Incident Investigations Locked Down

April 23, 2020

Collecting & preserving evidence from fires and explosions during COVID-19

Valuable evidence from fires and explosions deteriorates over time, making it important to document the scene and preserve physical evidence soon after the incident. Typically, multiple parties need to be involved, but today, travel restrictions, business closures, stay-at-home orders, and the need for social distancing in response to COVID-19 make it difficult to perform multiparty inspections. This, however, continues to be an essential business need.

With hundreds of consultants in dozens of disciplines based in 23 locations across the country, Exponent is uniquely positioned to investigate fires and explosions before the loss of potentially important physical evidence while following local and state-specific orders and health and safety guidance. Additionally, Exponent engineers have unique tools for thoroughly documenting an incident scene and physical evidence that can enable other parties to view this process in real time or later, even if they cannot be present at the inspection due to current restrictions and guidance.

Exponent consultants are trained in the photo documentation of scenes as well as laser scanning and drone imaging. Exponent labs, which are open, offer advanced non-destructive examination equipment including computed tomography (CT) scanners that can interrogate internal components of evidence to alleviate the need for some multi-party destructive examinations. This allows other parties to observe inspections in Exponent's labs remotely, allowing them to view evidence as well as images on laboratory equipment such as scanning electron microscopes and CTs.