CAREER GUIDE FOR FIRE INSPECTOR

SOC Code: 33-2021.01

 

Pay Band(s): 2,3, 4 and 5                   (Salary Structure)

 

Standard Occupational Description: Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations.

 

Fire Inspector positions in the Commonwealth are assigned to the following Roles in the Public Safety Compliance Career Group:

 

Compliance/Safety Officer I

 

Compliance/Safety Officer II

 

Compliance/Safety Officer III

 

Compliance/Safety Officer IV

 

While Fire Inspectors within the Commonwealth are all located within the Public Safety Compliance Career Group, individuals may want to pursue other opportunities within the Commonwealth depending upon individual training, education, knowledge, skills, abilities, and interests.   

 

Other Career Group(s) that may be of interest are:

 

Law Enforcement

Engineering Technology

Building Trades

Training and Instruction

SKILLS, KNOWLEDGE, ABILITIES AND TASKS

(Technical and Functional Expertise)

 

Skills

Note: The technical and functional skills listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Fire Inspectors commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the skills listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

1.      Conducting tests and inspections of products, services, or processes to evaluate quality or performance.

2.      Communicating effectively in writing as appropriate for the needs of the audience.

3.      Determining causes of operating errors and deciding what to do about it.

4.      Talking to others to convey information effectively.

5.      Using logic and reasoning to identify the strengths and weaknesses of alternative solutions, conclusions or approaches to problems.

6.      Considering the relative costs and benefits of potential actions to choose the most appropriate one.

7.       Understanding written sentences and paragraphs in work related documents.

8.      Teaching others how to do something.

9.      Understanding the implications of new information for both current and future problem solving and decision-making.

10.  Identifying complex problems and reviewing related information to develop and evaluate options and implement solutions.

 

Knowledge

Note: The technical and functional knowledge statements listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Fire Inspectors commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the knowledge listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

The Knowledge of:

 

1.      Relevant equipment, policies, procedures, and strategies to promote effective local, state, or national security operations for the protection of people, data, property, and institutions.

2.      Laws, legal codes, court procedures, precedents, government regulations, executive orders, agency rules, and the democratic political process.

3.      Structure and content of the English language including the meaning and spelling of words, rules of composition, and grammar.

4.      Practical application of engineering science and technology. This includes applying principles, techniques, procedures, and equipment to the design and production of various goods and services.

5.      Materials, methods, and the tools involved in the construction or repair of houses, buildings, or other structures such as highways and roads.

 

Abilities

Note: The technical and functional abilities listed below are based on general occupational qualifications for Fire Inspectors commonly recognized by most employers.  Typically, you will not be required to have all of the abilities listed to be a successful performer.  Recruitment and selection standards for an individual state job must be based on the specific knowledge, skills, and abilities for that job as indicated in the job announcement and job description in the Employee Work Profile.

 

The Ability to:

 

1.      Communicate information and ideas in speaking so others will understand.

2.      Tell when something is wrong or is likely to go wrong. It does not involve solving the problem, only recognizing there is a problem.

3.      Communicate information and ideas in writing so others will understand.

4.      Combine pieces of information to form general rules or conclusions (includes finding a relationship among seemingly unrelated events).

5.      Speak clearly so others can understand you.

6.      Listen to and understand information and ideas presented through spoken words and sentences.

7.      See details at close range (within a few feet of the observer).

8.      Apply general rules to specific problems to produce answers that make sense.

9.      Read and understand information and ideas presented in writing.

10.  Arrange things or actions in a certain order or pattern according to a specific rule or set of rules (e.g., patterns of numbers, letters, words, pictures, mathematical operations).

 

 

 

 

Tasks

Note:  The following is a list of sample tasks typically performed by Fire Inspectors.  Employees in this occupation will not necessarily perform all of the tasks listed. 

 

Tasks

 

1.      Attend training classes in order to maintain current knowledge of fire prevention, safety, and firefighting procedures.

2.      Conduct fire code compliance follow-ups to ensure that corrective actions have been taken in cases where violations were found.

3.      Conduct fire exit drills to monitor and evaluate evacuation procedures.

4.      Conduct inspections and acceptance testing of newly installed fire protection systems.

5.      Develop or review fire exit plans.

6.      Identify corrective actions necessary to bring properties into compliance with applicable fire codes, laws, regulations, and standards, and explain these measures to property owners or their representatives.

7.      Inspect and test fire protection and/or fire detection systems to verify that such systems are installed in accordance with appropriate laws, codes, ordinances, regulations, and standards.

8.      Inspect buildings to locate hazardous conditions and fire code violations such as accumulations of combustible material, electrical wiring problems, and inadequate or non-functional fire exits.

9.      Inspect liquefied petroleum installations, storage containers, and transportation and delivery systems for compliance with fire laws.

