Fire Inspector Courses, Classes and Training Information
Fire inspectors ensure that buildings comply with fire safety codes by working with developers on building plans and performing regular inspections of existing properties. Fire inspector courses may be found within certificate programs or as part of an associate's degree program in fire science. These courses familiarize students with fire behavior, fire causes and fire safety regulations for protecting life and property.
List of Fire Inspector Courses
Building Construction and Codes
A fire inspector's main task is to certify that buildings meet fire safety standards; therefore, students must learn about various types of buildings and how they're constructed. Coursework introduces the codes, regulations and laws that apply to each type. Building materials are studied for their fire resistant properties. This class teaches how to read blueprints for projects under construction and conduct inspections on finished buildings.
Fire Detection and Protection
This course studies the design and application of fire alarms and systems which detect and suppress fires. Suppression system types can include water, gas or chemical. Students learn how water-based systems are connected to the local water supply and how much water is required. The codes and standards for suppression system layout and capacity are addressed.
In addition to homes and offices, fire inspectors must also inspect industrial sites and other locations which may contain hazardous and flammable materials such as propane, gasoline or fertilizer. This class covers the handling, storage and transportation of hazardous materials. Students also learn the procedures for responding to hazard emergencies. Identification of materials and understanding of chemical reactions are key elements.
This course teaches basic concepts of chemistry and thermodynamics as applied to fire behavior. Students study ignition sources, combustion processes and heat transference. By understanding how different compounds and materials influence or hinder fire development, a prospective inspector can learn to prevent or control a fire's spread.
While property inspection is the primary duty of fire inspectors, they may also be called to investigate arson. This course teaches how to identify a fire's cause and point of origin. Students learn to observe evidence and determine if a fire was started accidentally or deliberately. This leads to study in proper legal procedure for gathering evidence and filing reports.
Fire inspector training usually comes from a 1- or 2-semester certificate program. Some schools may offer two separate certificates in the two certification levels of fire inspector. Fire Inspector I is an entry-level position which involves basic inspections and assistance with investigations. At the Fire Inspector II level, trainees can perform more complex evaluations of hazardous locations and act as primary investigators in fire incidents. Fire inspectors can be certified at either level by the National Fire Protection Association or by the International Code Council; most positions require certification from one or the other.
A broader education in this field can be found in an associate's degree program for fire science or fire science technology, which combines fire inspector courses with fire-fighting training and general education classes. In addition to fire inspection, graduates with an associate's degree have additional career opportunities as fire fighters or administrators within a fire department.
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