alright so i've been in this career for almost a year now. i got my FF1 certification back in november and its coming up on a year since i've gotton sworn in on my department. im 19 going on 20. i got an offer from a friend on a neighboring department to join the county's arson inverstigation team. it provides hands on training and what not and i could go to class down at ohio state or bowling green out here in ohio for 2 weeks to take the actual course. i at some point would like to work my way up to investigator but i dont know if im quite ready yet. thoughts and opinions would be appreciated! thanks and stay safe!
I know i am more than likely wrong, but i would say go for it. My chief likes young officers that can be trained well and not have to unlearn a bunch of stuff that dosent work anymore, old habbits and such. At least in my area oppertunities dont come around often for much of anything, so strike while the iron is hot.
Never turn down training when it's offered. Any such courses will further your career. If the department will allow you to go for two weeks, fantastic! Good luck!
Pay particular attention to detail when writing so that if and when you become an investigator your reports will be the best they can be. Little things like capitalization.
I am going to be the squeaky wheel here, sorry.... :)
I hope you take this as advice and not a personal insult, PLEASE.
I am a level one state fire investigator for NY as well as a Nationally Certified Fire & Explosion Investigator. I did not get involved with the investigating side of things until well into my "career" (about 17 years into it). This is the suggestion I am going to make; experience helps determine cause of fires. Take some time to fight fires first, if your officers investigate the fires ask if you can go with them so you see both aspects of it, the fire itself as you extinguish it and then the patterns it made as you investigate it. To me, having someone be a fire investigator with only a year's experience is like promoting someone off the street to head of quality management at a factory when he/she has never worked there before and does not know how to build their product.
Fire Investigating is a science, it takes time and effort, its boring at times and there is hundreds of hours of tedious work to be performed besides the actually scene investigation; there is the interviews, scene documentation with sketches and photo's, paperwork, court hearings, evidence collection and custody, research into different aspects of the investigation and recalls on consumer products to look into, analyzing the data collected, re-analyzing the data...
If you are still a firefighter with a little actuall field experience my suggestion would be to join this county team, take every and all of the training they offer, OBSERVE them for the first year or so and learn all you can WHILE continuing to fight fires and gaining the valuable experience you will need. This will prepare you for a career as an investigator or fire marshal.
I applied for a job as a fire investigator a few years ago; I had (at the time) 20 years experience as a firefighter, my Level One Fire Investigator Training with 22 hour of field experience, I took Electrical Fire Cause Determination I and II at the fire academy plus Fire Behavior and Arson Awareness 3 times in 7 years, I was Lieutenant of my department at the time as well...I interviewed for the position and they told me flat out I had not enough experience for the job, I would need another 100 hours field work plus another 5 training classes.
I thought I was ready too.
Just my un-biased look into this for you and I hope you take it as advice and not an insult, I realy and truly wish you the best of luck with this and i hope you are able to achieve your dreams. Let me know if I can be of any assistance to you, send me a PM and we can exchange emails.
Thanks Moose! and none offense taken! your point is exactly why im debating whether or not to take it. much appreciated!
No problem...did you join the county team yet? Is that a paid position in your county or volunteer like it is here in my area?
Let me know if I can help, PM me anytime and we can exchange info.
Definitely join the arson investigation team, the training will be valuable to you. You will learn how fires are started, how fire behaves under all types of conditions, about different types of construction and how it reacts to fire, how to control and extinguish it. As well as so much more to help you be a good firefighter not just a firefighter. I would not worry about not knowing enough, every aspect of the fire service is a team effort, and a team works together, and teaches each other, and learns from each other, you will learn as you go, the best way to learn is to learn from the people who know how to do it. Hands on is better than sitting in class, you can get A's in the classroom, but if you can't actually do the job you are useless. I am not saying not to go to school it is all necessary for proper training, but getting hands on with people who are actually doing the job is the best training. Some times in school you get instructors who either never actually did the job, or have not done the job since they had to hitch the horses before responding to a call. So jump on this chance to help your self and your county. Good Luck! Stay Safe! Captain Kevin C. Ross