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A fire inspector is someone who visits and inspects buildings and other structures, such as sports arenas and shopping malls, to search for fire hazards and to ensure that federal, state, and local fire codes are met. They also test and inspect fire protection and fire extinguishing equipment to ensure that it works. Fire inspectors work both in offices and in the field.
Fire inspectors typically do the following:
Fire inspectors and prevention specialists assess fire hazards in both public and residential areas. They look for issues that may pose a risk and recommend ways to reduce the fire hazard. During patrols, they ensure that the public is following fire regulations and report fire conditions to central command.
Most fire inspectors work for state and local fire departments and law enforcement agencies, although some work for private companies and organizations, such as insurance companies or an attorney’s office. Fire inspectors work both in offices and in the field. In the field, inspectors examine public buildings and multi-family residential buildings. They may also visit and inspect other structures, such as arenas and industrial plants. Fire inspectors must usually wear a uniform, and may also need to wear protective clothing, such as boots, gloves, and a helmet.
Most fire inspectors’ jobs require a high school diploma. However, some employers prefer candidates with a two- or four-year degree in related disciplines, such as fire science, engineering, or chemistry. Most fire inspectors are required to have work experience in a related occupation. Some fire departments or law enforcement agencies require inspectors to have a certain number of years within the organization or to be a certain rank, such as lieutenant or captain, before they are eligible for promotion to an inspector position. In most agencies, after inspectors have finished their classroom training, they must also go through on-the-job training or a probationary period, during which they work with a more experienced officer.