In Fire Investigation Reports: The Key to Writing a Quality Report fire expert witness and Principal of Pyrocop, Inc., Robert Rowe “Who is your audience?”
When writing a fire investigation report, the fire investigator should determine who the target audience will be (i.e. attorneys, insurance companies, public entities, etc.) and write the report for that particular audience. Remember, the person reading the report may know nothing about fire investigation.
The fire investigator must also avoid terminology that only fire investigators understand. If you do use terminology known only to fire experts, then be sure to explain the terms. Below are a few examples;
– “V patterns.” Explain that these patterns point toward the area of origin – “Alligatoring” Explain that you found a pattern which is typical of the use of accelerants.
Try to avoid terminology that cannot be explained such as “There was a strong Ethylene odor in the room”. It is difficult to describe an Ethylene odor and even more difficult for the reader to comprehend.