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Category Fire Investigation Testing
Test IESO / RIA Standard 6001

 EMSL Fire Related Testing Program

IESO / RIA Standard 6001

Purpose of the test:

This test is designed based on information provided in IESO/RIA Standards 6001 “Evaluation of HVAC Interior Surfaces to Determine the Impact from Fire-related Particulate”. This is a screening method. Char is used as the primary indicator and soot is used as the secondary indicator of fire-related particulate. The analytical methods used in this analysis allow identification of only particles larger than 1 micron. The method assumes that the overwhelming majority of char and soot particles observed originated from the fire. The method is not designed to provide identification of individual char particles nor to determine the origin of soot particles through more advanced analysis such as Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) or the analysis of residual fuel by GC/MS.


Surface sampling:

  • “Clear” or “Crystal Clear” 3/4” transparent tape 2” in length. “Frosted” type tapes shall not be used.

  •  Alcohol prep wipes

Air sampling:

  • Not applicable

Recommended surfaces for sampling:

Any surface of the HVAC system in contact with the air stream that cannot be penetrated by water or air, such as sheet metal, aluminum foil, or polymeric film used to flexible duct.

Any surface of the HVAC system in contact with the air stream that is capable of penetration by either water or air. Examples include fiber glass duct liner, fiber glass duct board, wood, and concrete.

Samples shall not be obtained from the following locations: painted surfaces, heavily oxidized surfaces, surfaces with water deposits, and surfaces that have grease or non-manufactured oil residue.


This analysis is a screening technique using light microscopy (polarized light microscopy and steromicroscopy) to determine the presence of char and soot (presumptive1). EMSL Analytical also reports the presence of ash as an additional indicator. The standard does not require the quantification of char or soot concentrations. Quantification can be provided by request, however.

The analysis is performed by analysts trained in advanced techniques of particles identification. Additional consultation regarding interpretation of the results and regulations is provided free of charge by senior scientists. Fast turn-around times provided, same day and during week-end analysis available. Our senior scientists have experience in litigation support and expert witness testimony.

1: Soot and carbon black particles have nanometer size. Light microscopy is used only as a screening/presumptive method for determining the presence of soot. In order to resolve the submicron size and the aciniform morphology of the particles confirmatory analysis by Transmission Electron Microscopy (TEM) is needed. ASTM D6602 designates TEM as the mandatory evaluation technique for carbon black. Iron oxides (component of rust), titanium dioxide (pigment in paint) have similar morphology and size with soot and they constitute common interference in this analysis. In those cases where there are interferences, other analysis methods should be used such as SEM/EDX and TEM/EDX at additional costs. Analytical alternative methods are not included in this analysis.

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