Jean L. McDowell
B.Sc., IEng, FIFireE, C.F.E.I.
Principal & Consulting Scientist

 

President of McDowell Owens Jean L. McDowell holds a degree in Fire Sciences from the University of Maryland, as well as degrees in History (B.A.) and Criminology (A.Sc.). Mr. McDowell is an Incorporated Engineer in the United Kingdom and a Fellow in the Institute of Fire Engineers.

Mr. McDowell is also a certified Fire and Explosion Investigator and a certified Fire and Arson Investigator. His primary areas of consultation involve fire and explosion analysis with a focus on liquefied petroleum gas and natural gas fires/explosions; research and testing involving fires in structures and combustible materials; fire code reviews, fire safety analysis; fuel gas application and installation and codereview and computer fire modelling.

Active on various ASTM and NFPA committees, Mr. McDowell is a frequent speaker on fire safety, arson, explosion analysis, and risk management. For several years, he was a visiting lecturer at the University of Ulster, Fire Science, Engineering, Research and Technology Center (FIRECERT) in Belfast, Northern Ireland. Mr. McDowell served on the LP Gas Advisory Committee of the Texas RailroadCommission and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Forensic Sciences. Mr. McDowell is also a Principal on the NFPA Technical Committee on Liquefied Petroleum Gases in the Special Expert Category.

 

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Continuing Education

  • NFPA – Research Foundation, San Antonio, TX, March 3 – 4, 2016, Fire Detection Program
    • Improving Data Collection of Smoke Alarms in FiresDwellings
    • Influence of the Operating Time on the Behavior of Smoke Alarms in Typical Office
    • Environments
    • Effect of Detector Sensitivity Changes on the Provision of Adequate Warning to Building Occupants
    • A Fire-Induced Displacement Estimation Method for Civil Infrastructures
    • Indoor Positioning Systems Enhance Safety and Security in Buildings
    • Visual Alarm Devices – Their Effectiveness in Warning of Fire
    • Occupant Evacuation Elevator (OEE) Case Studies
    • Impact of Smoke Alarm Performance Considering New Nuisance Fire Tests
    • Beyond Cooking: Smoke Alarm Nuisance Sources Evaluated
    • Multi-angle Multi-wave-length Light Scattering of Smokes and Cooking Aerosols
    • Physics Based Assessment of Light Scattering in Multi-Color Smoke Detection
  • IAAI (CFI), CFITrainer.Net, September 2013
  • NFPA EuroCon, Amsterdam, November 2012
  • Water mist in North America, The Society of Fire Protection Engineering, May 2, 2012
  • Hazardous Materials Transportation Training and Security Awareness Training, U.S. Department of Transportation, Pipeline and Hazardous Materials Safety Administration, March 29, 2012
  • CO Detection: Legislation Update and New Code Requirements, The Society of Fire Protection Engineering, December 14, 2011
  • A New Approach to Gas Detection and Environmental Monitoring, The Society of Fire Protection Engineering, December 7, 2011
  • Fire Investigation Techniques Training, International Association of Arson Investigators, Denver, Colorado, April 30 - May 5, 2006
  • Catastrophic Propane Explosion and Carbon Monoxide Claims, Propane Claim Training Seminar, November 17 - 18, 2005
  • Introduction to Fire Dynamics Simulator and Smokeview, The Society of Fire Protection Engineers, Baltimore, Maryland, September 16 - 18, 2002
  • Fire Science and Engineering,The University of Edinburgh, Scotland, April 2002
  • Forensic Photography, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Atlanta, Georgia, February 2002
  • Propane Delivery Truck Operations, Texas Propane Gas Association, San Antonio, Texas, August 2001
  • National Seminar on Fire Analysis Litigation, National Association of Fire Investigators, Sarasota, Florida, July 2001
  • First Annual Conference on Human Reaction to Fire, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1998
  • INTERFLAM ‘96 (Fire Research Conference), King’s College, Cambridge University, Cambridge, England, 1996
  • INTERFLAM ‘93 (Fire Research Conference), Keble College, Oxford University, Oxford, England, 1993
  • Fire Safety Design and Management, Centre for Maritime & Industrial Safety Technology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1992
  • Fire Science and Engineering, Centre for Maritime & Industrial Safety Technology, Heriot-Watt University, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1992
  • Annual Conference on Fire Research, National Institute of Standards and Technology, Building and Fire Research Laboratory, Rockville, Maryland, 1992
  • Emergency Response - Planning & Accident Investigation, Institute of Gas Technology, Chicago, Illinois, 1991
  • Research and Data Exchange (Shipboard Fire Suppression Techniques), United States Coast Guard Research Station, Groton, Connecticut, 1990
  • Professional Development Series: Introduction to Hazard-I, Computer Fire Modelling, Worcester Polytechnic Institute, Center for Fire Safety Studies, 1990
  • Fire Tests in Building Codes Principles and Applications, Standards Technology Training, ASTM, Southwest Research Institute, 1989
  • Science and Engineering as Applied in Fire Investigation, The Unit of Fire Safety Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1988
  • Science and Engineering as Applied in Fire Investigation, The Unit of Fire Safety Engineering, University of Edinburgh, Scotland, 1987
  • Annual Conference on Fire Research, National Bureau of Standards, Center for Fire Research, 1987
  • Automatic Sprinkler Workshop, National Fire Protection Association, 1987
  • LP Gas School (Distribution, Transportation, Storage, and Service), Cal-Gas Technical Center, Sacramento, California, 1986
  • LP Gas Service School (Distribution, Transportation, Storage, and Service), North-Central Technical Institute, Wausau, Wisconsin, 1986
  • Research, Analysis, and Testing of the Harvard V. Fire Code (First Computer Fire Code), Imperial College, London, England, 1983
  • Rural Fire Defense, Texas Forest Service, 1982
  • Electrical Fires Seminar, National Fire Protection Association, 1980

