Fire inspectors typically do the following:
Fire investigators typically do the following:
Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess outdoor fire hazards in public and residential areas. They look for fire code infractions and for conditions that pose a wildfire risk. They also recommend ways to reduce fire hazards. During patrols, they enforce fire regulations and report fire conditions to their central command center.
Because fire inspectors and investigators typically have previous work experience as a firefighter, many have completed a postsecondary educational program for emergency medical technicians (EMTs). Some employers prefer candidates with a 2- or 4-year degree in fire science, engineering, or chemistry. For those candidates interested in becoming forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists, a high school diploma or equivalent typically is required.
Many states have certification exams that cover standards established by the National Fire Protection Association. Many states require additional training for inspectors and investigators each year in order for them to maintain their certification.
The National Fire Protection Association also offers several certifications, such as Certified Fire Inspector and Certified Fire Protection Specialist, for fire inspectors. Some jobs in the private sector require that job candidates already have these certifications.
In addition, fire investigators may choose to pursue certification from a nationally recognized professional association. Among such certifications and associations are the Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) certification from the International Association of Arson Investigators or the Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) certification from the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI). The process of obtaining certification can teach new skills and demonstrate competency.