Exploring this Job
Many fire departments have volunteer programs. Find out if there are any in your area and sign up to volunteer if you meet their requirements. Keep in good physical shape because this is important for any fire-safety professional. You can also add to your skills by taking CPR and first-aid classes. Read Fire Engineering (http://www.fireengineering.com) to learn more about fire prevention techniques. Ask your teacher or counselor to arrange a presentation by a fire inspector.
Those who are in sixth grade through age 20 can participate in the Learning for Life program (https://www.exploring.org/fire-ems), which is affiliated with the Boy Scouts of America. Participants in its Fire & EMS Exploring program learn about fire service careers through classroom training and hands-on activities. Both young men and women may participate.
Most fire departments are responsible for fire-prevention activities. Fire inspectors inspect buildings and their storage areas for trash, rubbish, and other materials that can ignite easily. They look for worn-out or exposed wiring and for other fire hazards. Inspectors review building and fire-suppression plans to ensure the construction of safe and code-conforming buildings and fire-suppression systems and alarms. They pay close attention to public buildings, such as hospitals, schools, nursing homes, theaters, and hotels, which they inspect regularly. Fire inspectors also ensure that the facility’s fire-protection equipment and systems are properly functioning. While inspecting buildings, they make recommendations on how fire-safety equipment could be used better and provide information regarding the storage of flammable materials, electrical hazards, and other common causes of fires.
Inspectors maintain a variety of reports and records related to fire inspections, code requirements, permits, and training. These documents may be used in a court of law. They also instruct employers, civic groups, schoolchildren, and others on extinguishing small fires, escaping burning buildings, operating fire extinguishers, and establishing evacuation plans.
Forest fire inspectors and prevention specialists are specially trained professionals who assess and identify fire hazards in both residential and public areas that may cause danger to wildlife and forest areas, recommend ways to reduce the fire hazard, and report fire conditions to central command.