Forensic Fun Days: Learn with Hawkins

Throughout the months of May and June, Hawkins’ offices opened their doors to local clients in order to provide demonstrations, hands-on learning, and the opportunity for friendly competition. The Birmingham, Leeds and Reigate Offices collaborated with different loss adjusting companies in our own laboratories and testing areas to give a behind-the-scenes look at some of the common causes behind fires, escapes of water, and engineering failures.

Dr Nick Carey, of the Reigate Office, is shown above facilitating a ‘toaster race’, and below with fellow Fire Investigator Luke Collins, as they time how long it takes for an iron to begin producing smoke. The purpose of the experiment was to show that once the safety device in various household appliances is either removed or compromised, it takes only a matter of minutes (or seconds!) before the appliance can overheat and ignite. The experiment was carried out as a challenge to see which participating loss adjusters could team up and correctly guess the item that would ignite the fastest between an iron, a coffeemaker, a fan heater, a hairdryer, and two types of toaster. With the appliances’ safety devices disabled, Dr Carey placed combustible material either in or near their heating elements, which gave his audience quite a show. Dr Carey noted that in the popular
Jason Bourne film series, a toaster was used to start a fire in exactly the same way as his experiment--and how easy it is for an appliance to ignite once material such as paper or card comes into contact with it. 

Luke Collins Times Dr Nick Carey's Experiment

In the Leeds Office, participating loss adjusters constructed pipework using different fittings and pressure-tested them to prove that plumbing is much harder than it seems. Even when a fitting looks sound, its testing will not only separate the true plumbers from the rest--but occasionally also separate the fitting from the pipe. 

Stephen Brough & John Camplin lead participants at the Leeds Office

Investigators Stephen Brough (Left) and Dr John Camplin (Right) lead the group in assembling pipework in the Water Lab

If your office is based in the UK and your colleagues would like to visit one of the Hawkins laboratories to experience a hands-on demonstration and inside look at our industry, please contact Business Development Manager, Graeme Drysdale

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