New Fire Inspectors
The High Ridge Fire Protection District recently hosted a Fire Inspector I Course for 32 firefighters and building officials who came from as far away as Kansas City. The course was sponsored by the Jefferson County Fire Marshal’s Association and the course lead instructor and coordinator was Glenn Nivens, former Antonia Fire Marshal. St. Louis NFSA staff served as instructors for the fire suppression systems module of the course that leads students through system design, installation and system inspection, testing and maintenance. NFSA’s Paul Richard described how a fire inspector would determine whether a system was operational by looking at gauges and control valves.
During the course, firefighters new to inspections undergo 40 hours of classroom instruction and practical skills based upon NFPA 1031 Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspector and Plan Examiner. Students receive classroom lectures regarding the inspector’s role, life safety, general fire safety, protection systems and hazardous materials storage. In addition, students complete a series of practical skills involving inspections of sprinkler, alarm and hood systems, means of egress, identifying hazards, and fire department access. Successful completion of the course and practical skills are required for eligibility to take the Missouri Fire Inspector I Certification Examination.
Because the Missouri Division of Fire Safety follows NFPA 1031 and has achieved IFSAC and Pro Board accreditation, the Inspector I Course has reciprocity in other states.
The program, however, is only the beginning. After passing the practical and the state certification test, fire inspectors will need to attend regular continuing education and training in order to renew their certification. Fire inspectors can also go on to achieve the state Fire Inspector II certification, NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist (CFPS), International Code Council (ICC) Fire Plans Examiner or a host of other NFPA and ICC Certifications.