This past Friday, the Texas Supreme Court issued its opinion in Gharda USA, Inc. and Gharda Chemicals, Ltd. v. Control Solutions, Inc., United Phosphorus, Inc., and Mark Boyd; a case that will provide defendants with additional ammunition to attack subrogation claims involving fire losses.
The Gharda case involves a warehouse fire with a complex causation theory involving testimony from several experts, including two fire investigators, two chemists, and an electrical engineer. The fire investigators based their opinions on the opinions of the two chemists.
This recall involves Kaldi’s Coffee disposable paper cup sleeves used with 12- and 16-ounce paper cups. The black paper cup sleeves have the “Kaldi’s Coffee” and the company logo printed on the front, and “100% Recycled Paperboard” printed on the back.
Read the full article at CPSC
What is an E-Cigarette?
The e-cigarette, also called a personal vaporizer (PV) or electronic nicotine delivery system, is a battery-powered device that simulates tobacco smoking by producing a heated vapor, which resembles smoke. These devices have become very popular as an alternative to smoking, including among a growing number of individuals who have never been smokers but who enjoy the many flavors and/or the experience of using e-cigarettes.
by Thomas P. Shefchick
Forensic electrical engineering is the practicalapplication of electrical engineering knowledge tolegal questions about electrical phenomena. Practicalelectrical engineering knowledge is obtained fromexperience in designing, installing, maintainingand repairing electrical devices, appliances, andequipment. Reports, demonstrations, depositions,and court testimony are used to explain electricalphenomena to insurers, attorneys, arbitrators, judges,and juries. The area of practice extends from softwarefor computers to the generation and distributionof electrical power, which might be controlled bysoftware, and to consumer products.The electrical engineer explains how the electricalsoftware, equipment, or device functions normallyand why it malfunctioned, violated a copyright, orfailed in this instance causing damage, financial loss,injury, or death. In some instances, the electricalengineer might be retained by a client to verify thatelectricity was not involved with the cause of afire, damage, or injury. Quite frequently, electricalengineers must use mechanical, thermodynamic, andoptical knowledge to answer questions since thegeneration, distribution, and utilization of electricalpower involves mechanical components, which canproduce heat and light.
In the new issue of NFPA Journal®, President Jim Shannon said the Association will focus on the leading causes of home fires, including cooking. "We also need to continue to push hard for home fire sprinklers. That's still a large priority for NFPA, and we plan to work very aggressively in 2014 on our residential sprinkler initiative," he said.
NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations plays a fundamental role in fire and explosion investigations. A new edition of NFPA 921 is scheduled to be published in 2014. For years, this document has played a critical role in the training, education and job performance of fire and explosion investigators. It also serves as one of the primary references used by the National Fire Academy to support its fire/arson-related training and education programs. It is imperative that investigators understand the scope, purpose and application of this document, especially since it will be used to judge the quality and thoroughness of their investigations.
Cathleen E. Corbitt-Dipierro
Stonehouse Media Incorporated
Smartphones are quickly taking over the US cellular phone hardware market — iPhone, Droid, Blackberry, Palm, just to name a few brands. With their advanced computing capability, smartphones are enabling users to perform more and more tasks on their phone than just the simple calling and texting. This computing power is harnessed by “apps,” which are application software programs used on smartphones.
For the fire investigator, the smartphone can become a handy tool in your daily work, but only if you know how to outfit it. This article highlights some of the core apps that fire investigators can use every day to assist in managing their investigative and administrative work. One caution before we begin: the investigator should be aware that any investigative information kept on your smartphone is not secure and also may be discoverable in a future legal proceeding. For that reason, we’ve confined the discussion of apps in this article to those where case-based investigative information is not stored or shared. At all times, exercise the utmost caution with investigative information.
Most weather apps have auto location based on the GPS signal from your phone, meaning that the app knows where you are and provides the weather data for that location. You can also lookup weather for a different area and program a favorites list for different locations you travel to repeatedly. Mapping Mapping applications, many of which are GPS-based, have both administrative and investigative value. Using the GPS in the phone and the mapping app, you are able to:
Mapping can also be used in other apps that help you find traffic, tides, mass transit, or parking information.
Remember that any information gleaned from one of these apps should be verified with another source. Roads change, streets are temporarily closed, and other events occur that may make the situation on the ground not the same as it is in a published map.
Administrative Management There are a wide variety of management and productivity apps that can help you organize your daily tasks, including:
Take a little time to think about the administrative tasks you do every day and then search the available apps for your device to see what’s out there to help you manage and streamline the administrative process. Incident Management There are several Incident Command System apps that can help the investigator handle large incidents, including the National Incident Management System (NIMS) components, concepts, and planning forms. Some of the ICS apps also provide an interactive look at the chain of command structure, which can assist with proper reporting at the scene. Scene Safety There are a number of apps available, and more are under development, that assist the investigator in working safely at the scene. Some examples of currently available scene safety apps include:
These apps can assist in identifying hazards at the scene and provide information on how to respond to the identified hazard.
Locators There are a number of locator apps available that can help the investigator find businesses nearby. Some locator apps also provide ratings and reviews for these businesses. A locator app works by using the GPS in the smartphone to determine your location, and then searching a database of nearby businesses that fit the criteria you enter, which is typically a category of business or government, and sometimes augmented with additional search filters, such as distance, price, or number of “stars.” These locator apps can be extremely helpful when you are not familiar with the location and can assist you in both physical comfort and investigative ways.
Some examples of what you can find with locator apps include:
There are also people locator apps, including offender and sex offender locator apps.
You should be aware that the locator app databases may not be definitive or complete and any information should always be confirmed with another source.
There are thousands of apps and more are being released every day. Set aside some time to browse through the apps available for your smartphone and think through how they might assist you in the field. Be sure to keep your apps up to date and periodically look for new apps that have been released and may be beneficial to you. Put your smartphone to work for you and you can work more efficiently, safely, and thoroughly.
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