Selected Publications and Presentations

Publications

  • “Virtual Loosening of Fittings from Elevated Temperatures”, Annual Meeting American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas, February 20, 2004
  • “Bad Science from Big Brother”, Annual Meeting American Academy of Forensic Sciences, Dallas, Texas, February 20, 2004
  • “Current Prevention and Protection Strategies for Industrial Explosions”, The Professional Engineer, The Society of Professional Engineers, United Kingdom, Issue 30, March/April 2000
  • “The Forensic Engineering Application of Computer Modeling Techniques in the Determination of Human Response to Fire”, Human Behaviour in Fire, Proceedings of the First International Symposium, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 1998
  • “Computer Modeling and the Fire Investigator”, Fire and Arson Investigator, Vol. 48, No. 3, March 1998
  • “Mathematical Computer Fire Modeling and the Fire Investigator”, The National Fire Investigator, Vol. 36, No. 2, 1998
  • "Toxicological Investigation of Combustion Products from Polyvinylchloride, Chloroprene Rubber, Polyethylene-Propylene Rubber and Treated Wood Relative to the Clark Street Tunnel Fire in the New York City Transit Authority System”, Journal of Forensic Sciences, Accepted for Publication - 1993
  • "Toxicological Investigation of LP Gas Explosion: Human Model for Propane/Ethyl Mercaptan Exposures”, Journal of Forensic Sciences, 1990 Revised 07/2015

