Fire Inspectors and Investigators
Inspect buildings to detect fire hazards and enforce local ordinances and state laws, or investigate and gather facts to determine cause of fires and explosions.
Sample of reported job titles: Arson Investigator, Fire and Explosion Investigator, Fire Code Inspector, Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, Fire Official, Fire Prevention Inspector, Fire Prevention Specialist, Fire Protection Specialist, Fire Safety Inspector
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Tasks | Technology Skills | Tools Used | Knowledge | Skills | Abilities | Work Activities | Detailed Work Activities | Work Context | Job Zone | Credentials | Interests | Work Styles | Work Values | Related Occupations | Wages & Employment | Job Openings | Additional Information
- Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
- Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
- Package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers, such as bags, crates, or boxes, to protect them.
- Conduct inspections and acceptance testing of newly installed fire protection systems.
- Analyze evidence and other information to determine probable cause of fire or explosion.
- Photograph damage and evidence related to causes of fires or explosions to document investigation findings.
- Examine fire sites and collect evidence such as glass, metal fragments, charred wood, and accelerant residue for use in determining the cause of a fire.
- Inspect buildings to locate hazardous conditions and fire code violations, such as accumulations of combustible material, electrical wiring problems, and inadequate or non-functional fire exits.
- Instruct children about the dangers of fire.
- Conduct fire code compliance follow-ups to ensure that corrective actions have been taken in cases where violations were found.
- Inspect properties that store, handle, and use hazardous materials to ensure compliance with laws, codes, and regulations, and issue hazardous materials permits to facilities found in compliance.
- Write detailed reports of fire inspections performed, fire code violations observed, and corrective recommendations offered.
- Identify corrective actions necessary to bring properties into compliance with applicable fire codes, laws, regulations, and standards, and explain these measures to property owners or their representatives.
- Develop or review fire exit plans.
- Inspect and test fire protection or fire detection systems to verify that such systems are installed in accordance with appropriate laws, codes, ordinances, regulations, and standards.
- Coordinate efforts with other organizations, such as law enforcement agencies.
- Attend training classes to maintain current knowledge of fire prevention, safety, and firefighting procedures.
- Review blueprints and plans for new or remodeled buildings to ensure the structures meet fire safety codes.
- Teach fire investigation techniques to other firefighter personnel.
- Conduct fire exit drills to monitor and evaluate evacuation procedures.
- Teach public education programs on fire safety and prevention.
- Recommend changes to fire prevention, inspection, and fire code endorsement procedures.
- Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
- Conduct internal investigation to determine negligence and violation of laws and regulations by fire department employees.
- Test sites and materials to establish facts, such as burn patterns and flash points of materials, using test equipment.
- Dust evidence or portions of fire scenes for latent fingerprints.
- Arrange for the replacement of defective fire fighting equipment and for repair of fire alarm and sprinkler systems, making minor repairs such as servicing fire extinguishers when feasible.
- Issue permits for public assemblies.
- Supervise staff, training them, planning their work, and evaluating their performance.
- Develop and coordinate fire prevention programs, such as false alarm billing, fire inspection reporting, and hazardous materials management.
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- Analytical or scientific software — Consolidated Model of Fire and Smoke Transport CFAST; Fire Dynamics Software FDS
- Data base user interface and query software — Code database software; Microsoft Access ; National Fire Incident Reporting System NFIRS
- Electronic mail software — Email software; Microsoft Outlook
- Human resources software — Xerox Government systems FIREHOUSE Software
- Internet browser software — Web browser software
- Office suite software — Microsoft Office
- Presentation software — Microsoft PowerPoint
- Spreadsheet software — Microsoft Excel
- Word processing software — Microsoft Word
Hot Technology — a technology requirement frequently included in employer job postings.
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- Public Safety and Security — Knowledge of relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.
- Building and Construction — Knowledge of materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.
- Customer and Personal Service — Knowledge of principles and processes for providing customer and personal services. This includes customer needs assessment, meeting quality standards for services, and evaluation of customer satisfaction.
- Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
- Education and Training — Knowledge of principles and methods for curriculum and training design, teaching and instruction for individuals and groups, and the measurement of training effects.
- English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
- Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.
- Mechanical — Knowledge of machines and tools, including their designs, uses, repair, and maintenance.
