The role of the Fire Investigator is one of those intriguing professions that combine a number of specialties. A good F.I. needs to be a combination of detective, engineer, law enforcer and scientist. They also need to be particularly proficient in each of these areas too. A F.I. in most jurisdictions is also required to hold Fire Investigator certification.
The F.I. is tasked with the responsibility of exploring, determining and documenting the origins and causes of fires. They are also the ones responsible for determining what, if any, human activities caused it. And having determined this, it’s also the F.I. who must provide the expert testimony in the event of an arson trial.
Whilst it may be intriguing, the work can also be time consuming and laborious. There are no shortcuts when investigating fires. Every little detail at a scene must be accurately recorded and every last piece of possible evidence carefully collected. This requires meticulous attention to detail and a high degree of organization. Then there is the follow-up investigating and ultimately, hopefully a successful conviction if the fire was deliberately lit.
Arson Investigator Vs Fire Investigator Certification
Whilst one person often does both roles, the roles themselves are not one and the same thing. An arson investigator is responsible for finding out who lit the fire. A fire investigator is responsible for figuring out where the fire started and what caused it. Obviously, if the F.I. determines the cause was human it then becomes a case of arson. In which case an arson investigation will be launched.
Fire investigating is increasingly becoming a highly technical field requiring specialized training in order to obtain fire investigator certification. Crucial areas covered in fire investigator certification include a thorough grounding in the engineering of fire behavior as well as burn patterns.
A F.I. needs to be knowledgeable about how building materials and building construction methods affect fire behavior. Equally as important is training in how fire and fire suppression methods affect building materials and construction too. This detailed knowledge allows the F.I. to accurately reconstruct a fire scene in order to piece together the progress of the fire and effectively assess origin and cause.
Fire investigator certification also covers training in effective and thorough search techniques. These are vital skills when it comes to spotting evidence that the untrained eye may miss. Knowing how to collect this evidence so as to cause minimal destruction, or how to effectively prevent further damage to an area of interest in an investigation, is crucial. And once collected or spotted the F.I. further needs to know how to correctly preserve this evidence.
How To Get Florida Fire Investigator Certification
If you feel that the career of a fire investigator is the one for you, your next question may be how and where you can do it. In Florida, the training, qualifications and certification is all mandated by the FSFC. You can either enroll in an educational institution that offers the courses or you can do it online. There are a number of third party training sites that offer FSFC approved online versions of most courses, including Fire Investigator. These courses offer a convenient and practical alternative to attending a classroom course. In most cases they’re open enrolment and self-paced so you can complete them in your own time. Once completed, you will have met the requirements to take the FSFC exams to obtain your Florida Fire Investigator Certification.
I did my Florida Fire Investigator Certification online through Ricky Rescue Training Academy in Florida because this allowed me the flexibility to work in my own time and at my own pace. Many of the units can be completed totally online, but there are some blended learning modules that require you to attend a full day in person session at one of their locations in Florida. E-learning versions of their courses such as Florida Fire Investigator Certification can be sourced through certified training centers like the Ricky Rescue Training Academy. Contact them for details at 239.240.7915.