Training - Webinar

Date: Wed May 9, 2018 12:00 PM - 1:00 PM EDT - REGISTER

Presenter:  Paul Okrutny, B.Eng. & Soc., M.Sc., P.Eng., Forensic Engineer, Materials Failure

Title:  Bias in its’ many forms and how it may influence the Fire/Forensic Investigator


With the introduction of NFPA 921 some years ago, the fire investigation profession committed itself to conducting scientific investigations, with the result of a marked improvement in the reliability of origin and cause investigations.  NFPA 921 discusses several forms of bias and requires that we avoid presumption.

In the quest to be unbiased, we must not simply desire or declare that we are unbiased, we must be aware of the innate human biases which exist amongst us so that we can actually rid our work from bias. In order to be truly unbiased, we need to better understand not just the subject matter, we need to better understand ourselves.

Join this webinar where we discuss the short cuts people take in their personal lives and how these short cuts can affect their professional lives. These short cuts are called innate human biases. The short cuts are acceptable in personal lives, such as following a crowd out of a busy subway station without actually looking for the exit signs ourselves, but these short cuts can creep into professional lives during investigations.  Analogous to the subway example, following other investigators during an investigation does not lead to an independent solution. Following the other investigators just leads to a solution. A solution that is not independent is often worse than no solution at all.

NFPA 921 specifically discusses biases to guard from for fire investigators which include Expectation Bias, Contextual Bias and Confirmation Bias.  Awareness of these short cuts is a step forward to ensuring we eliminate these short cuts from our profession.