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Details for Fire Investigators


Conduct investigations to determine causes of fires and explosions.


  • Package collected pieces of evidence in securely closed containers such as bags, crates, or boxes, to protect them.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Subpoena and interview witnesses, property owners, and building occupants to obtain information and sworn testimony.
  • Swear out warrants, and arrest and process suspected arsonists.
  • Testify in court cases involving fires, suspected arson, and false alarms.
  • Prepare and maintain reports of investigation results, and records of convicted arsonists and arson suspects.
  • Test sites and materials to establish facts, such as burn patterns and flash points of materials, using test equipment.
  • 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.


  • 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.
  • 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.
  • Enterprising - Enterprising occupations frequently involve starting up and carrying out projects. These occupations can involve leading people and making many decisions. Sometimes they require risk taking and often deal with business.
  • 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.

Education, Training, Experience

  • Education - Most occupations in this zone require training in vocational schools, related on-the-job experience, or an associate's degree.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Mathematics - Knowledge of arithmetic, algebra, geometry, calculus, statistics, and their applications.
  • Therapy and Counseling - Knowledge of principles, methods, and procedures for diagnosis, treatment, and rehabilitation of physical and mental dysfunctions, and for career counseling and guidance.
  • Communications and Media - Knowledge of media production, communication, and dissemination techniques and methods. This includes alternative ways to inform and entertain via written, oral, and visual media.
  • Sociology and Anthropology - Knowledge of group behavior and dynamics, societal trends and influences, human migrations, ethnicity, cultures and their history and origins.
  • Physics - Knowledge and prediction of physical principles, laws, their interrelationships, and applications to understanding fluid, material, and atmospheric dynamics, and mechanical, electrical, atomic and sub- atomic structures and processes.
  • Computers and Electronics - Knowledge of circuit boards, processors, chips, electronic equipment, and computer hardware and software, including applications and programming.
  • 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.
  • Clerical - Knowledge of administrative and clerical procedures and systems such as word processing, managing files and records, stenography and transcription, designing forms, and other office procedures and terminology.
  • 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.
  • English Language - Knowledge of the structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.
  • 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.
  • 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.
  • 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.


  • Reading Comprehension - Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.
  • 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.
  • Writing - Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.
  • 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.
  • Active Learning - Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem-solving and decision-making.
  • Monitoring - Monitoring/Assessing performance of yourself, other individuals, or organizations to make improvements or take corrective action.
  • Judgment and Decision Making - Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

Related Careers

  • Criminal Investigators and Special Agents
  • Fire Inspectors
  • Government Property Inspectors and Investigators
  • Occupational Health and Safety Specialists
  • Police Detectives
  • Private Detectives and Investigators
  • Product Safety Engineers
  • Transit and Railroad Police
Wages for this career
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