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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
"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.
Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.
Critical decision making
Level of responsibilities
Job challenge and pressure to meet deadlines
Dealing and handling conflict
Competition for this position
Communication with others
Work closely with team members, clients etc.
Comfort of the work setting
Exposure to extreme environmental conditions
Exposure to job hazards
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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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
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.
The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
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.
The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
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.
Talking to others to convey information effectively.
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.
Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
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.
Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.