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  1. #1

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    Default Fire Investigator in training needing advice

    I am in a similiar situation. I started out vistiting fire scenes with my father in law, who is a private fire investigator, about 3 years ago with no intentions of actually pursuing it as a career. This past year i became increasingly intersted in the field and decided to enroll in school to get my Fire Inspector and Fire Investigation certs. As of right now i have been on 50-60 fires and just completed my first class, Cause and Origin. As part of my education, i am reviewing the material on CFItrainer.net, applied for my Private Investigator license, and considering getting my NAFI cert.(quite expensive). My problem is getting a job. Does anyone know (on the private side) what options are available to me with limited experience? I am in school and i am joining all the necessary oraginzations but i am having trouble finding a job. Any recommendations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.


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    Yours is a paradox that many new fire investigators find themselves facing. The problem is that a private fire investigation company cannot afford to hire an investigator that may have trouble qualifying as an expert in court. The certifications may help, but the bottom line is the clients and the courts are going to look mostly at your experience. Of those 50-60 fires, how many did you actually investigate on your own and write a report? Did you photograph them and collect evidence? Did you interview witnesses? Were your findings validated in any way?

    I'm not putting you down, because every one has to start somewhere. You have a leg up on alot of guys because of your uncle. If I were you, I would start there, if he'll let you, and build your resume. Keep going to every school possible. You sound young. You have a long career ahead of you. Do it right.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Cool

    Quote Originally Posted by msanta61 View Post
    I am in a similiar situation. I started out vistiting fire scenes with my father in law, who is a private fire investigator, about 3 years ago with no intentions of actually pursuing it as a career. This past year i became increasingly intersted in the field and decided to enroll in school to get my Fire Inspector and Fire Investigation certs. As of right now i have been on 50-60 fires and just completed my first class, Cause and Origin. As part of my education, i am reviewing the material on CFItrainer.net, applied for my Private Investigator license, and considering getting my NAFI cert.(quite expensive). My problem is getting a job. Does anyone know (on the private side) what options are available to me with limited experience? I am in school and i am joining all the necessary oraginzations but i am having trouble finding a job. Any recommendations or suggestions would be greatly appreciated. Thanks.
    Contrary to your belief and many others, obtaining the NAFI CFEI is not that expensive. I beleive the application fee is around $125 which is similar to the IAAI CFI fees. Many people believe you have to attend one of the NAFI seminars (I assume you are under that belief, if that is not true I apologize) to take the test and that is not true. You can contact NAFI to have the test proctored near you. However, if you have the opportunity to attend a NAFI seminar, do so, you will get your moneys worth.

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    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    Reviving an older thread here!

    George, and others, I'd like to pick brains here. My wife has a masters in forensics with a concentration in advanced investigation. She's not a firefighter, has not taken FF1 or FF2, and has only time on a truck riding with my shift a little. All that said, her big interest is fire investigation, and it always has been. The problem most of you will already see is not actually BEING a firefighter, and no time in the field. The question we're seeking all helpful hints on is what path might she take to start an entry-level investigator job without riding a truck for 10 years? Before anyone thinks I haven't considered how controversial this question probably is, I agree that tradition has generally been that people work in fire suppression prior to getting into investigation. The fire service is ALL about tradition, but I leave some room for the possibility that education can be equally valuable. It might rival the arguments of "10 years OJT vs every certificate under the sun," or "EMTP with no experience vs EMTB with 20years." I want to think outside the box and break tradition if there's even a chance that others see a little of what I'm saying.

    I/we appreciate any thoughts!
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  5. #5
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    Default Hope this helps

    Quote Originally Posted by kghemtp View Post
    Reviving an older thread here!

    George, and others, I'd like to pick brains here. My wife has a masters in forensics with a concentration in advanced investigation. She's not a firefighter, has not taken FF1 or FF2, and has only time on a truck riding with my shift a little. All that said, her big interest is fire investigation, and it always has been. The problem most of you will already see is not actually BEING a firefighter, and no time in the field. The question we're seeking all helpful hints on is what path might she take to start an entry-level investigator job without riding a truck for 10 years? Before anyone thinks I haven't considered how controversial this question probably is, I agree that tradition has generally been that people work in fire suppression prior to getting into investigation. The fire service is ALL about tradition, but I leave some room for the possibility that education can be equally valuable. It might rival the arguments of "10 years OJT vs every certificate under the sun," or "EMTP with no experience vs EMTB with 20years." I want to think outside the box and break tradition if there's even a chance that others see a little of what I'm saying.

