Fire Inspectors and Investigators
33-2021.00

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.

Sample of reported job titles: Arson Investigator, Fire Code Inspector, Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, Fire Official, Fire Prevention Inspector, Fire Prevention Specialist, Fire Protection Specialist, Fire Safety Inspector, Fire Safety Specialist

Occupation-Specific Information

Tasks

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

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Technology Skills

Hot technology
Hot Technologies are requirements most frequently included across all employer job postings.
In demand
In Demand skills are frequently included in employer job postings for this occupation.

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Occupational Requirements

Work Activities

  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Communicating with People Outside the 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.
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge — Keeping up-to-date technically and applying new knowledge to your job.
  • Getting Information — Observing, receiving, and otherwise obtaining information from all relevant sources.
  • Inspecting Equipment, Structures, or Materials — Inspecting equipment, structures, or materials to identify the cause of errors or other problems or defects.
  • 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.
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems — Analyzing information and evaluating results to choose the best solution and solve problems.
  • Establishing and Maintaining Interpersonal Relationships — Developing constructive and cooperative working relationships with others, and maintaining them over time.
  • Interpreting the Meaning of Information for Others — Translating or explaining what information means and how it can be used.
  • Organizing, Planning, and Prioritizing Work — Developing specific goals and plans to prioritize, organize, and accomplish your work.
  • Working with Computers — Using computers and computer systems (including hardware and software) to program, write software, set up functions, enter data, or process information.
  • Monitoring Processes, Materials, or Surroundings — Monitoring and reviewing information from materials, events, or the environment, to detect or assess problems.
  • Scheduling Work and Activities — Scheduling events, programs, and activities, as well as the work of others.
  • 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 materials.
  • Processing Information — Compiling, coding, categorizing, calculating, tabulating, auditing, or verifying information or data.
  • Analyzing Data or Information — Identifying the underlying principles, reasons, or facts of information by breaking down information or data into separate parts.
  • Assisting and Caring for Others — Providing personal assistance, medical attention, emotional support, or other personal care to others such as coworkers, customers, or patients.
  • Judging the Qualities of Objects, Services, or People — Assessing the value, importance, or quality of things or people.
  • Operating Vehicles, Mechanized Devices, or Equipment — Running, maneuvering, navigating, or driving vehicles or mechanized equipment, such as forklifts, passenger vehicles, aircraft, or watercraft.
  • Resolving Conflicts and Negotiating with Others — Handling complaints, settling disputes, and resolving grievances and conflicts, or otherwise negotiating with others.
  • Developing and Building Teams — Encouraging and building mutual trust, respect, and cooperation among team members.
  • 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.
  • Performing Administrative Activities — Performing day-to-day administrative tasks such as maintaining information files and processing paperwork.
  • Coordinating the Work and Activities of Others — Getting members of a group to work together to accomplish tasks.
  • Developing Objectives and Strategies — Establishing long-range objectives and specifying the strategies and actions to achieve them.
  • Training and Teaching Others — Identifying the educational needs of others, developing formal educational or training programs or classes, and teaching or instructing others.
  • Thinking Creatively — Developing, designing, or creating new applications, ideas, relationships, systems, or products, including artistic contributions.
  • Handling and Moving Objects — Using hands and arms in handling, installing, positioning, and moving materials, and manipulating things.
  • Coaching and Developing Others — Identifying the developmental needs of others and coaching, mentoring, or otherwise helping others to improve their knowledge or skills.
  • Providing Consultation and Advice to Others — Providing guidance and expert advice to management or other groups on technical, systems-, or process-related topics.
  • Guiding, Directing, and Motivating Subordinates — Providing guidance and direction to subordinates, including setting performance standards and monitoring performance.