10.  Inspect properties that store, handle, and use hazardous materials to ensure compliance with laws, codes, and regulations, and issue hazardous materials permits to facilities found in compliance.

INTERESTED?

 

Like people, occupations have traits or characteristics.  These characteristics give important clues about the nature of the work and work environment, and give you an opportunity to match your own personal interests to a specific occupation.  When you choose a job in an occupation that matches your own interests you have taken an important step in planning a successful and rewarding career.

 

The occupation of Fire Inspector has Conventional, Realistic and Social characteristics as described below:

 

Conventional — Conventional occupations frequently involve following set procedures and routines. These occupations can include working with data and details more than with ideas. Usually there is a clear line of authority to follow.

Realistic — Realistic occupations frequently involve work activities that include practical, hands-on problems and solutions. They often deal with plants, animals, and real-world materials like wood, tools, and machinery. Many of the occupations require working outside, and do not involve a lot of paperwork or working closely with others.

Social — Social occupations frequently involve working with, communicating with, and teaching people. These occupations often involve helping or providing service to others.

LICENSURE, REGISTRATION, OR CERTIFICATION REQUIREMENTS

 

Generally certification as a Certified Fire Inspector is required for Fire Inspector positions in state government.

 

To be eligible for certification as a Fire Inspector, an individual must meet the following criteria: (1) shall be qualified according to the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code (SFPC); (2) shall successfully complete an examination developed and administered by an approved testing agency; (3) shall complete a designated program of the Virginia Building and Fire Code Academy; (4) shall submit an Application for Certification and a copy of the examination results from the testing agency to the Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Training and Certification Office.

 

To be eligible for certification as an Inspector, Fire Protection Systems an individual must meet the following criteria: (1) shall successfully complete an examination developed and administered by an approved testing agency; (2) shall submit an Application for Certification and a copy of the examination results from the testing agency to the Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Training and Certification Office.

Enforcement officials and technical assistants administering and enforcing Fire Prevention Codes have three years from date of employment to become certified.

 

To maintain certification a certificate holder must attend programs of instruction mandated by DHCD and after each code change cycle of the Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code and Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code.

 

A valid Virginia Driver’s License is required.

Licensing information for Fire Inspectors can be found on the Department of Housing and Community Development's web site at: http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/

 

EDUCATIONAL, TRAINING, AND LEARNING OPPORTUNITIES 

 

The Department of Labor provides the following information:

Fire inspectors conduct inspections of structures to prevent fires and ensure fire code compliance. These fire inspectors also work with developers and planners to check and approve plans for new buildings. Fire prevention personnel often speak on these subjects in schools and before public assemblies and civic organizations.

 

Fire Protection Inspectors in Virginia conduct on-site fire safety inspections and follow-up inspections for buildings to ensure compliance with the Virginia Statewide Fire Prevention Code, Virginia Uniform Statewide Building Code, Life Safety Code, and all referenced model codes and standards. Responsibilities also include preparing written technical reports and other correspondence based on all inspections and research findings and providing technical assistance and consulting services for fire safety-related and life safety-related interpretations, complaints, or code issues on state, local and private buildings.

 

 

For a career as a Fire Inspector an individual must obtain knowledge and experience of administration and enforcement of state and federal building and fire safety related regulations. The Fire Inspector must be able to read and understand basic concepts of fire and life safety construction documents and must have knowledge of fire protection and suppression systems and equipment. The Fire Inspector has to be able to use a computer and the associated software.

 

Many employers prefer applicants who have at least an associate degree in engineering, architecture, building construction, fire protection or related field.

 

The State Council of Higher Education lists several Virginia community colleges that offer educational programs for those interested in associate degrees for the above listed fields. Web site is http://research.schev.edu/degreeinventory/inventory. Hampton University is a Virginia educational institution that offers a Bachelor of Science degree in fire administration.

 

Some evening, night and weekend work is required.

 

Training is provided as mandated by Virginia Certification Standards (VCS 13 VAC 5 – 21) through Department of Housing and Community Development's (DHCD) Virginia Building Code Academy (VBCA). VBCA programs are designed for individuals employed by local jurisdictions in Virginia in the occupations of building code official, fire code official, maintenance code official, and their technical assistants/inspectors.

 

For more information on training and careers for Fire Inspectors visit the Department of Housing and Community Development's web site at: http://www.dhcd.virginia.gov/

 

COMMONWEALTH COMPETENCIES

 

Competencies are a set of identified behaviors, knowledge, skills, and abilities that directly and positively impact the success of employees and the organization. Competencies can be observed and measured.  When consistently demonstrated, competencies make employees particularly effective in their work.  Competencies help lay out a road map to career success.  You can use the Commonwealth Competencies to help improve your individual performance by adopting behaviors that make high performing employees successful in their jobs. In this way, you can use the Commonwealth Competencies for your further professional development.

