SAQA All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.
SOUTH AFRICAN QUALIFICATIONS AUTHORITY 
REGISTERED UNIT STANDARD: 

Demonstrate an understanding of forensic fire investigation 
SAQA US ID UNIT STANDARD TITLE
244149  Demonstrate an understanding of forensic fire investigation 
ORIGINATOR
SGB Forensic Science 
PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QUALITY ASSURANCE FUNCTIONARY
-  
FIELD SUBFIELD
Field 08 - Law, Military Science and Security Safety in Society 
ABET BAND UNIT STANDARD TYPE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL CREDITS
Undefined  Regular  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5 
REGISTRATION STATUS REGISTRATION START DATE REGISTRATION END DATE SAQA DECISION NUMBER
Reregistered  2018-07-01  2023-06-30  SAQA 06120/18 
LAST DATE FOR ENROLMENT LAST DATE FOR ACHIEVEMENT
2024-06-30   2027-06-30  

In all of the tables in this document, both the pre-2009 NQF Level and the NQF Level is shown. In the text (purpose statements, qualification rules, etc), any references to NQF Levels are to the pre-2009 levels unless specifically stated otherwise.  

This unit standard does not replace any other unit standard and is not replaced by any other unit standard. 

PURPOSE OF THE UNIT STANDARD 
This unit standard is intended for learners who will be required to demonstrate knowledge and understanding of elementary principles of identification of ignitable propellants from a scene of a fire for court purposes and investigative purposes.

On completion of this unit standard the learner will have knowledge about identifying the origin of fire and how to conclude on a probable cause of fire during a forensic science investigation. Learners will have an understanding of the elementary concepts of fire scene evaluation and investigation and the types of evidence collected and preserved in order to identify the cause of a fire. They will also understand the elementary chemical principles of fire to understand the types of examinations and analysis performed in order to determine the identification of flammable residues.

A person credited with this unit standard will be able to:
  • Demonstrate an understanding of the elementary concepts of the chemistry of fire.
  • Explain the causes of fire.
  • Demonstrate knowledge of fire scene evaluation.
  • Explain the elementary principles of analysis of fire debris residues. 

  • LEARNING ASSUMED TO BE IN PLACE AND RECOGNITION OF PRIOR LEARNING 
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic science", ID. 242712.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of the specialised fields in forensic science", ID 242708.
  • "Demonstrate an understanding of forensic chemistry analysis".
  • Communication at NQF Level 4.
  • Physical Science at NQF Level 4.
  • Mathematics at NQF Level 4. 

  • UNIT STANDARD RANGE 
    N/A 

    Specific Outcomes and Assessment Criteria: 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 1 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the elementary concepts of the chemistry of fire. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    The elementary chemical reaction of fire is explained according to thermodynamic principles. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Chemical reaction of fire refers to but is not limited to:
  • Oxidation, energy, heat of combustion, glowing combustion, spontaneous combustion, exothermic, endothermic, ignition temperature, range of ignitable liquids and oxidizing agents.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The fire tertrahedron is explained according to the components of the combustion reaction. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Components of the combustion reaction here refer to but are not limited to:
  • Fuel, oxidizing agent, heat, self sustained chemical reaction.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    The mechanisms of heat transfer are explained in context to the forensic investigation of fire. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Mechanisms of heat transfer here refer to but are not limited to:
  • Conduction, convection, radiation.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Factors determining the rate of reaction in fire are explained in terms of fuel in the gas, liquid and solid state. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 2 
    Explain the causes of fire. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Causes of fires are explained in context to fire investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Causes refer to but are not limited to:
  • Arson, electricity, natural and undetermined fires.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    The investigation of the area external to the fire scene is described in order to identify the cause and origin of fire. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Methods to determine the origin of fire are explained in context to a forensic fire investigation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Methods refer to but are not limited to:
  • Direct methods (observing, incident reconstruction, deduction) and indirect methods (expert witness, interviewing of eye witnesses).
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Factors affecting the accuracy of origin determination are explained in forensic fire investigations. 

