Fire Safety Directors
Education and Training Requirements
Good communication skills are especially important in this career, so be sure to take English and speech classes. Since you’ll use computers to do your work, it’s a good idea to take computer science classes (including those in database management). Any courses that help you to develop your critical-thinking skills—such as mathematics, philosophy, science, government, and social studies—will also be useful. Taking a foreign language such as Spanish might come in handy if you work in a building with a large number of people who do not speak English as their first language.
A college degree is not required to work as a fire safety director, but some FSDs have degrees in fire science, firefighting, or related fields.
Fire safety directors usually need a certificate of fitness from their city’s fire department. Requirements typically include the completion of 10- to 20-hour training course offered by the fire department (FD) or a FD-approved school, pass a fire department examination, and pass an on-site examination at the building where the fire safety director will work.
Many community colleges offer certificates in fire science and related areas, which can provide you with a good background for your work and, perhaps, improve your chances of landing a job. Contact schools in your area to learn about available programs.
Other Education or Training
To keep their skills up to date, fire safety directors take courses in first aid, emergency preparedness, crisis management, and related areas. These classes are offered by the American Red Cross, professional associations, and colleges and universities.
Certification, Licensing, and Special Requirements
Certification or Licensing
No certification or licensing is available for fire safety directors.
Most employers require fire safety directors to pass a background check, which may include drug testing.
Experience, Skills, and Personality Traits
Several years of experience in management positions, in fire protection, or as a building superintendent are required to work as a fire safety director.
Fire safety directors need to be detail-oriented and organized in order to ensure that their building is in compliance with fire safety regulations and that any risk areas have been addressed. They need excellent communication skills in order to write and update their building’s emergency evacuation and operations plan and explain this information to the building’s occupants, as well as to convey potentially life-saving instructions during a fire or other crisis. Fire safety directors need to be extremely calm, clear-headed, and decisive during emergencies. The building’s occupants may be scared or unsure of what to do, and the FSD serves as the leader until the fire department can arrive.