    I/we appreciate any thoughts!
    With a masters degree she could apply for a job with ATF. They have a fire research lab in maryland. They bring specialist to every fire scene they work.
    The pay is very good. I think this would be your best option. You can work for ATF without being an agent. ATF CFI's are GS-12 and GS-13 paygrades.

    There are about a dozen private labs in the US that process evidence from fire scene.

    I think it would be very hard if not impossible to start off in a fire department as an investigator.

    Private side, I know its impossible. They all want CFI or CFEI certifications and 5 to 10 years in the field as a prerequsite to being hired.

    You should become a member of IAAI and get tied in with their network.
    That may open up some options.

    There are two public side certification programs

    NAFI (CFEI certification) This is easiest one to get. Often referred to as the entry level certification.
    Test is 100 questions all from NFPA 921. I was told this test has a 90% pass rate. If you study 921 you can pass the test and get certified without every working in the field.

    IAAI (CFI certification)
    This certification requires a minimum 4 to 5 years of working in the field.
    Court room testimony or Court room testimony school
    Minimum Educational courses requirements(good place to start is CFItrainer.net)
    You do not have to be a member of IAAI to use CFItrainer.net.
    You do have to register and get a password. This is because when you complete an online course you take a test. If you pass you can print a certificate of training and it will have your name on it.
    IAAI certification test is generated from 6 or 7 publications including
    NFPA 921, Fire Protection Handbook, and Kirks.

    Hope this helps!

    Good Luck

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

  6. #6
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    Actually this is quite helpful, and I'm making a collection of websites & references to pursue. Thank you!!
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

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    Quote Originally Posted by kghemtp View Post
    Reviving an older thread here!

    George, and others, I'd like to pick brains here. My wife has a masters in forensics with a concentration in advanced investigation. She's not a firefighter, has not taken FF1 or FF2, and has only time on a truck riding with my shift a little. All that said, her big interest is fire investigation, and it always has been. The problem most of you will already see is not actually BEING a firefighter, and no time in the field. The question we're seeking all helpful hints on is what path might she take to start an entry-level investigator job without riding a truck for 10 years? Before anyone thinks I haven't considered how controversial this question probably is, I agree that tradition has generally been that people work in fire suppression prior to getting into investigation. The fire service is ALL about tradition, but I leave some room for the possibility that education can be equally valuable. It might rival the arguments of "10 years OJT vs every certificate under the sun," or "EMTP with no experience vs EMTB with 20years." I want to think outside the box and break tradition if there's even a chance that others see a little of what I'm saying.

    I/we appreciate any thoughts!
    First off, let me tell you two things:

    1. This question is not all that controversial. It is actually a great question. Some of the finest fire investigators we have in the field today, for reasons you are about to see, have never spent five minutes on the hoseline.
    2. Ignore virtually everything cubbie posted.

    I have been in this field every day of my life for a long time. I first testified as an expert witness in 1980. Back then, the field of fire investigation was rooted in anecdotal evidence, an ignorance of science and untested theory. It was easy for a fire officer to call himself a fire investigator based on the fact that he had seen it and done it all. This nonsense was so deeply rooted that it still continues in some areas today. Back then, there was no such thing as Daubert or Frye, there was no significant research into fire science and the forensic capabibilities of most laboratories was primitive at best.

    As the field of fire investigation has evolved, even in just the past few years, science and forensics have moved to the forefront. Today, a fire investigator MUST know an awful lot about fire science and fire dynamics. He also must be completely aware of how to properly conduct a complete and thorough fire investigation that can withstand rigorous scrutiny in a court of law. The fire investigator working in the 21st century must be thoroughly familiar with the forensically proper way to document a scene and to report their findings in a cogent, scientifically acceptable fashion.

