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Fire Scene Evidence Collection Guide

Electrical Equipment and Products

This section details how to properly locate, document, collect, label, package, store, and preserve four major types of electrical equipment and products during fire scene evidence collection and for subsequent use in testing or legal proceedings.


A wide array of electrical equipment and products may be present at a fire scene. Electrical equipment and products evidence includes receptacles, extension cords, relocatable power taps, small appliances, and smoke detectors. Electrical equipment and products are often examined by an expert with specialized experience. It is easy to unintentionally compromise the evidentiary value of electrical equipment and products during fire scene evidence collection if the items are not handled properly. Do not attempt to operate electrical equipment or products obtain information from them in the field. If you have questions or concerns about a particular electrical equipment or product, consult your laboratory prior to touching the device.


Whether the electrical product is plugged in and the state of damage are key factors in determining which evidence collection procedure to use. Collecting, packaging, and transporting electrical equipment and products as evidence must be done properly or the evidentiary value may be compromised. Remember to photograph and document the electrical equipment or product in place prior to collection. Follow the procedures in this section to implement fire scene evidence collection best practices for electrical equipment and products. If you are unsure which electrical equipment and products fire scene evidence collection procedure to use or do not have sufficient experience to execute the procedure, consult your laboratory prior to collection.


Select a type of evidence to review its collection and packaging procedures.

Remember to also review the Checklists prior to collection and prior to releasing the scene.

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