Dilution - is the reduction of the oxygen concentration to
the fire area.

Phases of Fire
 Incipient Phase (Growth Stage)  
 Free-Burning Phase (Fully Developed Stage)
 Smoldering Phase (Decay Stage)

Products of Combustion

Fire gases

Pyrolysis (also known as thermal decomposition) - is defined as the chemical decomposition of matter through the action of heat.

RA 6975 - created the BFP.

Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) - administers and enforces the fire code of the Philippines. The Fire Bureau shall have the power to investigate all causes of fires and, if necessary, file the proper complaints with the city or provincial prosecutor who has jurisdiction over the case.

Chief of the Fire Bureau - rank is Director.
Deputy Chief for Administration of the Fire Bureau - 2nd highest officer in the BFP. Rank is Chief Superintendent.

Deputy Chief for Operation of the Fire Bureau - the 3rd highest officer in the BFP. Rank is Chief Superintendent.

Chief of Directorial Staff of the Fire Bureau - 4th highest officer in the BFP. Rank is Chief Superintendent.

Directors of the Directorates in the respective national headquarters office - rank is Senior Superintendent.

Regional Director for Fire Protection - The BFP  shall establish, operate and maintain their respective
regional offices in each of the administrative regions of the country. Rank is Senior Superintendent.
- He/She shall be respectively assisted by the following officers with the rank of Superintendent:
 Assistant Regional Director for Administration,
 Assistant Regional Director for Operations, and
 Regional Chief of Directorial Staff.
Assistant Regional Director for Fire Protection - The assistant heads of the Department's regional offices - rank is Senior Superintendent.

District Fire Marshall - the head of the NCR district offices - rank is Senior Superintendent.

Provincial Fire Marshall - the head of the provincial offices - rank is Superintendent.

District Fire Marshall - heads of the district offices - rank is Chief Inspector.

Chief of Municipal/City Fire Station - (also called City/Municipal Fire Marshall) - the head of the municipal or city stations - rank is Senior Inspector.

Fire Station - at least one in every provincial capital, city, and municipality.

LGU - (Local Government Unit) - shall provide the site of the Fire Station.

RA 9263 - This Act shall be known as the "Bureau of Fire Protection and Bureau of Jail Management and Penology Professionalization Act of 2004.

The BFP is headed by a Chief to be assisted by 2 deputy chiefs, 1 for administration and 1 for operation, all appointed by the President upon recommendation of the DILG Secretary from among qualified officers with at least the rank of Senior Superintendent in the service.

In no case shall any officer who has retired or is retirable within six (6) months from his/her compulsory retirement age be appointed as Chief of the Fire Bureau or Chief of the Jail Bureau.

The Chief of the Fire Bureau and Chief of the Jail Bureau shall serve a tour of duty not to exceed four (4) years.

The President may extend such tour of duty in times of war or other national emergency declared by Congress.

RA 9514 - This act shall be known as the fire code of the Philippines of 2008. An Act establishing a comprehensive fire code of the Philippines repealing PD 1185 and for other purposes.

Running - A fire rapidly spreading and with a well-defined head.

Smoldering  - A fire burning without flame and barely spreading.

Specific Gravity - the density of liquids in relation to water.

Spontaneous Heating - The heating of an organic substance without the addition of external heat. Spontaneous heating occurs most frequently where sufficient air is not present to dissipate the
heat produced.

Spotting - A fire producing firebrands carried by the surface wind, a fire whirl, and/or convection column that fall beyond the main fire area.

Temperature Reduction - method of extinguishing fire,  cooling the fuel with water to a point where it does not produce sufficient vapor to burn.

Torch or Torching - A single tree or a small clump of trees is said to "torch" when its foliage ignites and flares up, usually from bottom to top. (Synonym - Candle or Candling.)

Vapor Density - the density of a particular gas or vapor relative to that of hydrogen at the same pressure and temperature.

Definition of Terms Under RA 9514

Abatement - Any act that would remove or neutralize a fire hazard.

Administrator - Any person who acts as agent of the owner and manages the use of a building for him.

Blasting Agent - Any material or mixture consisting of a fuel and oxidizer used to set off explosives.

Cellulose Nitrate or Nitro Cellulose - A highly combustible and explosive compound produced by the reaction of nitric acid with a cellulose material.

Cellulose Nitrate Plastic (Pyroxylin) - Any plastic substance, materials, or compound having cellulose nitrate (nitro cellulose) as base.

Combustible, Flammable or Inflammable - Descriptive of materials that are easily set on fire.

Combustible Fiber - Any readily ignitable and free-burning fiber such as cotton, oakum, rags, waste cloth, waste paper, kapok, hay, straw, Spanish moss, excelsior, and other similar materials commonly
used in commerce.

Combustible Liquid - Any liquid having a flash point at or above 37.8 C (100 F).

Corrosive Liquid - Any liquid which causes fire when in contact with organic matter or with certain chemicals.

Curtain Board - A vertical panel of non-combustible or fire-resistive materials attached to and extending below the bottom chord of the roof trusses, to divide the underside of the roof into separate compartments so that heat and smoke will be directed upwards to a roof vent.

Cryogenic - Descriptive of any material which by its nature or as a result of its reaction with other elements produces a rapid drop in temperature of the immediate surroundings.

Damper - A normally open device installed inside an air duct system which automatically closes to restrict the passage of smoke or fire.