    As I said earlier, I spend virtually every day of my life in an activity involving fire investigation. I have worked with hundreds of fire investigators. I can tell you without hesitation that some of the best that I have encountered have been police officers, engineers or scientists who have an extensive background and education in the field, including conducting research that most fire fighters would not even begin to understand. These folks are employed in both the public and private sector-some make a very lucrative living.

    I am a member of the IAAI CFI Committee. I review several applications a month for both new and renewal certifications. While it is true that there are requirements for education, training and experience in the field, there is zero truth that the education, experience and training has to be in the field of fire fighting. I am making the assumption that your wife is working in the forensic investigation field. Her education, training and experience would definitely count towards the IAAI-CFI certification. As would any papers she may have published, texts she may have contributed to or classes that she may have taught. Fire investigation related items garner more points, but the valuable experience your wife would bring to the table is definitely counted towards an IAAI certification.

    Has she testified in court as an expert witness? Chances are that those testimonies would also count towards her certification.

    A major challenge, as I see it, is getting some relevant experience and training. First thing, she should join the IAAI as well as your local state chapter (www.firearson.com). This will give her exposure to the field and help her to establish contacts. I have always found that the best job opportunities come from networking. Joining NAFI is not a bad idea either.

    Second, she needs to get some fire investigation training. The best place she can go for that (and free) is www.cfitrainer.net. This is a site sponsored by the IAAI that provides tested training in fire investigation. At the present time there are approximately 16 modules up and running. While this certainly is not a complete training program, it will provide her with a foundation on which she can build. (I must warn you, however, that there is a stunningly handsome man featured in the Fire Scene Documentation module that she may fall in love with. Proceed with caution).

    Can she parlay some of her education into an engineering degree? Fire Protection Engineering is the obvious choice. However, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, physical engineers all have a seat at the table in the fire investigation.

    It also wouldn't be a bad idea to explore the NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist certification.

    The major stumbling block is fire investigation experience. She may have to get creative. Is there a fire investigation task force near where you live? She may be able to volunteer her time to assist. She certainly has something to offer. Perhaps there is a local fire investigation company can use her as an intern or an evidence tech or in some other capacity. She needs to think outside the box. If she can overcome this hurdle, she is in.

    The job opportunities that will probably come her way are in the private sector. The larger companies offer a wider array of services that might make it easier for her to make her square peg fit into their hole.

    Do not give up on this. The fire investigation field needs more people with solid forensic science backgrounds. Good luck and let me know how you make out.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  8. #8
    Forum Member kghemtp's Avatar
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    George, your detailed message & all the time sharing are appreciated more than you could know. I have since marked the CFIT & IAAI pages to get reading in there -- thank you!

    To explain just a bit further, she's working to get into this field over the next few years, so she's in for the long haul. Shadow time, possible internships, classes & certifications, and job finding are expected to take a considerable amount of time, so it's part of the 5-year plan. We'll definitely post with each milestone or heartbreak along the way! Thank you again
    ~Kevin
    Firefighter/Paramedic
    --^v--^v--^v--^v--
    Of course, that's just my opinion. I could be wrong
    Dennis Miller

  9. #9
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    Default George what is your issue with my post?

    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    First off, let me tell you two things:

    1. This question is not all that controversial. It is actually a great question. Some of the finest fire investigators we have in the field today, for reasons you are about to see, have never spent five minutes on the hoseline.
    2. Ignore virtually everything cubbie posted.
    I have been in this field every day of my life for a long time. I first testified as an expert witness in 1980. Back then, the field of fire investigation was rooted in anecdotal evidence, an ignorance of science and untested theory. It was easy for a fire officer to call himself a fire investigator based on the fact that he had seen it and done it all. This nonsense was so deeply rooted that it still continues in some areas today. Back then, there was no such thing as Daubert or Frye, there was no significant research into fire science and the forensic capabibilities of most laboratories was primitive at best.

