If you are interested in becoming a Fire Safety Consultant,
you may already have some experience in a related field, such as fire fighting or insurance claims adjusting. If not, you will need to start from scratch and get some training.
There are many ways to gain training, but perhaps the quickest and easiest first step is to study for a certification program. The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) offers a progressive certification program that only requires applicants to have a high school diploma. The first certificate awarded is Certified Fire Inspector I, which consists of a workbook and a written exam that must be accurately completed within a four-month timeframe.
The second certificate awarded is Certified Fire Inspector II, which consists exclusively of a four-hour written exam that must be taken within a four-month timeframe from the date of your application acceptance. Successful completion of both of these certification programs will not only serve to introduce you to the basics of fire safety inspection and prevention, but will also give you legitimacy as you begin applying for jobs.
Once you have completed the above certification programs, you are ready to prep your resume and start job hunting. Some of the first places to start are property and casualty insurance companies looking for fire claims adjusters. Since this will be an entry-level position for you, be sure to target the companies that provide claims training. If you cannot land a claims job immediately, you may want to try just getting your foot in the door, since inside promotions may be easier to secure than an outside hire.
Any experience you can get inside a property and casualty insurance company will benefit you in your quest to become a fire safety consultant, including underwriting, help desk technician, or even mailroom assistant. However you are hired, remember that your main goal is to position yourself as a fire claims adjuster and stay in that role for at least 3-5 years. The reason for this is that being a fire safety consultant requires quite a bit of hands-on experience in order to learn to visually recognize fire safety issues. Studying from a book cannot gain you this experience.
If working inside an insurance company is not attractive to you, there is a second alternative. Many insurance companies hire outside firms to inspect existing commercial policyholders for fire safety violations. This type of work is less involved and less detailed than claims adjusting, but the on-site visits are similar. This type of inspector will typically receive an address from the insurance company, will visit the location and do a brief walk-through, checking off list items as they go.
The list includes such details as building construction type and materials, fire alarm type and adequacy, smoke detector presence, sprinkler adequacy, and private fire protection equipment adequacy, such as fire extinguishers. In addition, the inspector would look for any anomalies within the operation itself, such as a space heater plugged in beside a box of gunpowder anything that could possibly result in fire damage to the building or in loss of life.
The best way to find these types of companies is to do an online search for loss control inspections and then contact the specific companies with your resume and your ideal radius of travel, such as Minnesota or New England Area. Bear in mind that most of these companies are small mom-and-pop entities, not large corporations. Because of this, you may not be required to have any experience whatsoever as long as you are willing to travel at a moments notice. In addition, because these companies are so small, it is highly probable that you will be working as an independent contractor with no benefits, paid vacation, or reimbursement for mileage or hotel accommodations.
While you are working in one of these fields, remember that you must continue your education in order to finally have enough qualifications to move into higher-paying positions. For example, in order to become a Certified Fire Protection Specialist with NFPA, you are required to have at least some coursework in chemistry, engineering, fire technology, or other related field in addition to your years of progressive experience before you can even register for the certification program.
When you have built up some experience and you have been able to complete certification as a Fire Protection Specialist, you are ready to look into joining a loss control firm that caters to large corporations, such as industrial warehouses or large chain department stores. These firms offer high-paying positions for inspectors that can work with a commercial entity and whip it into shape prior to bringing in the insurance specialist.
The reason for this is obvious to obtain reduced premiums and to avoid any lawsuits that may arise from Workers Compensation infractions. Eventually, after working with this type of firm for a few years, you will be ready to launch out on your own and offer this service independently. This is the ultimate goal of pursuing a career as a Fire Safety Consultant.The reason