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Detailed Work Activities

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Work Context

  • Face-to-Face Discussions — 97% responded “Every day.”
  • Contact With Others — 92% responded “Constant contact with others.”
  • Electronic Mail — 90% responded “Every day.”
  • Telephone — 93% responded “Every day.”
  • Deal With External Customers — 80% responded “Extremely important.”
  • In an Enclosed Vehicle or Equipment — 85% responded “Every day.”
  • Structured versus Unstructured Work — 71% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Freedom to Make Decisions — 60% responded “A lot of freedom.”
  • Importance of Being Exact or Accurate — 61% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Impact of Decisions on Co-workers or Company Results — 65% responded “Very important results.”
  • Frequency of Decision Making — 69% responded “Every day.”
  • Outdoors, Exposed to Weather — 48% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Work With Work Group or Team — 50% responded “Extremely important.”
  • Indoors, Environmentally Controlled — 44% responded “Every day.”
  • Time Pressure — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Coordinate or Lead Others — 35% responded “Important.”
  • Letters and Memos — 43% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Wear Common Protective or Safety Equipment such as Safety Shoes, Glasses, Gloves, Hearing Protection, Hard Hats, or Life Jackets — 33% responded “Every day.”
  • Responsible for Others' Health and Safety — 42% responded “Very high responsibility.”
  • Sounds, Noise Levels Are Distracting or Uncomfortable — 29% responded “Every day.”
  • Duration of Typical Work Week — 44% responded “40 hours.”
  • Indoors, Not Environmentally Controlled — 49% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Physical Proximity — 43% responded “Moderately close (at arm's length).”
  • Responsibility for Outcomes and Results — 31% responded “High responsibility.”
  • Exposed to Contaminants — 33% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Frequency of Conflict Situations — 41% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Very Hot or Cold Temperatures — 32% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Deal With Unpleasant or Angry People — 39% responded “Once a month or more but not every week.”
  • Extremely Bright or Inadequate Lighting — 35% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”
  • Spend Time Standing — 47% responded “About half the time.”
  • Spend Time Walking and Running — 33% responded “Less than half the time.”
  • Consequence of Error — 34% responded “Very serious.”
  • Level of Competition — 36% responded “Moderately competitive.”
  • Importance of Repeating Same Tasks — 41% responded “Very important.”
  • Outdoors, Under Cover — 38% responded “Once a week or more but not every day.”

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Experience Requirements

Job Zone

Title
Job Zone Three: Medium Preparation Needed
Education
Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
Related Experience
Previous work-related skill, knowledge, or experience is required for these occupations. For example, an electrician must have completed three or four years of apprenticeship or several years of vocational training, and often must have passed a licensing exam, in order to perform the job.
Job Training
Employees in these occupations usually need one or two years of training involving both on-the-job experience and informal training with experienced workers. A recognized apprenticeship program may be associated with these occupations.
Job Zone Examples
These occupations usually involve using communication and organizational skills to coordinate, supervise, manage, or train others to accomplish goals. Examples include hydroelectric production managers, desktop publishers, electricians, agricultural technicians, barbers, court reporters and simultaneous captioners, and medical assistants.
SVP Range
1-2 years of preparation (6.0 to < 7.0)

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Training & Credentials

State training
Local training
Certifications
State licenses
Apprenticeships
Have a career path or location in mind? Visit Apprenticeship.gov external site to find apprenticeship opportunities near you.

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Worker Requirements

Skills

  • 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.
  • Critical Thinking — Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions, or approaches to problems.
  • Speaking — Talking to others to convey information effectively.
  • Writing — Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • Reading Comprehension — Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work-related documents.
  • Social Perceptiveness — Being aware of others' reactions and understanding why they react as they do.
  • Instructing — Teaching others how to do something.
  • Monitoring — Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Persuasion — Persuading others to change their minds or behavior.
  • Service Orientation — Actively looking for ways to help people.
  • Active Learning — Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Complex Problem Solving — Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.
  • Judgment and Decision Making — Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.
  • Coordination — Adjusting actions in relation to others' actions.
  • Learning Strategies — Selecting and using training/instructional methods and procedures appropriate for the situation when learning or teaching new things.
  • Systems Evaluation — Identifying measures or indicators of system performance and the actions needed to improve or correct performance, relative to the goals of the system.
  • Time Management — Managing one's own time and the time of others.

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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.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Law and Government — Knowledge of laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.
  • 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.
  • English Language — Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • Administration and Management — Knowledge of business and management principles involved in strategic planning, resource allocation, human resources modeling, leadership technique, production methods, and coordination of people and resources.

