Fire investigation is a technical forensic field that requires a broad array of knowledge and skills. Fire investigators have to understand and apply the science of fire. They have to interview witnesses, who may be traumatized, and suspects, who may be evasive or difficult. They have to collect data and evidence. Formulate and evaluate hypotheses. Research and analyze documents from government and the insurance sector. Interpret information. Make timelines. Write reports. Endure adverse working conditions — cold, heat, wet, soot, toxic, flooded, and hazardous. It's not a profession for everyone, and the very best investigators have a passion for it.
Helping prospective fire investigators discover that passion is the subject of this module. The module looks at the many ways fire investigators enter and grow in the profession through academia, the fire service, law enforcement, insurance, and engineering. It shows professionals and students considering a career in fire investigation how to get started, including obtaining basic training; the importance of exploration and practical experience; the necessity of understanding national, state and local requirements; and how to build a career through certification, accreditation, and continuing education. Finally, the module concludes with a better understanding of why fire investigators do what they do and how it fits into the community risk reduction and life-saving mandate of the emergency services..