A fire inspector visits site locations to inspect fire safety equipment and look for fire hazards. For example, they may test equipment such as fire alarm systems and fire sprinkler systems, and also evaluate all safety and escape routes. In locations that have hazardous materials, they ensure these materials are properly stored and handled as well. A fire inspector also has career titles such as: fire marshal, fire official, fire code inspector, and fire safety inspector.
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How to Become a Fire Inspector
The requirements to become a fire inspector can vary by state, but fire inspectors have made a career as a firefighter (read how to become a firefighter) and then they have additional classroom and on-the-job training to become a fire inspector.
Some employers prefer candidates that have an associate’s degree or bachelor’s degree in fire science or a related field along with training that teaches candidates how to conduct an inspection. For example, the National Fire Protection Association (link opens in a new tab) offers a four day training to certify an individual as a Fire Inspector.
Job Description of a Fire Inspector
Fire inspectors follow guidelines to conduct thorough inspections of buildings and structures to ensure fire codes are being met and that the fire protection systems set in place are functioning. If they discover unsafe conditions, they may also revisit the location to ensure steps were taken to correct the issue. Once the inspection takes place, they would need to write a detailed report which would include what inspections took place, if any unsafe conditions were discovered, and any recommendations given.
Fire Inspector Career Video Transcript
Smokey Bear may be the most recognized fire prevention figure in the country, but there are a variety of workers involved in preventing and investigating fires in the forest and elsewhere. Fire inspectors search buildings for fire hazards and ensure that government fire codes are met. They inspect buildings, from apartment and office complexes to stadiums and schools. They also test fire alarms and extinguishers, review evacuation plans, and conduct fire safety education programs.
Fire investigators attempt to reconstruct how fires occur. They collect evidence and interview witnesses to determine the origin and cause of building fires. They may be exposed to poor ventilation, smoke, fumes, and other hazardous agents. Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists look out for conditions that pose a wildfire risk, recommend ways to reduce fire hazards, and conduct patrols to enforce regulations and report on conditions. They spend much of their time outdoors in forests and fields.
Most fire inspectors, investigators, and forest fire specialists have work experience as firefighters along with specialized classroom and on-the-job training. While some employers prefer candidates with a degree in fire science, engineering, or chemistry for fire inspector and investigator positions, forest fire specialists typically need a high school education. Additional requirements vary by state.
Bureau of Labor Statistics, U.S. Department of Labor, Occupational Outlook Handbook, Fire Inspectors and Investigators.
National Center for O*NET Development. 33-2021.01. O*NET OnLine.
The career video is in the public domain from the U. S. Department of Labor, Employment and Training Administration.