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What are the requirements to become an arson investigator?

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  • What are the requirements to become an arson investigator?

    What are the requirements to become an arson investigator in Texas? Do I have to first start off as a firefighter? And would being an arson investigator be an exciting career to enjoy? How do I know if I qualify?

  • #2
    Depends on the city

    Most have you come through the ranks but other you can hire off the street, such as Dallas

    To be tx certified you have about a two week school for the investigator certification and Also have to go through peace officer academey which varies depending on the schedule you take

    You can to the investigator class with no problem

    http://www.trainingdivision.com/fire...ator-nfpa-921/

    http://www.teex.org/teex.cfm?pageid=...emplateid=1414
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=JZdEH...e_gdata_player

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    • #3
      Originally posted by mattrokni234 View Post
      What are the requirements to become an arson investigator in Texas? Do I have to first start off as a firefighter? And would being an arson investigator be an exciting career to enjoy? How do I know if I qualify?
      Being a Fire Investigator can be a dirty, nasty job - it is NOT all glory.....all kinds of weather, potentially dangerous scenes/situations, deceased person(s).....

      It is a very good idea to have a background in firefighting......

      In NY, I had to take Fire behavior and arson awareness, principles of fire investigation, and 30 hours on on-the-job investigation experience (among other things) to get my Level 1 Fire Investigator.....to get to a Level 2, it is another 2 weeks of class, plus I think another 80 hours in hands-on investigation....along with specialized classes such as electrical cause, court room testimony etc.......

      Check with your State Fire Marshals' Office (or equal), and/or Fire Academy - you can probably go on line and find the qualifications....

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      • #4
        Your question is a bit vague. Maybe it is not as "vague" as the fact that there is big answer to your questions, specifically regarding Texas.

        In Texas, all certifications, training, standards, and etc. are managed by the Texas Commission on Fire Protection. The TCFP recognizes two (2) "fire investigator" certification levels - Fire Investigator and Arson Investigator. Within each of those "paths", there are following "levels" of certification: Basic, Intermediate, Advanced, and Master.

        The big difference between the two is that an "arson" investigator is certfied as a police officer (i.e. arrest powers) whereas a "fire" investigator is not.

        Fire Investigator (Basic) - http://www.tcfp.state.tx.us/standard...p?rule=431.201

        Arson Investigator (Basic) - http://www.tcfp.state.tx.us/standard...asp?rule=431.1

        If a fire investigator (no arrest powers) determines a fire's cause indicates arson (i.e. criminal activity), the investigation must be turned over to an arson investigator (arrest powers).

        Does it help to have experience as a firefighter? Absolutely! The bigger picture requires you to know more about procedural issues, such as chain of custody, state and Federal laws, investigative methods, and etc. THAT comes from a committment of time, effort, and education in the fire investigation field, i.e. alot more than a fire investigation "class" and taking a certification exam.

        A good place to start looking is at professional fire investigation associations such as the International Association of Fire Investigators (IAAI). They have alot of information on their website with regards to this field.

        Additionally, if you can find a private fire investigation firm who will hire you, try get a job as a "journeyman" helper to a regular, certified/licensed investigator. Although you'll work for peanuts and get really dirty, you'll learn the "trade" and art of fire investigation.

        Good luck.
        DFW



        "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

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        • #5
          Originally posted by fire49 View Post
          Depends on the city

          Most have you come through the ranks but other you can hire off the street, such as Dallas
          Dallas picks senior Lieutenants and Captains from their inspectors to become fire & arson investigators.

          Austin, Houston, and Fort Worth promote them from fire suppression and train them in that specialty.

          I'm sure there is a huge mix of "how" its done everywhere else.
          Last edited by dfwfirefighter; 04-26-2011, 01:53 PM. Reason: poop
          DFW



          "There's no such thing as a free lunch."

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          • #6
            Here is a link from Virginia's Fire Marshal Academy.


            http://www.vafire.com/training/techn...anch/VFMA.html


            It will get you a good idea of what being an Investigator is all about.

            As Pasobuff said, it isn't all glitz and glitter.

            I have spent some very cold nights looking through charred buildings and seeing the remains of humans who didn't get out of the buildings and died.
            Stay Safe and Well Out There....

            Always remembering 9-11-2001 and 343+ Brothers

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            • #7
              Originally posted by CaptOldTimer View Post
              it isn't all glitz and glitter.
              Is any of it glitz and glitter?
              I am now a past chief and the views, opinions, and comments are mine and mine alone. I do not speak for any department or in any official capacity. Although, they would be smart to listen to me.

              "The last thing I want to do is hurt you. But it's still on the list."

              "When tempted to fight fire with fire, remember that the Fire Department usually uses water."

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