Presentations

  • “Post Incident Site Findings”, Tennessee Propane Gas Association Presentation, Orange Beach, Alabama, June 18, 2015
  • “Forensic Science”, CSI Forensic Science Camp- Got Forensic Science? San Jose State University, San Jose, California, July 30, 2014
  • “SAD – (Sudden Acute Disassembly)”, Propane Gas Defense Association 2012 Fall Meeting, Scottsdale, Arizona, September 27 - 28, 2012
  • “Mock Trial and Safety in Operation”, Alabama Propane Gas Association Presentation, Prattville, Alabama, May 10, 2011
  • “Post Incident Site Examination”, Freeman Gas Manager’s Meeting Presentation, Fontana Dam, North Carolina, April 19 - 21, 2010
  • “Fuel Gas Explosion Investigation”, Propane Claim Training Seminar, Orlando, Florida, November 17 - 18, 2005
  • “Fuel Gas Accident Investigation”, Ranger Insurance Company, September 4, 2003
  • “Safety in Residential Fuel Gas Systems”, Annual Conference of The Navajo Nation, Las Vegas, Nevada, June 28, 2002
  • “Managing the Risk at Your Propane Storage Facility”, The Southwest Propane Gas Conference, Arlington, Texas, 2002
  • “Safety in Fuel Gas Operations”, Annual Conference of The Navajo Nation, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 2001
  • “Emergency Services Risk Management Considerations”, National CPCU Association, San Antonio, Texas, 2001
  • “Predicting Human Reaction to Fire Using Computer Fire Modeling”, First Annual Conference on Human Reaction to Fire, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1998
  • “Origin and Cause”, Fire & Police Arson Seminar of the Kansas Chapter of the International Association of Arson Investigators, Salina, Kansas, 1994
  • "Potential Accumulation of Unburned Gunshot Residue (GSR) in Indoor Shooting Ranges and the Associated Fire Hazard”, Centre for Maritime & Industrial Safety Technology, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1992
  • "Origin/Cause Determination Post Flashover”, Centre for Maritime & Industrial Safety Technology, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1992
  • "The Application of Forensic Engineering & Fire Science to Loss Analysis”, Kansas City Underwriters Association, 1992
  • "What Does a Gas Explosion Look Like”, Institute of Gas Technology, Chicago, Illinois, 1991
  • "Explosion Analysis and Equipment Application”, Ranger Insurance Company, 1991
  • "Explosion Analysis and Investigation”, Houston Claim Association, 1991
  • "Incident Investigation”, New England L.P. Gas Association, 1990
  • "Model Burn Test”, American Academy of Forensic Sciences, 1989
  • "Safety in Fuel Gas Applications”, Oklahoma Gas Association, 1988
  • "Engineering & Science as Applied to Fire Analysis, A Case Study”, University of Edinburgh, Unit of Fire Safety Engineering, Edinburgh, Scotland, 1988
  • "Cause, Origin and Identification of Incendiary Devices”, Kingwood Texas Fire Department, 1979 – 1983
  • "Arson and Industrial Security”, Canadian Society for Industrial Security, 1982
  • "Role of LP Gas in Arson”, American Gas Association Annual Conference, 1981

Education

  • Graduate Studies, Fire Safety Engineering
  • University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, 1995 - 1999
  • Bachelor of Science, Fire Sciences
  • University of Maryland, University College, 1985
  • Graduate Studies, Educational Psychology
  • Mercer University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1975 - 1976
  • Bachelor of Arts, History
  • Mercer University, Atlanta, Georgia, 1975
  • Associate in Science, Criminology
  • Daytona Beach College, Daytona, Florida, 1968

Teaching Experience

  • Fire/Explosion Site Analysis, Graduate School Short Courses, Fire Safety Engineering Research Technology Center, University of Ulster, Carrickfergus, (Belfast), Northern Ireland, March 1994, 1995 & 1996
  • HAZARD I (Fire Modeling), Short Course, University of Ulster, Belfast, Northern Ireland, September 1995

