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By Vera Shakari, Fire Forensics Trainee Fire Investigator

The first day of training week was great. I was able to meet Jim and Keith in person for the first time since I started training with Fire Forensics, as this was prevented in the past due to Covid restrictions.


The day was catered to learning more about electrical fires, which was organised by both John Lording (VIC) and Michael Weekes (VIC), who presented about how the change in AUS standards have been pivotal in the decreased frequency of electrical fires there have been throughout the years. The presentation also highlighted arc mapping, common breakers and wiring systems used in structures as well as different components of an electrical service panel and how each component is wired in conjunction with each other.


After the presentation we had a delicious lunch at a nearby Thai restaurant where I got to learn more about Jim, Keith and Michael.


Post-lunch, a visual demonstration was conducted by Michael displaying how a residual current device works. He also simulated some high-resistance heating in insulated wires, switches and power boards.


What followed was afternoon tea and a presentation from John Lording involving previous electrical fire case studies.


Following the very educational day was dinner at Osso Penrith where we gathered for great streaks and drinks to say thanks to John and Michael as well as welcome the VIC and WA team members.


The second day started off with getting some coffee with the team, which then continued into some friendly competition, where all fire investigators submitted a copy of their notes for the rest of us to lightly critique and learn from. This was a great exercise as everyone had their own way of note-taking. As a trainee, it was helpful to see what I could personally incorporate into my own set of notes in the future.


As we were finishing up with the notes competition, our photographer arrived to set up an in-house studio so we could take our new individual headshots and team photos. After almost being dropped by the team in our group photos, it was time for lunch!


When we got back, meetings were held in relation to upkeeping our ISO accreditation, whilst Ellie and I worked on organising our exhibit storage unit.


We ended the day with some team bonding and more friendly competition in the form of barefoot bowls and dinner. Shout out to Keith’s team for winning and Ellie for then beating Keith in the one on one!


On our last day, Ellie and I got to the warehouse extra early to continue organising the storage unit. This was happening as more management and ISO meetings were taking place. In the arvo, it was then time to clean and organise the rest of the warehouse which took us to the end of the day.


I just want to thank the team and Michael for coming out to NSW and making it such an educational and enjoyable week. It was lovely to finally meet everyone after a long time coming with juggling Covid over the past year.

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