- Personnel and Human Resources — Knowledge of principles and procedures for personnel recruitment, selection, training, compensation and benefits, labor relations and negotiation, and personnel information systems.
- Chemistry — Knowledge of the chemical composition, structure, and properties of substances and of the chemical processes and transformations that they undergo. This includes uses of chemicals and their interactions, danger signs, production techniques, and disposal methods.
- Computers and Electronics — Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
- Mathematics — Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
- Psychology — Knowledge of human behavior and performance; individual differences in ability, personality, and interests; learning and motivation; psychological research methods; and the assessment and treatment of behavioral and affective disorders.
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- Active Listening — Giving full attention to what other people are saying, taking time to understand the points being made, asking questions as appropriate, and not interrupting at inappropriate times.
- Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
- Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
- Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
- Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
- Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
- Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
- Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
- Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
- Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others’ actions.
- Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others’ reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
- Time Management — Managing one’s own time and the time of others.
- Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
- Science — Using scientific rules and methods to solve problems.
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- Problem Sensitivity — The ability to tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing that there is a problem.
- Flexibility of Closure — The ability to identify or detect a known pattern (a figure, object, word, or sound) that is hidden in other distracting material.
- Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
- Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
- Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
- Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
- Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
- Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
- Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
- Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
- Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
- Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
- Perceptual Speed — The ability to quickly and accurately compare similarities and differences among sets of letters, numbers, objects, pictures, or patterns. The things to be compared may be presented at the same time or one after the other. This ability also includes comparing a presented object with a remembered object.
- Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
- Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
- Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
- Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
- Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
- Visualization — The ability to imagine how something will look after it is moved around or when its parts are moved or rearranged.
- Speed of Closure — The ability to quickly make sense of, combine, and organize information into meaningful patterns.
- Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.
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- Performing for or Working Directly with the Public — Performing for people or dealing directly with the public. This includes serving customers in restaurants and stores, and receiving clients or guests.
- Communicating with People Outside the Organization — Communicating with people outside the organization, representing the organization to customers, the public, government, and other external sources. This information can be exchanged in person, in writing, or by telephone or e-mail.
- Documenting/Recording Information — Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
- Evaluating Information to Determine Compliance with Standards — Using relevant information and individual judgment to determine whether events or processes comply with laws, regulations, or standards.
- Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
- Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
- Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events — Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
- Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates — Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
- Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
- Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
- Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
- Performing General Physical Activities — Performing physical activities that require considerable use of your arms and legs and moving your whole body, such as climbing, lifting, balancing, walking, stooping, and handling materials.
- Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
- Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
- Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
- Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
- Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
- Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
- Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
- Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
- Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
- Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
- Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
- Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
- Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
- Estimating the Quantifiable Characteristics of Products, Events, or Information — Estimating sizes, distances, and quantities; or determining time, costs, resources, or materials needed to perform a work activity.
- Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
- Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
- Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
- Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
- Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
- Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
- Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
- Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.
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Detailed Work Activities
- Prepare investigation or incident reports.
- Record information about suspects or criminals.
- Testify at legal or legislative proceedings.
- Process forensic or legal evidence in accordance with procedures.
- Inspect equipment to ensure safety or proper functioning.
- Analyze crime scene evidence.
- Interview people to gather information about criminal activities.
- Examine debris to obtain information about causes of fires.
- Inspect facilities to ensure compliance with fire regulations.
- Record crime or accident scene evidence with video or still cameras.
- Educate the public about fire safety or prevention.
- Issue permits or other legal documents.
- Inspect facilities to ensure compliance with security or safety regulations.
- Write operational reports.
- Investigate crimes committed within organizations.
- Identify actions needed to bring properties or facilities into compliance with regulations.
- Inform others about laws or regulations.
- Develop fire safety or prevention programs or plans.
- Attend training to learn new skills or update knowledge.
- Collaborate with law enforcement or security agencies to respond to incidents.
- Review documents or materials for compliance with policies or regulations.
- Examine crime scenes to obtain evidence.
- Train personnel in technical or scientific procedures.
- Train personnel to enhance job skills.
- Maintain fire fighting tools or equipment.
- Provide safety training.
- Direct fire fighting or prevention activities.
- Evaluate employee performance.
- Train employees in proper work procedures.
- Recommend improvements to increase safety or reduce risks.
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- Contact With Others — How much does this job require the worker to be in contact with others (face-to-face, by telephone, or otherwise) in order to perform it?
