Fire Inspectors and Investigator Career

Job Description: 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.


Is Fire Inspectors and Investigator the right career path for you?
Take the MyMajors Quiz and find out if it fits one of your top recommended majors!

Fire Inspectors and Investigator Career

What Fire Inspectors and Investigators do:

  • Analyze evidence and other information to determine probable cause of fire or explosion.
  • 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.
  • Photograph damage and evidence related to causes of fires or explosions to document investigation findings.
  • Coordinate efforts with other organizations, such as law enforcement agencies.
  • Attend training classes to maintain current knowledge of fire prevention, safety, and firefighting procedures.
  • 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.
  • Conduct fire code compliance follow-ups to ensure that corrective actions have been taken in cases where violations were found.
  • Instruct children about the dangers of fire.
  • 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.
  • Write detailed reports of fire inspections performed, fire code violations observed, and corrective recommendations offered.
  • Teach fire investigation techniques to other firefighter personnel.
  • Conduct inspections and acceptance testing of newly installed fire protection systems.
  • 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.
  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Develop or review fire exit plans.
  • 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.
  • Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
  • Package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers, such as bags, crates, or boxes, to protect them.
  • Recommend changes to fire prevention, inspection, and fire code endorsement procedures.
  • Teach public education programs on fire safety and prevention.
  • Review blueprints and plans for new or remodeled buildings to ensure the structures meet fire safety codes.
  • Conduct fire exit drills to monitor and evaluate evacuation procedures.
  • Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
  • Test sites and materials to establish facts, such as burn patterns and flash points of materials, using test equipment.
  • Issue permits for public assemblies.
  • 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.
  • Develop and coordinate fire prevention programs, such as false alarm billing, fire inspection reporting, and hazardous materials management.
  • Supervise staff, training them, planning their work, and evaluating their performance.
  • Conduct internal investigation to determine negligence and violation of laws and regulations by fire department employees.
  • Dust evidence or portions of fire scenes for latent fingerprints.

What work activities are most important?

Importance Activities

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.

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.

Documenting/Recording Information - Entering, transcribing, recording, storing, or maintaining information in written or electronic/magnetic form.

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.

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.

Making Decisions and Solving Problems - Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.

Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Material - Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.

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 of materials.

Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work - Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.

Monitor Processes, Materials, or Surroundings - Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.

Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others - Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.

Interacting 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 Things, 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 water craft.

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.

Provide 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.

Monitoring and Controlling Resources - Monitoring and controlling resources and overseeing the spending of money.

Staffing Organizational Units - Recruiting, interviewing, selecting, hiring, and promoting employees in an organization.

Drafting, Laying Out, and Specifying Technical Devices, Parts, and Equipment - Providing documentation, detailed instructions, drawings, or specifications to tell others about how devices, parts, equipment, or structures are to be fabricated, constructed, assembled, modified, maintained, or used.

Controlling Machines and Processes - Using either control mechanisms or direct physical activity to operate machines or processes (not including computers or vehicles).

Selling or Influencing Others - Convincing others to buy merchandise/goods or to otherwise change their minds or actions.

Repairing and Maintaining Mechanical Equipment - Servicing, repairing, adjusting, and testing machines, devices, moving parts, and equipment that operate primarily on the basis of mechanical (not electronic) principles.

Holland Code Chart for a Fire Inspectors and Investigator