Fire Investigators

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Also known as:  Arson Investigator, Certified Fire and Explosion Investigator, Certified Fire Investigator, Certified Vehicle Fire Investigator, CFEI, Fire Hazard Inspector, Fire Investigator, Fire Prevention Inspector, Fire Safety Inspector

ABOUT FIRE INVESTIGATOR CAREERS

VIDEO TRANSCRIPT Expand
"The cause of the blaze is under investigation." By the time you hear that phrase in a news story about a fire, a special kind of detective has already been hard at work trying to crack the case. Where we see burnt rubble, a fire investigator sees clues.

Often before the smoke clears, this i ...
nvestigator is at the scene, collecting and documenting evidence to determine the cause of the fire. This can involve carefully sifting through debris and running lab tests on it. It can also mean interviewing witnesses and firefighters.

The investigator's final report may tell the story of a preventable accident - or an intentional crime. It can lead to arrests and can be used in court. And the report can give us all valuable insights into preventing future fires.

This job usually requires a state certification in "Cause and Origin" fire investigation, following years of experience and training in the firefighting field. A knowledge of building construction, chemistry, and even physics can be helpful to a fire investigator - but a key requirement is a passion for solving mysteries and saving lives.
SNAPSHOT Expand
Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
Leadership
HIGH
Critical decision making
HIGH
Level of responsibilities
HIGH
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
HIGH
Dealing and handling conflict
HIGH
Competition for this position
LOW
Communication with others
HIGH
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
HIGH
Comfort of the work setting
MED
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
MED
Exposure to job hazards
LOW
Physical demands
LOW
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DAILY TASKS Expand
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.
Instruct children about the dangers of fire.
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.
Swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists.
Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
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.
Coordinate efforts with other organizations such as law enforcement agencies.
MAIN ACTIVITIES Expand
Communicating with Supervisors, Peers, or Subordinates Providing information to supervisors, co-workers, and subordinates by telephone, in written form, e-mail, or in person.
Identifying Objects, Actions, and Events Identifying information by categorizing, estimating, recognizing differences or similarities, and detecting changes in circumstances or events.
Getting Information Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
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.
Documenting/Recording Information Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.
Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
Making Decisions and Solving Problems Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
Communicating with Persons Outside 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.
AREAS OF KNOWLEDGE Expand
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.
Law and Government Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
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.
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.
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.
English Language Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
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.
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.
KEY ABILITIES Expand
Inductive Reasoning The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
Deductive Reasoning The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
Oral Comprehension The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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 there is a problem.
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).
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.
Speech Clarity The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
TOP SKILLS Expand
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.
Speaking Talking to others to convey information effectively.
Critical Thinking Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.
Complex Problem Solving Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
Coordination Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
Writing Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
Judgment and Decision Making Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
Reading Comprehension Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
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