Certifications and Professional Memberships

  • Incorporated Engineer (IEng)
    Engineering Council (United Kingdom)
    Registration No. 578098
  • Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI)
    National Association of Fire Investigators
    1993 by examination
    No. 4208-0736
  • Certified Fire/Arson Investigator – Past
    State of Texas, Texas Commission on Fire Protection
    1999 by examination
  • Certified LPG Testing Laboratory Activities Supervisor, Category O Railroad Commission of Texas, Gas Services Division, LP-Gas Section
    License No. 12234
  • American Academy of Forensic Sciences, General Section, Retired Fellow - Member No. 52065
  • American Society for Testing and Materials (ASTM) - Member - Member No. 000109246
    • ASTM - Committee E-05       Fire Standards
    • ASTM - Committee E-30       Forensic Sciences
    • ASTM - Committee E-30.11   Interdisciplinary Forensic Science Standards
    • ASTM - Committee E-30.92   Terminology - Past Chairman
    • ASTM - Committee E-58       Forensic Engineering
  • Common Ground Alliance (CGA) – Member (2014 – Present)
  • Former member of Kingwood, Texas, Fire Department - Past President, Board of Directors, Fire Ground Officer, Firefighter, Motor Pump Operator and Department Fire Investigator
  • Institute of Fire Engineers (FIFireE) Fellow – Member No. 00032209
  • International Association of Arson Investigators - Member No. 28180
  • International Code Council - Member No. 5142911
  • NAFI (National Association of Fire Investigators) - Member No. 4208
  • National Fire Protection Association - Member No. 117850
    • Member of the NFPA Research Section
    • Member of the International Fire Marshal’s Association
    • Member of the Wildland Fire Management Section
    • Principal on the NFPA Technical Committee on Liquefied Petroleum Gases in the Special Expert Category.
  • PERC (Propane Education & Research Council) - Member
  • Railroad Commission of Texas
    • LP-Gas Advisory Committee, (1997 - 2006)
    • LP-Gas Advisory Committee, Safety and Security Sub-Committee, (2005 - 2006)
    • LP-Gas Advisory Committee, The National Fuel Gas Code (NFPA 54), (1999 - 2001)
  • Serves as a Reviewer of Refereed Articles and Publications for The American Society of Testing and Materials and The Journal of Fire Science
  • Texas Society of Professional Engineers - Past Member
  • National Society of Professional Engineers - Past Member
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers - Past Member

Research and Testing

  • Convective flow of flammable vapors into a structure through an appliance vent and the accumulation of those vapors in clothing materials within the appliance.
  • High pressure fuel gas application to appliance control valve and the effect relative to gas burner operation.
  • Field use of ultraviolet light source for identification of flammable and combustible liquids as fire accelerants.
  • Field designed and manufactured ignition devices and substances and their identification at fire scenes.
  • Reaction aging for ignition delay of field manufactured ignition sources.
  • Heat sink properties of loose fill cellulosic insulation with application of low grade heat source.
  • The effect of moisture content of combustibles upon burning characteristics and associated temperatures.
  • Cellulosic fiber thermal insulation and its flame retardant properties when considered in the end-use environment and subjected to absorption of organic vapors and particles.
  • Ignition characteristics of methane in both static and dynamic environments employing various ignition devices.
  • Ignition characteristics of entrapped LPG fuel in a non-static environment.
  • Ignition characteristics of entrapped LPG fuel in both static and non-static environments.
  • Ignition characteristics of LPG based on diffusion and layering characteristics.
  • Fire detection and suppression systems response in standard room burns under ASTM E-603 proposed standard.
  • Multiple full scale room burns for the determination of various flame spread, heat characteristics, flashover potential, and temperature range identification.
  • Full scale room burn design using both the Harvard Fire Code and HAZARD I.
  • Full scale room burn utilizing configuration based on scaling of actual loss site with scaled reduction of fire load.
  • Full scale structure fires, with repeated structures, for structural damage comparisons based on various origin(s) and cause(s).
  • Extensive research testing of 1st, 2nd, single, and appliance regulators and their reaction to vent blockage and resultant associated downstream pressures.
  • Radiant heat effect on fuel gas system regulators and anticipated regulator response.
  • Toxicological evaluation of PVC products of combustion as the result of piloted ignition versus electrical arc degradation.
  • Evaluation of down-range accumulation of gunshot residue (GSR) and resulting fire hazard.
  • Potential for the unobserved existence of deep seated fire in cellulosic masses, i.e. baled cotton and various extinguishment procedures.
  • The reaction of specific appliances to various fire origins within the appliance as well as exterior.