This support unit is the first of six planned to be located at each location of the State Fire Marshal's Regional Offices, but will launch in Harford County, according to a release. This will be the first investigation support unit placed in service, and a plan has been implemented to make it available statewide.
The Regional Fire Investigation Support Unit is a Chevrolet Express 2500 series van with a tow. The unit is equipped with the necessary tools and equipment to perform extensive and accurate fire investigations. This equipment includes items such as: hand tools, power tools, computers, networking equipment, closed circuit television system, and many different types of evidence collection kits.
The cargo trailer is equipped with larger and much needed items such as: a wheelbarrow, chain saw, portable wash sink and quick shelters.
The financial support to properly equip the unit was obtained through a state grant. Working with the Maryland Emergency Management Agency (MEMA), the OSFM garnered $35,000 through a State Homeland Security Grant program. These funds allowed for the purchase of the needed equipment.
“Advancements in science and technology in the field of fire investigations dictate the need for newer and better equipment to more accurately process evidence collection during an active investigation," said Acting State Fire Marshal Joseph C. Flanagan in a release. "This fire investigation support unit is the first of its kind in our agency and will provide investigators the ability to more accurately process large scale incidents by quickly providing additional resources on a fire scene."