    As the field of fire investigation has evolved, even in just the past few years, science and forensics have moved to the forefront. Today, a fire investigator MUST know an awful lot about fire science and fire dynamics. He also must be completely aware of how to properly conduct a complete and thorough fire investigation that can withstand rigorous scrutiny in a court of law. The fire investigator working in the 21st century must be thoroughly familiar with the forensically proper way to document a scene and to report their findings in a cogent, scientifically acceptable fashion.

    As I said earlier, I spend virtually every day of my life in an activity involving fire investigation. I have worked with hundreds of fire investigators. I can tell you without hesitation that some of the best that I have encountered have been police officers, engineers or scientists who have an extensive background and education in the field, including conducting research that most fire fighters would not even begin to understand. These folks are employed in both the public and private sector-some make a very lucrative living.

    I am a member of the IAAI CFI Committee. I review several applications a month for both new and renewal certifications. While it is true that there are requirements for education, training and experience in the field, there is zero truth that the education, experience and training has to be in the field of fire fighting. I am making the assumption that your wife is working in the forensic investigation field. Her education, training and experience would definitely count towards the IAAI-CFI certification. As would any papers she may have published, texts she may have contributed to or classes that she may have taught. Fire investigation related items garner more points, but the valuable experience your wife would bring to the table is definitely counted towards an IAAI certification.

    Has she testified in court as an expert witness? Chances are that those testimonies would also count towards her certification.

    A major challenge, as I see it, is getting some relevant experience and training. First thing, she should join the IAAI as well as your local state chapter (www.firearson.com). This will give her exposure to the field and help her to establish contacts. I have always found that the best job opportunities come from networking. Joining NAFI is not a bad idea either.

    Second, she needs to get some fire investigation training. The best place she can go for that (and free) is www.cfitrainer.net. This is a site sponsored by the IAAI that provides tested training in fire investigation. At the present time there are approximately 16 modules up and running. While this certainly is not a complete training program, it will provide her with a foundation on which she can build. (I must warn you, however, that there is a stunningly handsome man featured in the Fire Scene Documentation module that she may fall in love with. Proceed with caution).

    Can she parlay some of her education into an engineering degree? Fire Protection Engineering is the obvious choice. However, electrical engineers, mechanical engineers, physical engineers all have a seat at the table in the fire investigation.

    It also wouldn't be a bad idea to explore the NFPA Certified Fire Protection Specialist certification.

    The major stumbling block is fire investigation experience. She may have to get creative. Is there a fire investigation task force near where you live? She may be able to volunteer her time to assist. She certainly has something to offer. Perhaps there is a local fire investigation company can use her as an intern or an evidence tech or in some other capacity. She needs to think outside the box. If she can overcome this hurdle, she is in.

    The job opportunities that will probably come her way are in the private sector. The larger companies offer a wider array of services that might make it easier for her to make her square peg fit into their hole.

    Do not give up on this. The fire investigation field needs more people with solid forensic science backgrounds. Good luck and let me know how you make out.
    George what is your issue with my posting? Can you please explain? I always strife to improve myself.

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubbie View Post
    George what is your issue with my posting? Can you please explain? I always strife to improve myself.
    Private side, I know its impossible. They all want CFI or CFEI certifications and 5 to 10 years in the field as a prerequsite to being hired.
    This is not accurate, for one.

    There are about a dozen private labs in the US that process evidence from fire scene.
    This is not accurate, two.

    And three is your demonstrated lack of understanding of the certification process.

    While I ercognize the differences in the certifications offered by IAAI and NAFI, there is no way that CFEI could be considered "entry level". There is also no way a person could attain it without working in the field unless they lied on their application. The requirements for CFEI:

