Skip to page content
Fire Standards Board logo, click to return to homepage

Fire Investigation

Desired outcome

A fire and rescue service that delivers effective, efficient and Valid fire investigations into the origin, cause and development of fire to continually improve the safety of its community and its employees.

It has a competent and resilient capability to undertake fire investigations, either through direct employment or in collaboration with other services. It works with Interested parties so that investigations are consistently conducted in accordance with the relevant legislation, guidance and codes of practice and conduct.

A service that effectively collates and analyses information obtained through the fire investigation process which leads to:

  • a better understanding of the origin and cause of fire;
  • a better understanding of how buildings and people behave in relation to fire;
  • the identification of risks to inform its Community Risk Management Planning and contribute to the improvement of its prevention and protection strategies;
  • improvements to firefighter safety and operational response;
  • the identification and sharing of learning to continually improve local and national fire investigation practices; and
  • better support Justice system processes and other Interested parties or agencies, where appropriate.

A service, through having achieved the appropriate accreditation when required, may support the criminal justice system by undertaking investigations of deliberately caused fires. It may do this in conjunction with police crime scene investigators, other Interested parties or both.


Service Delivery

Business Area(s)


Date approved
Date issued
Review date
Reference number

What is required to meet the fire standard

A fire and rescue service must:

  1. investigate the cause and origin of fires, complying with the appropriate codes of practice and conduct, where relevant to the level of fire investigation it carries out. These may be:
    1. non-complex fire scenes (Tier 1 fire investigation); and/or
    2. complex fire scenes and non-terrorist explosions (Tier 2 fire investigation)
  2. report on and learn from the cause and behaviour of fires, working with others when appropriate, to:
    1. ensure its local risk profile remains current by building a comprehensive understanding of existing, emerging and future risks within its community;
    2. contribute to the continual improvement of prevention, protection and operational response activities, at both local and national level; and
    3. contribute to and support national fire safety campaigns
  3. collate and analyse information gathered during fire investigation work and be able to present it to a variety of interested parties, in a timely manner
  4. ensure all information gathered is quality assured
  5. undertake workforce planning, including succession planning, to clarify the resources required to maintain a fire investigation capability equipped to conduct effective fire investigations and associated work
  6. collaborate with other fire and rescue services and Interested parties to deliver fire investigation activities in the most efficient, effective and valid way possible
  7. recruit, train, develop and maintain a competent and professional fire investigation workforce by:
    1. aligning to the NFCC Fire Investigation Competency Framework;
    2. embedding the appropriate codes of practice and conduct into local policies, procedures, tailored guidance, and training materials; and
    3. recording and monitoring competence
  8. provide ongoing training and sufficient support during working hours that encourages and enables its fire investigators to:
    1. maintain competence appropriate to their role;
    2. maintain compliance with appropriate legislation, codes of practice and conduct relating to fire investigation and forensic guidance;
    3. undertake role related administrative duties and reporting obligations associated with the role; and
    4. maintain continuous professional development
  9. where it carries out Tier 2 fire investigations and its fire investigators prepare and present evidence for the justice systems, it:
    1. provides specialist training to fire investigation employees to enable them to effectively present their evidence in a range of court environments; and
    2. ensures fire investigation employees remain compliant with the relevant legislation and codes of practice
  10. supply the appropriate equipment for fire investigators to effectively carry out their role
  11. provide post-incident mental and physical health and wellbeing support to its fire investigators
  12. demonstrate inclusivity by recognising the diversity of its community and providing Equality of Access to fire investigation services
  13. demonstrate how it monitors and evaluates the effectiveness and efficiency of its fire investigation activities
  14. generate a culture which embraces national and organisational learning, allowing it to identify and capture feedback from a range of sources; evaluate, share and act upon this feedback to drive innovation, continuous improvement and enhance future performance

Expected benefits of achieving the fire standard

  1. Improved community safety and wellbeing as a consequence of identifying risk and communicating product safety issues, leading to a reduction in incidents, injuries and fatalities.
  2. Improved safety, mental health and wellbeing of employees.
  3. Improved competency in the fire investigation workforce.
  4. Improved evaluation to increase the efficiency and effectiveness of fire investigation activities.
  5. Improved targeting of Prevention and Protection activities through learning derived from fire investigation.
  6. Increased level of assurance to the community, police forces, justice systems and other Interested parties on the outcomes of fire investigations.
  7. Improved consistency in approach to fire investigation across fire and rescue services in England, contributing to improved collaboration and sharing of learning.

Glossary of terms

Justice system processes

This encompasses all processes related to the justice system, including (but not limited to) coroners court.

Valid fire investigations

The methodology used to conduct fire investigations, ensuring and evidencing accuracy and logic.

Equality of Access

The responsibility of ensuring all services and information provided by a fire and rescue service to the public or within their organisation, is inclusive and accessible.

Interested parties

These may be any person(s), stakeholders or organisations that work with or are impacted by Fire Investigation teams.

Quality assurance

The quality assurance of the conclusions reached in a Fire Investigation and the process and methodology used.

Quality assurance is achieved through peer and critical findings reviews and are detailed within the relevant codes.

Sustainable fire investigation workforce

A workforce that through considered capacity planning and with the right support and training mechanisms in place, can meet the current and future demands of the Fire Investigation function. Employee retention and attendance is good, and employees are productive.

Download Implementation Tool View Consultation

You Said, We did

If you have taken part in a consultation, you may be interested to read our post-consultation “You said, we did” report to see how your feedback has shaped this Fire Standard.

Fire Investigation Fire Standard

Note Please contact the Fire Standards team within the NFCC for any queries or support with regards to this Fire Standard [email protected]

    Stay informed

    For the latest news from the Fire Standards Board sign up for regular updates.

    By contacting us via email, letter or phone, you give us consent to use your data to reply to your query. We will not contact you for any other purpose nor share your personal data with any Third-Party organisations. To know more about how what data we keep and how we use it, please read our Privacy Policy