There are many opportunities for professional development as a fire and arson investigator within British Columbia. The format of events may range from affordable one day seminars and lunch and learns to more expensive multi day conferences with tested training and certification opportunities. For those prepared to invest some extra time and travel expense many additional training opportunities can be found nearby in Alberta, Washington, Oregon, California or further a field.
Apart from the seminar and course offerings provided by the IAAI, there are many outside organizations devoted to training such as the RCMP Pacific Rim Training Center , The Justice Institute of BC, BCIT, College of the Rockies, Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy, and others. Associations similar to our own such as the Fire Prevention Officer’s Association (FPOABC), Fire Training Officer’s Association of BC (FTOABC), Fire Chief’s Association of British Columbia (FCABC), National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), National Associationof Fire Investigators (NAFI) and the Insurance Adjuster’s Association of British Columbia (IAABC) also offer training seminars and in some cases certifications.
Professional Standards for Fire Investigators
As with any profession, the selection of training opportunities should take into consideration of the Job Performance Requirements (JPR’s) of the positon and any relevant professional standards. The first edition of NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator (NFPA 1033), was adopted by the NFPA in June of 1987. The most current edition of this standard is the 2009 Edition. The JPR’s in NFPA1033 are applicable to both public and private fire investigators and can be used to determine that an individual, when measured to the standard, possesses the skills and knowledge to perform as a fire investigator.
The National Board of Fire Service Qualifications (NBFSQ) otherwise known as “Pro Board” provides accreditation to educational institutions or organizations with developed training programs who have voluntarily sought accreditation status in order to confirm that thier training programs meet or exceed stated criteria of educational quality and meet applicable international standards. Professionals that seek to obtain certifications that have been ProBoard acccredited can be better assured that they are gaining high quality and internationally recognized training.
Provided below is a compendium of information relative to various professional development opportunities and pathways to certification as a professional Fire Investigator. Please feel free to contact us if you have additional information to add to this page.
International Association of Arson Investigators
Our own association offers four certifications including “Certified Fire Investigator”. Achievement of the CFI designation is a path to gaining ProBoard accreditation to the recognized National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standard for fire investigation professionals, “NFPA 1033 – Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigators” . Each certification program usually involves a mix of academics and documentation of practical work experience. Individuals can apply for each of these certifications after gaining the necessary pre-requisite work experience and completing the necessary accredited, tested and IAAI approved training sessions either in person or through CFITrainer.net.
The Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) certification is the most highly recognized and respected certification in fire investigation. This designation attests to a level of professional competency of fire service, law enforcement and insurance professionals whose responsibilities involve the prevention, investigation or prosecution of arson. IAAI members who meet the qualification criteria and successfully complete the required testing are awarded the Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) professional designation along with a Proboard certificate that attests they meet the NFPA 1033 standard.
The Fire Investigation Technician Program is designed to verify an applicant’s fundamental knowledge as measured against core job performance requirements of established professional qualification standards for fire investigators defined in NFPA 1021, NFPA 1033 and NFPA 1037. The applicant must provide documentation of meeting minimum requirements including experience, training, and education. Upon approval they must successfully pass a comprehensive examination.
The Evidence CollectionTechnician Program is designed to verify an applicant’s fundamental knowledge as measured against core job performance requirements of established professional qualifications standards and standard industry practices related to evidence collection on fire scenes. This measurement is not all inclusive of the incorporated professional standards sited but lays the foundation for measuring the holder’s fundamental ability to perform specific evidence collection tasks related to fire scene investigation at an acceptable level as measured against published acceptable practices.
The International Association of Arson Investigators, Certified Instructor program
(IAAI-CI) is administered by the IAAI and is designed to verify an applicant’s level of
fundamental knowledge as measured against various core job performance requirements
(JPRs) of established professional qualifications standards related to Fire Service
Local Chapter Training Seminars
Each year the BC Chapter 15 holds an annual general meeting along with a multi-day training event. Two additional training seminars are usually held in the winter and the fall. Members from around British Columbia and Washington gather together to participate and exchange information regarding fire and arson investigation. Attendees of the annual meeting and seminar enhance thier knowledge and skills in new and innovative approaches to fire and arson investigation.
The educational seminars address a diverse array of topics related to the prevention, investigation and prosecution of arson fires. Representative seminar topics designed to enhance the knowledge of seminar participants include:
- expert witness qualifications
- electrcial fire causes
- evidence collection protocols
- explosion dynamics and explosive devices
- vehicle fires
- fire scene examination
- forensic pathology
- organized crime, gangs and arson
- Roles of the various parties in a Fire Investigation
- Terrorism and arson
- Fraud and Arson
Course Fees: $50 to $1000
Justice Institute of British Columbia
The Justice Institute of British Columbia offers three fire investigation courses that lead to ProBoard Certification. Click on the link below for more information from thier website.
Course fees: $200 up to $644.64
Fire Prevention Officer’s Association of British Columbia
The Fire Prevention Officers Association of BC is Pro Board accredited under the delegated authority of the Vancouver Island Emergency Response Academy to offer an online course that covers the minimum requirements of NFPA 1033. All theory work is done from a computer terminal with internet access. After finishing the classroom portion, candidates must complete a one day proctored practical examination. Once candidates have passed the theory exam and the practical portion they are issued a certificate.
In 2011 the JIBC & FPOABC came to an understanding and agreement on the FPOABC ProBoard accredited course NFPA1033 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator as offered by the FPOABC. This link will provide additional information on the agreement reached.
Course fees: $1500.00
The Institution of Fire Engineers
Click on the following link to learn more about using your IAAI CFI ProBoard credentials to gain an IFE membership.