 

The Commonwealth Competencies are:

 

1.      Technical and Functional Expertise

2.      Understanding the Business     

3.      Achieving Results

4.      Serving the Customer

5.      Teamwork

6.      Interpersonal and Communication Skills

7.      Leadership and Personal Effectiveness

 

The above competencies may be applied to employees throughout the Commonwealth of Virginia.  They can be rank-ordered by agencies and hiring managers to represent the needs of a specific job.  The rank ordering will change depending upon the occupation, an organization's priorities, the actual job requirements, and the supervisor's preferences. 

 

Career success is both about what you do (applying your technical knowledge, skills, and ability) and how you do it (the consistent behaviors you demonstrate and choose to use) while interacting and communicating with others.  Hopefully, by studying the Commonwealth competencies, identifying your developmental opportunities, and working to refine your own competence, you can take charge of your career!

 

For additional information about the Commonwealth Competencies go to: http://jobs.state.va.us/cc_planningctr.htm.  For the competencies, we first list the competencies and then define each.  Finally, we list competency indicators; to describe what successful performance looks like. 

COMMONWEALTH CAREER PATH

 

Career opportunities in the Commonwealth are not limited to moving “up” to the next highest role and pay band, changing positions, or to becoming a supervisor.  That’s because most roles describe a broad group of occupationally related positions that perform a range of work that requires increased knowledge and skills.  For that reason, Commonwealth roles describe the career paths within the same or higher-level role for the same or different Career Group.  The broad salary range and the Commonwealth’s pay practices provide flexibility in recognizing career development and advancement. (Salary Structure)

 

 

For example: Fire Inspector

 

PAY BAND

PRACTITIONER ROLES

 

PAY BAND

MANAGER ROLES

2

Compliance/Safety Officer I

 

5

Compliance Manager I

3

Compliance/Safety Officer II

 

6

Compliance Manager II

4

Compliance/Safety Officer III

 

7

Compliance Manager III

5

Compliance/Safety Officer IV

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Sample Career Path

 

Compliance/Safety Officer I

The Compliance/Safety Officer I role provides a career track for Institutional Fire Safety Inspectors that perform routine inspections checking from a predetermined list or set of well defined procedures for obvious safety violations, hazardous conditions, or non-compliance with established laws or standards.

 

Compliance/Safety Officer II

The Compliance/Safety Officer II role provides career tracks for compliance officers that perform routine to moderate level investigations, reviews and/or inspections but is expected to judge compliance against more complex standards requiring interviews, collection and analysis of data, evidence accumulation, testing and/or computation of results. May assist others in proper management of hazardous materials. May interpret and communicate regulatory requirements to industry, consumers and the general public.

 

 

Compliance/Safety Officer III

The Compliance/Safety Officer III role provides a career track for fire protection inspectors who perform advanced level investigations or inspections of assigned cases and/or compliance audits. Responsibilities include interviewing, analyzing or sampling various processes or records in complex manufacturing or commercial enterprises, enforcing strict compliance with federal, state and local regulation and law.

 

Compliance/Safety Officer IV

The Compliance/Safety Officer IV role provides career tracks for compliance officers whose responsibilities include acting as a subject matter expert and/or first-line supervisor. Employees perform the most complex evaluations and may recommend changes in the law to accommodate new or variable processes or procedures.

 

Compliance Manager I

The Compliance Manager I role provides career tracks for managers who administer a program area and is responsible for the attainment of pre-established goals and objectives. Evaluates results as compared to standards and recommends remedial action. Requests and assigns resources and evaluates results attained.

 

Compliance Manager II

The Compliance Manager II role provides career tracks for managers that administer multiple programs of compliance and safety, providing for shifts of resources when needed as problems arise. Provides overall program support and evaluation of effectiveness as related to plans and objectives. Reports policy issues to executive management and recommends changes as appropriate.

 

Compliance Manager III

The Compliance Manager III role provides career tracks for executive level mangers who serve as the agency Deputy or in a very large organization manages multiple programs, or serves as the Compliance and Safety Program Director, reporting to the agency executive. Plans, directs, evaluates and controls compliance/safety programs. May draft legislation and formulate policy under the direction of the chief executive.

 

ADDITIONAL OCCUPATIONAL INFORMATION CAN BE FOUND AT: 

O*NET (Occupational Information Network) 
http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

O*NET (Occupational Information Network)
http://online.onetcenter.org/gen_search_page

Virginia Employment Commission
http://www.alex.vec.state.va.us/

Career One Stop
http://www.careeronestop.org/

Virginia Career Resource Network
http://www.vacrn.net/