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Fire Inspectors

The Job

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.