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What Do Fire Investigators Do?

Career Description Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.

Life as a Fire Investigator: What Do They Do?

  • Conduct internal investigation to determine negligence and violation of laws and regulations by fire department employees.
  • Instruct children about the dangers of fire.
  • 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.
  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Dust evidence or portions of fire scenes for latent fingerprints.
  • Teach fire investigation techniques to other firefighter personnel.

What a Fire Investigator Should Know

Fire Investigators state the following job skills are important in their day-to-day work.

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.

Writing: Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

Complex Problem Solving: Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

Types of Fire Investigator Jobs

  • Investigator
  • Fire Marshal
  • Arson Investigator
  • Fire Investigator
  • Lieutenant

Job Outlook for Fire Investigators

There were about 12,300 jobs for Fire Inspectors and Investigators in 2016 (in the United States).

New jobs are being produced at a rate of 7.3% which is lower than average. The Bureau of Labor Statistics predicts 900 new jobs for Fire Investigators by 2026. There will be an estimated 1,400 positions for Fire Investigator per year.

Forecasted Number of Jobs for Fire Investigators in U.S.

The states with the most job growth for Fire Inspectors and Investigators are Texas, Florida, and New York.

Watch out if you plan on working in New Jersey, Rhode Island, or North Dakota. These states have the worst job growth for this type of profession.

What is the Average Salary of a Fire Investigator

The salary for Fire Inspectors and Investigators ranges between about $36,400 and $95,330 a year. The median salary for this occupation is $62,510.

Salary Ranges for Fire Investigators

How much do Fire Inspectors and Investigators make in different U.S. states?

Annual Mean Salary by State
State Annual Mean Salary

California

$103,830

Oregon

$89,860

Washington

$81,430

District of Columbia

$75,800

Colorado

$74,790

Connecticut

$74,280

Alabama

$68,630

Minnesota

$68,210

Oklahoma

$68,080

Massachusetts

$66,710

Ohio

$66,650

New York

$66,580

Illinois

$64,760

Iowa

$64,680

Maryland

$64,490

Arizona

$64,190

Texas

$63,540

Florida

$63,040

New Hampshire

$62,700

Tennessee

$62,660

North Dakota

$61,850

Michigan

$59,740

Delaware

$58,820

Vermont

$58,790

Utah

$58,000

Wisconsin

$57,460

Pennsylvania

$56,890

Rhode Island

$56,130

New Jersey

$55,890

Virginia

$55,540

Maine

$54,600

South Carolina

$53,680

Indiana

$53,670

Kansas

$53,210

North Carolina

$52,760

Georgia

$52,010

New Mexico

$52,010

Louisiana

$50,990

West Virginia

$47,190

Missouri

$44,930

Arkansas

$44,310

Kentucky

$43,640

What Tools do Fire Investigators Use?

Although they’re not necessarily needed for all jobs, the following technologies are used by many Fire Investigators:

  • Microsoft Access
  • Microsoft Word
  • Microsoft Excel

Becoming a Fire Investigator

What kind of Fire Investigator requirements are there?

Fire Investigator Degree Level

How Long Does it Take to Become Fire Investigator?

Fire Investigator Work Experience

Where Fire Investigators Are Employed

Fire Investigator Sectors

References

Bureau of Labor Statistics

College Factual

O*NET Online

Image Credit: Via Wikimedia Commons

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