- Face-to-Face Discussions — How often do you have to have face-to-face discussions with individuals or teams in this job?
- Telephone — How often do you have telephone conversations in this job?
- Electronic Mail — How often do you use electronic mail in this job?
- Deal With External Customers — How important is it to work with external customers or the public in this job?
- Structured versus Unstructured Work — To what extent is this job structured for the worker, rather than allowing the worker to determine tasks, priorities, and goals?
- Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — How important is being very exact or highly accurate in performing this job?
- In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — How often does this job require working in a closed vehicle or equipment (e.g., car)?
- Freedom to Make Decisions — How much decision making freedom, without supervision, does the job offer?
- Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — How often does this job require working outdoors, exposed to all weather conditions?
- Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — What results do your decisions usually have on other people or the image or reputation or financial resources of your employer?
- Work With Work Group or Team — How important is it to work with others in a group or team in this job?
- Frequency of Decision Making — How frequently is the worker required to make decisions that affect other people, the financial resources, and/or the image and reputation of the organization?
- Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in environmentally controlled conditions?
- Coordinate or Lead Others — How important is it to coordinate or lead others in accomplishing work activities in this job?
- Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — How much does this job require wearing common protective or safety equipment such as safety shoes, glasses, gloves, hard hats or life jackets?
- Time Pressure — How often does this job require the worker to meet strict deadlines?
- Letters and Memos — How often does the job require written letters and memos?
- Exposed to Contaminants — How often does this job require working exposed to contaminants (such as pollutants, gases, dust or odors)?
- Physical Proximity — To what extent does this job require the worker to perform job tasks in close physical proximity to other people?
- Responsible for Others’ Health and Safety — How much responsibility is there for the health and safety of others in this job?
- Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — How often does this job require working exposed to sounds and noise levels that are distracting or uncomfortable?
- Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — How often does this job require working in very hot (above 90 F degrees) or very cold (below 32 F degrees) temperatures?
- Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — How responsible is the worker for work outcomes and results of other workers?
- Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — How often does this job require working in extremely bright or inadequate lighting conditions?
- Frequency of Conflict Situations — How often are there conflict situations the employee has to face in this job?
- Consequence of Error — How serious would the result usually be if the worker made a mistake that was not readily correctable?
- Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — How frequently does the worker have to deal with unpleasant, angry, or discourteous individuals as part of the job requirements?
- Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — How important is repeating the same physical activities (e.g., key entry) or mental activities (e.g., checking entries in a ledger) over and over, without stopping, to performing this job?
- Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — How often does this job require working indoors in non-controlled environmental conditions (e.g., warehouse without heat)?
- Level of Competition — To what extent does this job require the worker to compete or to be aware of competitive pressures?
- Spend Time Standing — How much does this job require standing?
- Spend Time Walking and Running — How much does this job require walking and running?
- Outdoors, Under Cover — How often does this job require working outdoors, under cover (e.g., structure with roof but no walls)?
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|Title||Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed|
|Education||Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate’s degree.|
|Related Experience||Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.|
|Job Training||Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.|
|Job Zone Examples||These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, travel guides, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters, and medical assistants.|
|SVP Range||(6.0 to < 7.0)|
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- Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
- Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
- Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.
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- Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
- Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
- Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
- Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
- Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
- Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
- Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
- Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others’ needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
- Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
- Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
- Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
- Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
- Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
- Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
- Independence — Job requires developing one’s own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
- Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.
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- Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
- Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
- Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.
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Wages & Employment Trends
|Median wages (2020)||$31.06 hourly, $64,610 annual|
|Employment (2020)||14,700 employees|
|Projected growth (2020-2030)||Average (5% to 10%)|
|Projected job openings (2020-2030)||1,700|
|Top industries (2020)||
Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2020 wage data and 2020-2030 employment projections . “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2020-2030). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.
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Job Openings on the Web
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Sources of Additional Information
Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.
- Fraternal Order of Police
- IAFF FireFighters
- International Association of Arson Investigators
- International Association of Bomb Technicians and Investigators
- International Association of Fire Chiefs
- International Code Council
- National Association of Fire Investigators
- National Association of State Fire Marshals
- National Fire Protection Association
- National Fire Sprinkler Association
- Occupational Outlook Handbook: Fire inspectors
- Society of Fire Protection Engineers
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