Distillation - The process of first raising the temperature in separate the more volatile from the less volatile parts and then cooling and condensing the resulting vapor so as to produce a nearly purified

Duct System - A continuous passageway for the transmission of air.

Dust - A finely powdered substance which, when mixed with air in the proper proportion and ignited will cause an explosion.

Electrical Arc - An extremely hot luminous bridge formed by passage of an electric current across a space between two conductors or terminals due to the incandescence of the conducting vapor.

Ember - A hot piece or lump that remains after a material has partially burned, and is still oxidizing without the manifestation of flames.

Finishes - Materials used as final coating of a surface for ornamental or protective purposes.

Fire - The active principle of burning, characterized by the heat and light of combustion.

Fire Trap - A building unsafe in case of fire because it will burn easily or because it lacks adequate exits or fire escapes.

Fire Alarm - Any visual or audible signal produced by a device or system to warm the occupants of the building or fire fighting elements of the presence or danger of fire to enable them to undertake immediate action to save life and property and to suppress the fire.

Fire Door - A fire resistive door prescribed for openings in fire separation walls or partitions.

Fire Hazard - Any condition or act which increases or may cause an increase in the probability of the occurrence of fire, or which may obstruct, delay, hinder, or interfere with firefighting operations
and the safeguarding of life and property.

Fire Lane - The portion of a roadway or public way that should be kept open and unobstructed at all times for the expedient operation of fire fighting units.

Fire Protective and Fire Safety Device - Any device intended for the protection of buildings or persons including but not limited to built-in protection systems such as sprinklers and other automatic
extinguishing system, detectors for heat, smoke and combustion products and other warning system components, personal protective equipment such as fire blankets, helmets, fire suits, gloves, and other
garments that may be put on or worn by persons to protect themselves during fire.

Fire Safety Constructions - Refers to design and installation of walls, barriers, doors, windows, vents, means of egress, etc. integral to and incorporated into a building or structure in order to minimize danger to life from fire, smoke, fumes or panic before the building is evacuated. These features are also designed to achieve, among others, safe and rapid evacuation of people through means of egress sealed
from smoke or fire, the confinement of fire or smoke in the room or floor of origin and delay their spread to other parts of the building by means of smoke sealed and fire resistant doors, walls, and floors. It shall also mean to include the treatment of buildings components or contents with flame retardant chemicals.

Flash Point - The minimum temperature at which any material gives off vapor in sufficient concentration to form an ignitable mixture with air.

Forcing - A process where a piece of metal is heated prior to changing its shape or dimensions.

Fulminate - A kind of stable explosive compound which explodes by percussion.

Hazardous Operation/Process - Any act of manufacturing, fabrication, conversion, etc., that uses or produces materials which are likely to cause fires or explosions.

Horizontal Exit - Passageway from one building to another or through or around a wall in approximately the same floor level.

Hose Box - A box or cabinet where fire hoses, valves and other equipment are stored and arranged for fire fighting.

Hose Reel - A cylindrical device turning on an axis around which a fire hose is wound and connected.

Hypergolic Fuel - A rocket or liquid propellant which consist of combinations of fuels and oxidizers which ignite spontaneously on contact with each other.

Industrial Baking and Drying - The industrial process of subjecting materials to heat for the purpose of removing solvents or moisture from the same, and/or to fuse certain chemical salts to form a uniform glazing the surface of materials being treated.

Jumper - A piece of metal or an electrical conductor used to bypass a safety device in an electrical system.

Occupancy - The purpose for which a building or portion thereof is used or intended to be used.

Occupant - Any person actually occupying and using a building or portions thereof by virtue of a lease contract with the owner or administrator or by permission or sufferance of the latter.

Organic Peroxide - A strong oxidizing organic compound which releases oxygen readily. It causes fire when in contact with combustible materials, especially under conditions of high temperature.

Overloading - The use of one or more electrical appliances or devices which draw or consume electrical current beyond the designed capacity of the existing electrical system.

Owner - The person who holds the legal right of possession or title to a building or real property.

Oxidizing Material - A material that readily yields oxygen in quantities sufficient to stimulate or support combustion.

Pressurized Or Forced Draft Burning Equipment - Type or burner where the fuel is subjected to pressure prior to discharge into the combustion chamber and/or which includes fans or other provisions for the introduction of air at above normal atmosphere pressure into the same combustion chamber.

Public Assembly Building - Any building or structure where fifty (50) or more people congregate, gather, or assemble for any purpose.

Public Way - Any street, alley or other strip of land unobstructed from the ground to the sky, deeded, dedicated or otherwise permanently appropriated for public use.

Pyrophoric - Descriptive of any substance that ignites spontaneously when exposed to air.

Refining - A process where impurities and/or deleterious materials are removed from a mixture in order to produce a pure element of compound. It shall also refer to partial distillation and electrolysis.

Self-Closing Doors - Automatic closing doors that are designed to confine smoke and heat and delay the spread of fire.

Smelting - Melting or fusing of metallic ores or compounds so as to separate impurities from pure metals.

Sprinkler System - An integrated network of hydraulically designed piping installed in a building, structure or area with outlets arranged in a systematic pattern which automatically discharges water
when activated by heat or combustion products from a fire.

Standpipe System - A system of vertical pipes in a building to which fire hoses can be attached on each floor, including a system by which water is made available to the outlets as needed.

Vestibule - A passage hall or antechamber between the outer doors and the interior parts of a house or building.

Vertical Shaft - An enclosed vertical space of passage that extends from floor to floor, as well as from the base to the top of the building.