Fire inspector courses may be found within certificate programs or as part of an associate's degree program in fire science or fire science technology. There are individual classes that provide a certain amount of training for aspiring fire inspectors as well. There are prerequisites for some of these programs, and individuals may be expected to have a background in firefighting or some other emergency responder training.
Fire inspector courses may examine the following topics:
- Building codes
- Fire protection systems
- Blueprint reading
- Fire science
List of 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 about the different suppression systems and how to effectively use each one. 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.
Fire Chemistry and Behavior
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.
Fire Investigation and Arson Detection
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 course will also go over the proper legal procedures for gathering evidence and filing reports.