What Does it Mean to Be in the Fire Sciences?
When most people think about fire and life safety, they think about the extremes: house fires, firefighters, and wailing sirens. What people tend to not think about are the lives of the people who keep us from getting to that point: fire and life safety inspectors.
Fire and Life Safety Inspectors are the folks who are inspecting buildings day-to-day using state-of-the-art software like that of Inspect Point’s software. They make sure that businesses, schools, and other buildings meet the function and codes of fire and life safety.
But what exactly does it mean to be a fire and life safety inspector? How do they inspect, and how much money do they make? For all those considering a career in the fire and life safety world, and for the rest of us who are just plain curious, let’s take a look at the life of a fire and life safety inspector.
What is a Fire Inspection?
Differences in Fire Codes
The exact process that happens during a fire inspection can differ from region to region, state to state. This is because different areas have different fire codes and regulations regarding what commercial buildings need to be equipped with.
In the most basic sense, a fire inspector does an inspection of existing fire codes for their region. They test fire and life safety equipment and make sure that people in the building will have the proper safety equipment in case of an emergency. Codes also require buildings to have safe emergency exits, emergency evacuation plans, etc.
How We Decide on Fire Codes
While fire and life safety codes differ, what they do is inform building owners what requirements need to be met. They inform what equipment a building will need, like fire alarms and fire sprinklers.
Fire codes are decided upon by a consensus of different organizations like the National Fire Protection Agency. The NFPA 101 is one of the most widely used guidelines for fire safety. According to the NFPA website, the NFPA 101 is “the only document that covers life safety in both new and existing structures”
What is it Like to be a Fire Inspector?
Following Codes and Standards
According to recruiter.com, a fire inspector will “work in tandem with local and state safety regulations to make sure that safety codes and equipment are followed and functional”.
Fire inspectors examine fire and life safety systems to ensure occupants in any given commercial building are going to be safe in case of an emergency. They make sure that equipment like fire extinguishers are working properly and up to date. Additionally, they will check for obstructions or obstacles in a building. Obstructions or obstacles will make it difficult for equipment or emergency responders to react as intended.
Inspections are recorded with detailed reports and are then given to the building operators. Inspectors will also help create an exit/emergency plan for a building and it’s occupants.
Take a look at this YouTube video of some of the daily happenings for a fire inspector.
What Does an Inspector Do Day-to-Day?
There is a lot to being a fire and life safety inspector outside of looking at the remains of charred buildings. Fire inspectors work 40 hour weeks like a lot of the American job force. Just more than 50% of inspectors surveyed by owlguru.com reported working in an office environment every day.
Inspectors also reported that almost 90% have daily interactions with customers and more than 50% report working outside every day.
70% of inspectors report being satisfied with their job and 72% find their job to be helpful/meaningful.
As we’ve already discussed, one of the main responsibilities for inspectors is the actual inspection. However, there are many other jobs an inspector might perform on a regular basis.
In addition to identifying problems, they also come up with plans of corrective action and follow up with reports on their findings and ideas.
They also inspect properties or buildings where hazardous materials and waste are stored. Fire and life safety inspectors will make sure they are being stored according to the local safety code. They will issue permits for properties to store said materials as long as they are in compliance with said codes and guidelines.
Inspectors might also act as a sort of spokesperson for the fire and life safety code world. Additionally, they might give instructional talks to building owners, architects, or to the general public.
But How Does it Pay?
A fire inspector generally makes somewhere between $50,000 to $70,000 annually. This number can vary with experience, tenure, and location. For example, the region for the most highly compensated fire and life safety inspectors is California, where inspectors could make more than $80,000 per year.
Becoming a fire inspector requires an associate’s degree in the fire sciences or applicable vocational training. This education isn’t easy, but it is essential for such a highly skilled and qualified position. After all, lives are at risk if these codes are not enforced.
Is this the Job for Me?
Making the Job Easier, Not Obsolete
As we discussed previously, Inspect Point makes the life of a fire inspector significantly easier. Some people may see that as a statement that inspectors are slowly becoming obsolete, but that’s not true at all.
Inspect Point clearly and easily lays out information and inspection points for technicians. However, the job requires a lot of problem-solving skills a computer can’t always be equipped to handle.
The Personality of a Fire Inspector
Fire inspectors need to have a love of structure, guidelines, and regulations. They also need to be creative problem-solvers. A fire inspector makes sure that a functional building meets all of the safety requirements. But when a building does catch fire, an inspector may also need to be able to sift through the charred clues to discover what happened.
While Inspect Point is sure to make your life as an inspector easier, we designed it specifically for that purpose. Not to take your job, but to help you perform your job better.
Not a Job for Everyone
There is no job in the emergency services that are well-suited to every person. Firefighters, EMT’s, and fire inspectors all have difficult jobs that require very specific and sometimes difficult training.
It can be a job that comes with a lot of stress. Inspect Point seeks to alleviate some of the unnecessary stress. A fire inspector’s life can be difficult, but being able to accurately communicate with their administration shouldn’t be part of that difficulty.
Check out our website to see how we make fire and life safety inspections simple, effective, and efficient with our innovative software.