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Expert comments: Oleksandr Shmereho on the current state and prospects of fire research

Oleksandr Shmereho, Head of the Life Safety, Fire and Electrical and Electrical Engineering Research Department of the Laboratory of Engineering and Technical Types of Research of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise of the Ministry of Justice of Ukraine, gave comments to the “Pozhtechbezpeka” (in English means “fire and technical safety”).

Oleksandr Shmereho, the expert of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise told reporters about the current state and prospects for the development of fire research. Therefore, according to Oleksandr Shmereho, the investigation of the fire begins from the moment when the fire and rescue unit was notified of its occurrence: “Actually, the primary document that records the fact of the fire is the Fire Act. Usually, it is composed of the rescuers who arrived at the scene. This is the main baseline for further expert research. It must be first indicated the cause of the fire. Depending on the severity of the emergency, specialists from the Ministry of Internal Affairs may be involved in its investigation”.

The expert of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise noted that fires have been and will always be, because of all man-made and natural disasters, this is not a vulnerability factor in the environment, all living things. Therefore, it is necessary to systematically and professionally respond to such challenges, take into account the advantages and risks of using new technologies and modern building materials, regularly update methods and, on their basis, develop and implement appropriate security measures.

“I have the right to say so on the basis of almost 50 years of my own experience. During this time, it was necessary not only to investigate fires, but also to take a direct part in its extinguishing, to develop appropriate solutions to minimize negative factors, so that in the future they will not create grounds for the occurrence of fires. And if a fire did break out, the consequences would not be so disastrous,” Oleksandr Shmereho noted.

During the conversation, the forensic expert also spoke about his own experience of cooperation with foreign colleagues in the development of international cooperation of the Kyiv Scientific Research Institute of Forensic Expertise.

“Last year, as part of the exchange of experience, I visited the city of Košice (Slovakia). … The scheme is about the same as ours. However, our Slovak colleagues do not analyze as deeply as we, forensic experts do. They focus on the interaction of three main factors that create the conditions for the occurrence of combustion: combustible substances, an oxidizer and an ignition source. In addition, they define a fire as criminal, because of deliberate actions or technical, not criminal. Another difference is that dog handlers with dogs trained to search for flammable substances must go to all fires. I personally saw how the four-legged “expert” “examined” the burnt-out stone crusher: the dog stopped exactly at the place where the fire occurred, and then showed another place where the oil leak occurred. To my surprise, the dog, after a command from the dog handler to search, came to the place where the fire started. No flammable liquid was used to set the fire, the cause of the fire was associated with a malfunction of the diode unit of the generator rectifier,” Oleksandr Shmereho said.

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