To become a Fire Inspector-Investigator you need to be detail oriented person. To discover if this career is for you, take one of our free career quizzes.
Fire inspectors and investigators work in both offices and in the field. In the field, inspectors examine public buildings, such as museums, and multifamily residential buildings, such as high-rise condominiums. They may also visit and inspect other structures, such as arenas and industrial plants.
Usually, fire inspectors and investigators are experienced former firefighter or police officers. They generally have completed a post-secondary program like a two- or four-year degree in chemistry, fire science, or engineering. Fire inspectors and investigators usually get on-the-job training and are required to attend courses at a training academy. You are welcome to take a career fitness assessment for free to discover if this direction is good for you.
Fire inspectors and investigators are required to take and pass a thorough background check, including drug tests. The majority of employers require these professionals to possess valid driver’s licenses, and fire investigators generally must be U.S. citizens as they have police powers.
Fire inspectors typically inspect and examine buildings in order to detect fire risks and hazards and to make sure that these buildings meet all local, state, and federal regulations and fire codes. Fire investigators, on the other hand, usually determine the cause and origin of explosions and fires.
It is the task of fire inspectors to review structures and buildings and investigate if there are any hazards that may lead to unnecessary and preventable fire risks. Fire inspectors additionally check fire systems (e.g. sprinklers and alarms), and exit procedures, which are set up to limit as much as possible the risk of damage to property and people in case of a fire.
In case of fire, fire investigators typically interview involved individuals and look at video recordings, burn patterns, and any other available evidence to discover why and how a fire was originated. Fire investigators perform tasks that are essential for purposes of insurance and to determine possible criminal activities relating to the fire.
Fire inspectors usually perform tasks to make sure that structures and buildings meet security and fire codes, they will look for fire hazards, test sprinklers, fire alarms, or other fire protection gear, they will review air compressors and gasoline tanks, and assess emergency evacuation procedures. They typically conduct safety and fire prevention educational programs and overlook construction plans with architects, builders, and developers, and they will make follow-up visits when needed. They are required to keep records of their assessments.
Fire investigators usually will be collecting and analyzing all available evidence from explosion or fires scenes, reconstruct arson or fire scenes, and conduct interviews with witnesses. They wisendens all available evidence to labs for fingerprints or to discover accelerants, and they will be analyzing all available information with engineers, chemists, or lawyers.
Fire investigators will be documenting all sorts of evidence, they will take photographs and create diagrams, all meant to determine the cause and origin of a fire. They must also keep records of everything in detail, protect all evidence in case it needs to be used in a court of law, and they often need to testify in criminal. or civil legal proceedings. They additionally are sometimes required to carry weapons, and exercise several police tasks, for example, arrest suspects.
In 2013, there were some 12,500 fire inspectors and investigators full-time employed in the U.S., and most of these professionals are employed by local and state fire departments. Some of them were working for attorney’s offices or insurance companies. These fire professionals are working in both the field and in offices, and fire inspectors typically visit and inspect (public) buildings, such as industrial plants, multifamily residential buildings, hotels, museums, and sports arenas, and they mostly will be performing their tasks and duties during standard business hours. Fire investigators, on the other hand, frequently need to work at irregular hours in the evening, or on weekends or holidays, because they are required to respond immediately when a fire occurs.
In the coming decade, the employment outlook of fire inspectors and investigators will grow only slightly, slower than the occupation average. This is because the majority is employed by local governments, and this sector is expected to grow much slower than average. The stable factor is, though, that fire inspectors will continue to be needed to inspect public, residential, commercial, or other buildings on possible fire hazards, and fire inspectors will be continuously needed to make sure that all existing buildings will be meeting revised or updated local, state, and federal regulations and fire codes.
Though we have seen a continually decreasing number of fires in structures and buildings over the last decades, there will be a constant demand for fire investigators to determine what caused an explosion or a fire. In 2014, fire inspectors and investigators made a median income of around $53,220, but we also saw top professional making over $87,000!