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 3 
    Demonstrate knowledge of fire scene evaluation. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Elementary terminology and concepts of fire evaluation are described in context to a forensic fire investigation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Fire scene evaluation refer to but are not limited to:
  • Reasons to set fire (insurance fraud fires, fires started by business rivals, employees, political activists, criminals, children, vandals, attention seekers, mentally deranged persons) and fire classification (accidental fires, natural fires, incendiary fires and undetermined fires), fatal fires.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Collection, preservation and transport of fire evidence are explained according to forensic fire evidence requirements. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Evidence refers to but is not limited to:
  • Fire debris, liquid, solids, empty containers, clothing and electrical wire.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Procedures for handling human remains at a fire scene are described. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 4 
    Reconstruction of a fire scene is evaluated in order to establish evidential value. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
  • Evidential value here refers to the whole scene.
  • Reconstruction includes the assessment of a scene.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 5 
    Health and safety requirements are explained for fire scene of incidence investigations. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Health and safety requirements must include the clean-up of the fire scene.
     

    SPECIFIC OUTCOME 4 
    Explain the elementary principles of analysis of fire debris residues. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERIA
     

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 1 
    Elementary principles of ignitable liquid identification are explained in context to forensic fire investigations. 

    ASSESSMENT CRITERION 2 
    Screening tests used for presumptive ignitable liquid identification are described in a given situation. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Screening tests refer to but are not limited to:
  • Thermal desorption and headspace analysis.
     

  • ASSESSMENT CRITERION 3 
    Confirmation testing is explained in context to screening testing. 
    ASSESSMENT CRITERION RANGE 
    Confirmation testing refers to instrumental analysis to identify a specific substance and here is not limited to:
  • Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC-MS), ion chromatography (IC), tandem gas chromatography mass spectroscopy (GC-GC-MS).
     


  • UNIT STANDARD ACCREDITATION AND MODERATION OPTIONS 
  • Any individual who wishes to be assessed against this unit standard (including assessment of RPL) may apply to an assessment agency, assessor or provider institution accredited by the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Anyone assessing a learner against this unit standard must be registered as an assessor with the relevant ETQA, or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA. Assessors must be competent in the outcome of the unit standard.
  • Any institution offering learning that will enable achievement of this unit standard or assessing this unit standard must be accredited as a provider with the relevant ETQA or with an ETQA that has a Memorandum of Understanding with the relevant ETQA.
  • Moderation of assessment will be conducted by the relevant ETQA according to the moderation guidelines in the relevant qualification and the relevant ETQA procedures. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ESSENTIAL EMBEDDED KNOWLEDGE 
  • Current and as amended Civil Proceedings Evidence Act (Act 25 of 1965).
  • Current and as amended Section 212(4) (a) of the Criminal Procedure Act (Act 51 of 1977).
  • Current relevant occupational health and safety legislation.
  • Elementary concepts of chemistry.
  • Elementary knowledge of laboratory environments and laboratory equipment and consumables.
  • Elementary concepts of forensic science investigations.
  • Elementary concepts of crime scene investigation and reconstruction. 

  • UNIT STANDARD DEVELOPMENTAL OUTCOME 
    N/A 

    UNIT STANDARD LINKAGES 
    N/A 


    Critical Cross-field Outcomes (CCFO): 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO IDENTIFYING 
    Identify and solve problems in which responses display that responsible decisions, using critical thinking, have been made. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO WORKING 
    Work effectively with others as a member of a team, group, organisation or community. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO ORGANISING 
    Organise and manage oneself and one's activities responsibly and effectively. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COLLECTING 
    Collect, analyse, organise and critically evaluate information. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO COMMUNICATING 
    Communicate effectively using visual, mathematical, and/or language skills in the modes of written and/or oral presentation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO SCIENCE 
    Use science and technology effectively and critically, show responsibility towards the environment and the health of others. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO DEMONSTRATING 
    Demonstrate an understanding of the world as a set of related systems by recognising that problem-solving contexts do not exist in isolation. 

    UNIT STANDARD CCFO CONTRIBUTING 
    Contribute to the full personal development of each learner and the social and economic development of the society at large, by making it the underlying intention of any programme of learning to make an individual aware of the importance of:
  • Reflecting on and exploring a variety of strategies to learn more effectively.
  • Participating as responsible citizens in the life of local, national and global communities.
  • Being culturally and aesthetically sensitive across a range of social contexts. 