    Minimum Certifi cation Requirements
    Consistent with the intent and objectives of the Certifi ed Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) certifi cation program,
    the National Certifi cation Board has established the following minimum certifi cation requirements:
    • The applicant must be a member in good standing of the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI).
    • The applicant must be at least eighteen (18) years of age.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she has a high school diploma, G.E.D. or equivalent certification.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she is of good moral character and will honor the principles set forth in the Code of Ethics of the National Association of Fire Investigators (NAFI).
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she affi rms the intent and objectives of the Certifi ed Fire and Explosion Investigator (CFEI) certifi cation program as established by the National Certifi cation Board.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she is actively involved in the investigation and analysis of fire and explosion incidents and/or the civil and criminal litigation that ensues from such investigations and analyses.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she has responsibility within his/her company and/or department to participate in the investigation and analysis of fire and explosion incidents and/or the civil and criminal litigation
    that ensues from such investigations and analyses.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she has received professional training and education in the investigation and analysis of fire and explosion incidents and/or the practice of civil and criminal litigation, which ensues from
    such investigations and analyses.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she possesses the minimum level of professional knowledge necessary to conduct an investigation and analyses of a fi re and explosion incident and/or participate in the civil and criminal litigation, which ensues from such investigations and analyses.
    • The applicant must demonstrate that he/she can practically apply the professional training and education he/she
    has received in the investigation and analysis of fi re and explosion incidents and/or the civil and criminal litigation which ensues from such investigations and analyses.
    There is a more stringent application process for the IAAI CFI designation. You alluded to the fact that a person must have fire suppression experience to qualify. This is not true. The education process is also much more rigorous than CFI Trainer courses. They areimportant, but a CFI designation cannot be obtained with just the CFI courses.

    The field of fire investigation needs forensic scientists to become involved. Instead of discouraging her, she should be enthusiastically encouraged to bring her skill set to this side of the fence.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

  11. #11
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    Default George

    One: If there are companies willing to hire fire investigators without certification or field experience? Can you tell me who they are?

    Two: If there aren't private labs that process fire scene evidence.
    Who are all those people that advertise in IAAI magazine? I always send my evidence to a private lab in Lawrenceville GA.

    Three: I am very familiar with the NAFI certification process. I am a CFEI/CFII.
    They only require that you have knowledge of NFPA 921. I found it to be a very easy test. I know that there are paralegals that are CFEI's that have never worked a fire scene. Again if you study NFPA 921 submit your application anyone can be a CFEI without ever having worked in the field. I don’t like it but that’s the way NAFI has choosing to operate their company.
    They have a very poor vetting process in accepting applications for testing.

    Four: I agree completely that IAAI has a very stringent certification process.
    I believe that you miss understood what I wrote if you thought I alluded to a requirement that you must have fire suppression experience to qualify.
    It is not required at all.
    IAAI works on a detailed minimum 150 point system to be able to apply for testing. You must have 40 of the 150 points in fire investigative experience.
    Full time fire investigator must be working more than 1500 hours a year. You obtain 10 points for each year of work experience. (4 years to obtain minimum requirement of 40 points).
    Part-time fire investigator must be working less than 1500 hours a year but work at less 12 fires per year. You obtain 8 points for each year of work experience. (5 years to obtain the minimum requirement of 40 points)
    This is what I was alluding too.

    Five: You are correct that educational process in much more rigorous than just CFI Trainer course. I explained that IAAI has 6 or 7 publications that are used to generate their certification test. Such as NFPA 921, Fire protection handbook, and Kirk's. However CFI Training courses are an excellent place to get training.

    I think we both need to remember that the question we were asked to answer was for someone who has no fire experience. So exploring all her options such as private labs or federal government is sound advice.

    George I always enjoy reading your post. You never beat around the bush. You’re never afraid to disagree with anyone.
    Last edited by cubbie; 09-29-2008 at 11:45 AM.

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    One: If there are companies willing to hire fire investigators without certification or field experience? Can you tell me who they are?
    The person we were discussing has experience and education as a forensic scientist. This is distinctly different than a FF with a certification with no field experience.

    Two: If there aren't private labs that process fire scene evidence.
    Who are all those people that advertise in IAAI magazine? I always send my evidence to a private lab in Lawrenceville GA.
    I never said there were none. In fact, my point is that there are ALOT more than 12. These all represent potential employers for a forensic scientist.

