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Page Title: Collecting Evidence
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where you can reach them, If time allows, have them start writing down what they saw. Ensure the medical department representative or emergency  medical  technician  preserves  any transitory  evidence,  such  as  blood  samples,  for drug  and  alcohol  tests  (if  warranted  and authorized). Minimize  moving  or  disturbing  any  physical evidence. Other investigators may be using this same evidence, so protect it as a courtesy to all who may need that evidence. Before  any  evidence  is  moved,  photograph  it from several angles. If you don’t have a camera, make a quick sketch or diagram. Collecting Evidence You may have seen investigators on television in surgical gloves placing little bits of debris in plastic bags. They handle such evidence gingerly to prevent damage to it. You  may  want  to  collect  parts,  pieces,  debris,  and other items from the site to prevent their loss and to examine  later.  Carefully  wrap  them  in  protective material or place them in plastic bags, envelopes, or small glass or plastic containers. Accurately label each item with the following types of information: Who  gathered  the  item  (You  may  want  to question  the  person  later  about  the  position  or location in which it was found.) The identification of the item, if known The time and date it was gathered The location of the item when removed When labeling evidence, make sure you do not put any information on the label that might be privileged. In other words, do not indicate the source leading to your finding the item or any deliberative comments. You must share physical evidence with other investigators, since it, in itself, is not privileged. You may also collect records such as logs, operating procedures, or time cards as evidence. Even though you review the original record, make a copy of it to retain as evidence. Mark on the back who made the copy and when. A copy of a log made a week after the mishap may  have  given  someone  the  chance  to  rewrite  or “correct” it. Check for erasures and added lines. PHOTOGRAPHING.— Photographs are perhaps the  most  valuable  piece  of  evidence  you  will  have besides an eye witness. You can’t just go in to a mishap scene  and  start  shooting  photographs  at  random!  You or your photographer needs to plan your shots to make the best use of limited time and still not miss critical information. Some safety officers and safety managers keep a disposable 35-mm camera or self-developing camera readily available. If they arrive early at the scene, having a camera on hand may be vital. If you intend to use the base or ship’s photographer, arrange ahead of time for a  review  of  investigation  and  photographic  techniques with  the  photographer. Self-developing photographs are acceptable but lack fine detail and are difficult to enlarge. Black and white photographs are not as helpful as color photos, but some  ships  and  laboratories  can  only  develop  black  and white  film.  Using  color  film  may  delay  developing services. If you are using base or commercial photo laboratory  services,  color  developing  may  be  available and  faster.  Color,  35-mm,  400-speed  film  used  with  a high-speed flash will do a good job. Otherwise, make do with what is available. Color  photography  is  especially  helpful  in  fire investigations.  The  color  of  the  smoke  and  flames  can provide  valuable  information  on  what  is  burning  and how hot the fire may be. A yellowish to white flame indicates a hot flame of about 1500 degrees Celsius, while a reddish color indicates a cooler flame of about 500  degrees  Celsius.  Red  or  running  flames  on  water indicate the burning of petroleum products. Heavy black smoke  usually  means  a  burning  petroleum  product  or burning rubber or paint. Light white smoke occurs from the burning of combustibles such as wood or paper. An aura of brilliance around the base of the smoke indicates burning metal. Take care to avoid underexposure when taking photos of fire scenes after the fire is out. Charred and sooty  material  may  absorb  the  light  from  your  flash. Be sensitive to photographs that show bodies or body parts, especially if the victim can be identified. If the mishap was controversial or has high public interest, be careful about using commercial photo developing services. We don’t want to tempt a technician to send one of your photos to the local newspaper. If you use Navy developing services, ask for the negatives,  proof  sheets,  and  all  prints.  Get  proof  sheets and decide which photos you want printed. You should overshoot  but  underprint—take  duplicate  photos  with 4-8

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