  • UNIT STANDARD ASSESSOR CRITERIA 
    N/A 

    REREGISTRATION HISTORY 
    As per the SAQA Board decision/s at that time, this unit standard was Reregistered in 2012; 2015. 

    UNIT STANDARD NOTES 
    Glossary of Terminology:
  • Accidental fires: All fires for which the proven cause of the fire does not involve a deliberate human act to ignite or cause the spread of the fire.
  • Arson: The illegal act of maliciously and intentionally starting a fire.
  • Combustion: Oxidation reaction accompanied with the production of heat and light.
  • Conduction: The ability of a material to conduct electricity, heat or sound.
  • Convection: The transmission of heat in a fluid by the circulation of currents.
  • Endothermic: A chemical transformation in which heat energy is absorbed.
  • Exothermic: A chemical transformation in which heat energy is liberated.
  • Fatal fires: Fires where human fatality occurs.
  • Flammable range: The range of upper or lower concentrations at a specified temperature and pressure of a flammable gas or vapor of an ignitable liquid and air, expressed as a percentage fuel by ignitable volume.
  • Fuel: A flammable substance.
  • Glowing combustion: Combustion at the fuel-air interface eg red hot charcoal.
  • Ignition: The process of initiating self sustained combustion.
  • Incendiary fires: A fire that is deliberately ignited.
  • Natural fires: Fires that are a result of no direct human intervention for example lightning, earthquake, wind etc.
  • Oxidation reaction: The interaction of oxygen with other substances to form new chemical bonds.
  • Oxidizing agents: Any substance or mixture that can be used to affect oxidation.
  • Radiation: The emission of energy from a source and its transmission as particles, rays or waves especially as electromagnetic rays or waves.
  • Radiation: The shooting forth of anything from a point or surface, like the diverging rays of light; such as the radiation of heat.
  • Spontaneous combustion: Combustion is a reaction between a fuel and an oxidant, which requires external heat to be sustained. In spontaneous combustion a natural heat producing process is involved to sustain the reaction.
  • Undetermined fires: A classification that is used when the cause of the fire is not determined or proven.

    List of Abbreviations:
  • GC: Gas chromatography.
  • GC-GC-MS: Tandem gas chromatography mass spectroscopy.
  • GC-MS: Gas chromatography mass spectroscopy.
  • IC: Ion chromatography. 

  • QUALIFICATIONS UTILISING THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
      ID QUALIFICATION TITLE PRE-2009 NQF LEVEL NQF LEVEL STATUS END DATE PRIMARY OR DELEGATED QA FUNCTIONARY
    Elective  79246   Further Education and Training Certificate: Wild Land Fire Fighting  Level 4  NQF Level 04  Passed the End Date -
    Status was "Reregistered" 
    2015-06-30  FPMSETA 
    Elective  57651   National Certificate: Forensic Science  Level 5  Level TBA: Pre-2009 was L5  Reregistered  2023-06-30  SAS SETA 


    PROVIDERS CURRENTLY ACCREDITED TO OFFER THIS UNIT STANDARD: 
    This information shows the current accreditations (i.e. those not past their accreditation end dates), and is the most complete record available to SAQA as of today. Some Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionaries have a lag in their recording systems for provider accreditation, in turn leading to a lag in notifying SAQA of all the providers that they have accredited to offer qualifications and unit standards, as well as any extensions to accreditation end dates. The relevant Primary or Delegated Quality Assurance Functionary should be notified if a record appears to be missing from here.
     
    1. HHO Enterprise 
    2. Legal Environment Safety & Health Requirements cc 
    3. Mukwevho Training and Development 
    4. Nqothu Projects (PTY) LTD 
    5. Phambile Skills Training (Pty) Ltd 
    6. Seacrest Investments 156 (Pty) Ltd 
    7. Ukubhukuda Trading & Projects 165 
    8. Umbuso Training Services 



    All qualifications and part qualifications registered on the National Qualifications Framework are public property. Thus the only payment that can be made for them is for service and reproduction. It is illegal to sell this material for profit. If the material is reproduced or quoted, the South African Qualifications Authority (SAQA) should be acknowledged as the source.