    Three: I am very familiar with the NAFI certification process. I am a CFEI/CFII.
    They only require that you have knowledge of NFPA 921. I found it to be a very easy test. I know that there are paralegals that are CFEI's that have never worked a fire scene. Again if you study NFPA 921 submit your application anyone can be a CFEI without ever having worked in the field. I don’t like it but that’s the way NAFI has choosing to operate their company.
    They have a very poor vetting process in accepting applications for testing.
    I posted their qualifications sa they were on their website. If your application was accepted and you did not meet the qualifications, why did you apply? Are you saying you have the certification and don't deserve it? Are you saying you do not have the requisite field experience? I am sure that the powers that be at NAFI would accept your certification back if it was issued in error.

    Four: I agree completely that IAAI has a very stringent certification process.
    I believe that you miss understood what I wrote if you thought I alluded to a requirement that you must have fire suppression experience to qualify.
    It is not required at all.
    IAAI works on a detailed minimum 150 point system to be able to apply for testing. You must have 40 of the 150 points in fire investigative experience.
    Full time fire investigator must be working more than 1500 hours a year. You obtain 10 points for each year of work experience. (4 years to obtain minimum requirement of 40 points).
    Part-time fire investigator must be working less than 1500 hours a year but work at less 12 fires per year. You obtain 8 points for each year of work experience. (5 years to obtain the minimum requirement of 40 points)
    This is what I was alluding too.
    I fully understand this. I am on the IAAI CFI Committee.


    Five: You are correct that educational process in much more rigorous than just CFI Trainer course. I explained that IAAI has 6 or 7 publications that are used to generate their certification test. Such as NFPA 921, Fire protection handbook, and Kirk's. However CFI Training courses are an excellent place to get training.
    I fully understand that. I have been directly involved in the development of the CFI Trainer program.

    I think we both need to remember that the question we were asked to answer was for someone who has no fire experience.
    Exactly. Which is why your post blurred the lines between fire fighting experience and fire investigation experience.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Default George

    George I think we are trying to get to the same place from opposite corners.

    I am fully qualifed as a Fire Investigator. I have worked in the private side for many years. I got my early training through ATF academy. The academy is located in my town. That made it easy to attend lots of classes and assist with their practical exercises. Just a few more points and I will submit my IAAI CFI package.

    I am not impressed with the NAFI certification process. They only require you to have knowledge of 921 and nothing else. The day I tested there was a paralegal taking the test. She has never worked in the field. If they had vetted her application correctly she should not have tested. NAFI is a private company. If thats the way they want to run their business then so be it.

    Their training programs leave alot to be desired. Some of the things they are teaching is wrong. This thread is not the place to go into it.
    You may already know all about it anyway.

    Look forward to further conversations with you!

    Have great day.
    Last edited by cubbie; 09-29-2008 at 09:24 PM.

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubbie View Post
    George I think we are trying to get to the same place from opposite corners.

    I am fully qualifed as a Fire Investigator. I have worked in the private side for many years. I got my early training through ATF academy. The academy is located in my town. That made it easy to attend lots of classes and assist with their practical exercises. Just a few more points and I will submit my IAAI CFI package.

    I am not impressed with the NAFI certification process. They only require you to have knowledge of 921 and nothing else. The day I tested there was a paralegal taking the test. She has never worked in the field. If they had vetted her application correctly she should not have tested. NAFI is a private company. If thats the way they want to run their business then so be it.

    Their training programs leave alot to be desired. Some of the things they are teaching is wrong. This thread is not the place to go into it.
    You may already know all about it anyway.

    Look forward to further conversations with you!

    Have great day.
    When you talked about the poor vetting process, I thought you were talking about your own application. My questions in reference to your personal and professional qualifications were rhetorical. Since I do not know you, I do not know your qualifications. I certainly would encourage you to pursue your CFI designation. Good luck.

    I will not engage in a NAFI vs. IAAI debate here or anywhere else.
    PROUD, HONORED AND HUMBLED RECIPIENT OF THE PURPLE HYDRANT AWARD - 10/2007.

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubbie View Post
    George I think we are trying to get to the same place from opposite corners.

    I am fully qualifed as a Fire Investigator. I have worked in the private side for many years. I got my early training through ATF academy. The academy is located in my town. That made it easy to attend lots of classes and assist with their practical exercises. Just a few more points and I will submit my IAAI CFI package.

