About the FIAI and Fire Investigation in Ireland
The Fire Investigators Association of Ireland – (Cumann Imscrúdaitheorí Dóiteán na hÉireann) was formed in April 2004 and became a chartered chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) in May 2004 at their Annual Training Conference / Annual General Meeting in Washington D.C. U.S.A. We are formally called IAAI Ireland – Éire – Chapter 68 within the IAAI.
The Fire Investigators Association of Ireland is a cross border association and has members from Northern Ireland and the Republic of Ireland. This is a unique relationship that has been fostered at the time the Association was started and is also unique within the IAAI as the only chapter that has two jurisdictions working as one chapter. In comparison to other chapters within the IAAI Global family we are small chapter with a current membership of 50.
The FIAI committee comprises of members from a number of professions including Fire, Police, Forensic, Insurance, Military, legal, and educational disciplines. All committee members volunteer their time to supporting the advancement of fire investigation across the island of Ireland. All committee members must be members of the IAAI to serve.
The FIAI have a very close relationship with the UK chapter of the IAAI and an initiative launched in December 2005 by both chapters now allows IAAI UK members based in Northern Ireland to join the FIAI Ireland Chapter without charge. Members in the Republic of Ireland have membership access to the UK chapter website. The UK chapter magazine includes one page devoted to the FIAI. These special agreements demonstrate a special friendship between the two chapters and this unique arrangement is a first within the IAAI. Additionally both chapter committees meet at the end of each year to discuss issues of mutually benefit.
The Fire Investigators Association of Ireland is dedicated to working with all professional bodies and stakeholders within the fire industry and relevant public and statutory services to determine accurately the origin, cause and development of fires and/or explosions. Our Association has produced a comprehensive Strategic and Action Plans designed to move fire investigation forward on the island of Ireland.
The International Association of Arson Investigators was formed in 1949 and current membership consists of approximately 9,000 fire investigation professionals from around the world, united by a strong commitment to the suppression of the crime of arson and conduct good quality fire investigations ( www.firearson.com). Members are bound by a professional code of ethics ( IAAI code of ethics)The IAAI publication, “The Fire and Arson Investigator,” contains articles by some of the leading experts in the profession, and is published quarterly.
Currently the thirty-seven fire authorities (29 brigades) within the Republic of Ireland have a minimal input into the discipline of investigating fires. This mainly comprises of operational fire officers conducting a basic scene investigation in an effort to determine an origin and cause. This function is carried out for the purposes of completing initial fire reports. None of these officers receive certified fire investigation training. The result of this deficit is manifested somewhat in the Fire Statistics compiled within Ireland (Department of Environments Statistics) The FIAI hope to effect a change to this situation as well as promoting the training of Certified Fire Investigators in Ireland.
The Fire and Rescue service in Northern Ireland is a single fire department and is currently developing their fire investigation skills with dedicated personnel. There has been an increased impetus in specialist training for fire officers as a result of recent fire legislation that now requires the NIFRS to determine the origin, cause and development of fires. It is hoped that similar changes will emerge within the Republic of Ireland and as already stated the FIAI intend to seek such a position.
The FIAI committee meets on a quarterly basis. Our policy is to meet across in different locations on the Island. Our Annual General Meeting is held in early in year. The location alternates currently between Dublin and Belfast.