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Fire Scene Evidence Collection Guide


Liquid Paint


Detailed Procedure:


To collect liquid paint:

  1. Photograph the item in place.

  2. Wear new, unused, clean latex or nitrile gloves.

  3. If possible, submit liquid paint in its original container. Select appropriate packaging for the item (eg: box, paper bag, or plastic bag). If the container may bear fingerprints, take measures (eg: secure with cable ties) to ensure that the container does not rub against the surface of the evidence packaging. Continue with Step 5 below.

  4. If the liquid paint cannot be collected in its original container, use a new, clean eyedropper or other tool to collect a sample. Place the liquid sample in a vapor-tight vial or can. Continue with Step 5 below.

  5. Seal the evidence packaging with evidence tape. Initial and date the tape.

  6. Label the evidence packaging with identifying information, including case number, date, exhibit number, a brief description, and your name. DO NOT PLACE EVIDENCE LABELS DIRECTLY ON THE SURFACE OF ORIGINAL PAINT CONTAINERS.

  7. Store the item in a secure location, such as a locked evidence van or your vehicle, until you are able to transport it to the laboratory.

Laboratory testing of liquid paint:

Paint can be analyzed to determine class characteristics (color, chemical and elemental composition). Questioned and known samples can be associated on these bases.


Crime Scene and Evidence Collection Handbook. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, 2005.


"SWGMAT Web Site." Scientific Working Group for Materials Analysis, Website, July 1, 2013.

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