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Education

How much education does a new hire need to perform a job in this occupation? Respondents said:

  • 27%
     
    responded: Post-secondary certificate required
  • 26%
     
    responded: Some college, no degree requiredmore info
  • 23%
     
    responded: High school diploma or equivalent requiredmore info

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Worker Characteristics

Abilities

  • 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 that there is a problem.
  • Oral Comprehension — The ability to listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.
  • Written Comprehension — The ability to read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.
  • Written Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.
  • Deductive Reasoning — The ability to apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.
  • Oral Expression — The ability to communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.
  • Inductive Reasoning — The ability to combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).
  • Information Ordering — The ability to arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).
  • Near Vision — The ability to see details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).
  • Category Flexibility — The ability to generate or use different sets of rules for combining or grouping things in different ways.
  • 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.
  • Selective Attention — The ability to concentrate on a task over a period of time without being distracted.
  • Speech Clarity — The ability to speak clearly so others can understand you.
  • Speech Recognition — The ability to identify and understand the speech of another person.
  • Far Vision — The ability to see details at a distance.
  • Fluency of Ideas — The ability to come up with a number of ideas about a topic (the number of ideas is important, not their quality, correctness, or creativity).
  • Visual Color Discrimination — The ability to match or detect differences between colors, including shades of color and brightness.
  • Originality — The ability to come up with unusual or clever ideas about a given topic or situation, or to develop creative ways to solve a problem.

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Interests

Interest code: RCI
Want to discover your interests? Take the O*NET Interest Profiler at My Next Move.
  • Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.
  • Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.
  • Investigative — Investigative occupations frequently involve working with ideas, and require an extensive amount of thinking. These occupations can involve searching for facts and figuring out problems mentally.

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Work Values

  • Achievement — Occupations that satisfy this work value are results oriented and allow employees to use their strongest abilities, giving them a feeling of accomplishment. Corresponding needs are Ability Utilization and Achievement.
  • Independence — Occupations that satisfy this work value allow employees to work on their own and make decisions. Corresponding needs are Creativity, Responsibility and Autonomy.
  • Support — Occupations that satisfy this work value offer supportive management that stands behind employees. Corresponding needs are Company Policies, Supervision: Human Relations and Supervision: Technical.

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Work Styles

  • Integrity — Job requires being honest and ethical.
  • Cooperation — Job requires being pleasant with others on the job and displaying a good-natured, cooperative attitude.
  • Attention to Detail — Job requires being careful about detail and thorough in completing work tasks.
  • Dependability — Job requires being reliable, responsible, and dependable, and fulfilling obligations.
  • Initiative — Job requires a willingness to take on responsibilities and challenges.
  • Concern for Others — Job requires being sensitive to others' needs and feelings and being understanding and helpful on the job.
  • Self-Control — Job requires maintaining composure, keeping emotions in check, controlling anger, and avoiding aggressive behavior, even in very difficult situations.
  • Adaptability/Flexibility — Job requires being open to change (positive or negative) and to considerable variety in the workplace.
  • Stress Tolerance — Job requires accepting criticism and dealing calmly and effectively with high-stress situations.
  • Analytical Thinking — Job requires analyzing information and using logic to address work-related issues and problems.
  • Persistence — Job requires persistence in the face of obstacles.
  • Leadership — Job requires a willingness to lead, take charge, and offer opinions and direction.
  • Independence — Job requires developing one's own ways of doing things, guiding oneself with little or no supervision, and depending on oneself to get things done.
  • Achievement/Effort — Job requires establishing and maintaining personally challenging achievement goals and exerting effort toward mastering tasks.
  • Social Orientation — Job requires preferring to work with others rather than alone, and being personally connected with others on the job.
  • Innovation — Job requires creativity and alternative thinking to develop new ideas for and answers to work-related problems.

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Workforce Characteristics

Wages & Employment Trends

Median wages (2021)
$31.06 hourly, $64,600 annual
State wages
Local wages
Employment (2021)
15,500 employees
Projected growth (2021-2031)
Slower than average (2% to 3%)
Projected job openings (2021-2031)
1,500
State trends
Top industries (2021)

Source: Bureau of Labor Statistics 2021 wage data external site and 2021-2031 employment projections external site. “Projected growth” represents the estimated change in total employment over the projections period (2021-2031). “Projected job openings” represent openings due to growth and replacement.

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Job Openings on the Web

State job openings
Local job openings

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More Information

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Sources of Additional Information

Disclaimer: Sources are listed to provide additional information on related jobs, specialties, and/or industries. Links to non-DOL Internet sites are provided for your convenience and do not constitute an endorsement.

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