Fire Investigation Unit
The mission of the Redlands Fire Department Investigation Unit is to determine the origin and cause of all fires and provide the appropriate documentation. To identify and apprehend those persons responsible for the commission of arson and crimes related to arson. The Investigation Unit provides continuous education and public awareness to both internal and external customers of the City of Redlands.
The Shift Investigation Unit is a multi-functional team assembled to determine the origin and cause of fires and document various scenes including hazardous materials incidents and spilled loads when needed. The Team is designed to provide scene investigation/documentation and conduct follow-up investigations and interviews when necessary. The Shift Investigation Unit also is charged with reducing the arson incident rate within the City of Redlands. The Unit is proactive in identifying possible arson trends. The Unit interacts with various agencies to assure the primary goal is achieved. The Shift Investigation Unit also compiles cost recovery information and assists Fire Prevention with specialized inspections.
The Investigation Unit is comprised of the Chief Investigator and four Shift Investigators. The responsibilities of the Chief Investigator include planning and directing the activities of the Shift Investigation Unit and keeping Fire Administration updated of the team status. The Chief Investigator will oversee the operations of the team and assure the Fire Department needs are being met through planning, goal setting, implementation, and evaluation. The Shift Investigators have completed the requirements for State Fire Marshal Level One or Two Fire Investigator certification. The Shift Investigator can take a lead role in scene investigations without supervision as well as the follow up of said case. The Shift Investigator is expected to attend training sessions, meetings and provide training for on-duty fire personnel.
Investigators are assigned to cases as needed and provide appropriate documentation. The Shift Investigation unit may also be called upon to provide additional services to the department when needed. This may include certificate of occupancy inspections, background investigations, and crime scene investigations of illegal dumping of hazardous materials. The Shift Investigation Unit specializes in “documentation” and can be utilized anytime documentation is needed.
Mutual Aid and Arson Task Force Response
The Redlands Fire Department participates in the San Bernardino County Fire-Arson Investigators Association established by the CONFIRE Chiefs, as well as the East Valley Investigation Network. These organizations were established to improve the communication between the local fire agencies, law enforcement agencies, and insurance providers. The Redlands Fire Department Shift Investigation Unit can provide investigation services to neighboring communities when requested. The Redlands Fire Department can request the assistance of neighboring communities when additional investigators are needed or the Redlands Team is committed.
The Shift Investigation Unit will provide training to fire department personnel in such areas as origin and cause determination, scene preservation, fire scene investigation, vehicle fires and report writing. The training needs of the department will be periodically evaluated and training will be provided as needed. The Shift Investigation Unit takes part in constant training to stay up to date with current investigative techniques. Redlands has also played host to many multi-agency training classes attended by private, insurance, and Fire Department Investigators from all over the state.
Public Awareness Training
The Shift Investigation Unit provides public awareness training regarding arson problems, illegal fireworks, and Juvenile Fire Setters Program. Local media avenues such as newspapers, local access channel and informational flyers are used to educate and inform the public. The Investigation Unit interacts with the homeowner and insurance companies to provide information when appropriate.