The road a person takes to become a fire marshal may differ from place to place. Often, an individual who wants to be a fire marshal earns a college degree and gains experience in a fire-related job. Depending on where he plans to work, he may also be subject to licensing and certification requirements. In some localities, law-enforcement-related training may be necessary, as fire marshals may carry guns and make arrests.
In many places, a file marshal is expected to perform a wide range of duties. Part of his job, for example, involves the enforcement of the jurisdiction’s fire codes. In fact, some places may even enlist a fire marshal’s help in writing fire codes. His job may also include investigating fires to determine what caused them. This is not the case everywhere, as some places divide the job of investigating fires and enforcing codes into two entirely separate positions.
Many jurisdictions give fire marshals the authority to arrest individuals suspected of starting fires or engaging in other criminal acts involving flammable materials. In such a case, a fire marshal may physically detain a suspect, log the arrest, and fingerprint the accused person. He may also prepare a report for the attorney charged with prosecuting the accused and testify in court when necessary.
Generally, a person must have, at minimum, a high school diploma in order to become a fire marshal. An individual in this position also needs a valid driver’s license. Often, a candidate has to submit to a background check as well. As such, he should not have a record of serious criminal activity.
A person who wants to become a fire marshal should check his jurisdiction’s requirements before embarking on this career path. Some jurisdictions require candidates to secure four-year degrees in fire science, fire-protection engineering, or a related subject. Others may require both fire-related experience and a degree. In some locations, a person may be able to substitute his degree for at least a portion of the required work experience.
The experience required for this job typically includes at least a few years of work in preventing or investigating fires. Some jurisdictions may count fire-fighting work as well. No matter what his background, however, a person who wants to become a fire marshal must meet the specific training and certifications set by the department in which he wants to work. In many places, for example, a person is expected to obtain both fire marshal certification and licensing in building inspection.