Aspen Claims Service

NFPA 921 Standards Have Changed: What Every Claims Adjuster Should Know

 Friday, October 1, 2021

 Matthiesen, Wickert & Lehrer, S.C.

In 1992, the National Fire Protection Association created a set of investigative guidelines that was published as ‘NFPA 921: Guide for Fire and Explosive Investigations.’ The guide is widely used by both public and private fire investigators.

It describes in detail the scientific method and how to specifically apply the method in the context of fire and explosion investigations.

Over time, the guidelines have grown to include not just guidelines for determining the origin and cause of fires, but also the collection and handling of physical evidence, as well as chapters focusing on motor vehicle fires, wildfires, and appliances.

NFPA 921 is generally regarded as the standard of care in fire investigation. Technically its provisions are still simply guidelines, but they are considered authoritative and utilized by many courts when determining the sufficiency and admissibility of expert opinions.

Compliance with these guidelines is considered necessary in order to prepare an admissible expert opinion. The admissibility of an expert opinion also requires that the expert be qualified.
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