    I am not impressed with the NAFI certification process. They only require you to have knowledge of 921 and nothing else. The day I tested there was a paralegal taking the test. She has never worked in the field. If they had vetted her application correctly she should not have tested. NAFI is a private company. If thats the way they want to run their business then so be it.

    Their training programs leave alot to be desired. Some of the things they are teaching is wrong. This thread is not the place to go into it.
    You may already know all about it anyway.

    Look forward to further conversations with you!

    Have great day.
    Here's another take, Cubbie. I agree that one can obtain the CFEI quicker than the CFI. Many people in the field feel it is less of a qualification compared to the CFI, whether publicly or privately. My problem with the CFI, is that I have seen so many terrible, incompetent investigators that have it, it makes me think that much less of it. If I see a terrible, incompetent CFEI, I don't make much of it. Don't get me wrong, its a great program. I am not bashing the IAAI.

    As far as NAFI being a private company, not sure what you mean about that. I am a NAFI member and have never paid to be a member of a company. I assume they are a not-for-profit organization similar to the IAAI. In any event, I have never seen a better training program IMO than what NAFI puts on. I have never been to the ATF schools or the NFA. Sounds like you are in a fortunate position however.

    At the end of the day, I don't care what certifications one has or does not have, it comes down to how well of a job you do at every scene. I say, work hard, do a good job, get your CFEI and CFI and EIEIO.

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    Quote Originally Posted by GeorgeWendtCFI View Post
    When you talked about the poor vetting process, I thought you were talking about your own application. My questions in reference to your personal and professional qualifications were rhetorical. Since I do not know you, I do not know your qualifications. I certainly would encourage you to pursue your CFI designation. Good luck.

    I will not engage in a NAFI vs. IAAI debate here or anywhere else.
    Fair enough ....I will not debate it either.
    Thank You

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    Quote Originally Posted by Taylor61 View Post
    Here's another take, Cubbie. I agree that one can obtain the CFEI quicker than the CFI. Many people in the field feel it is less of a qualification compared to the CFI, whether publicly or privately. My problem with the CFI, is that I have seen so many terrible, incompetent investigators that have it, it makes me think that much less of it. If I see a terrible, incompetent CFEI, I don't make much of it. Don't get me wrong, its a great program. I am not bashing the IAAI.

    As far as NAFI being a private company, not sure what you mean about that. I am a NAFI member and have never paid to be a member of a company. I assume they are a not-for-profit organization similar to the IAAI. In any event, I have never seen a better training program IMO than what NAFI puts on. I have never been to the ATF schools or the NFA. Sounds like you are in a fortunate position however.

    At the end of the day, I don't care what certifications one has or does not have, it comes down to how well of a job you do at every scene. I say, work hard, do a good job, get your CFEI and CFI and EIEIO.
    Amen!
    I have been very fortunate to work with and learn from Dr. Dehann, Dr. Icove, Dr. Quintiere and many other really wonderful people through the years. I am blessed to work for a company run by retired ATF CFI's.

    I was disappointed to find lessons being taught at my last NAFI seminar that were wrong. I know they are wrong based on hundreds of burn cell tests at ATF National Academy and ATF Fire Research Lab.

    I spent $750.00 to attend my last three day NAFI seminar. I don't know that I will ever attend any NAFI training in the future. My standards maybe are to high. I just expected so much more for that amount of money.

    You are right on point when you said it comes down to the quality of the job the individual investigator does.

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    Quote Originally Posted by cubbie View Post
    Amen!
    I have been very fortunate to work with and learn from Dr. Dehann, Dr. Icove, Dr. Quintiere and many other really wonderful people through the years. I am blessed to work for a company run by retired ATF CFI's.

    I was disappointed to find lessons being taught at my last NAFI seminar that were wrong. I know they are wrong based on hundreds of burn cell tests at ATF National Academy and ATF Fire Research Lab.

    I spent $750.00 to attend my last three day NAFI seminar. I don't know that I will ever attend any NAFI training in the future. My standards maybe are to high. I just expected so much more for that amount of money.

    You are right on point when you said it comes down to the quality of the job the individual investigator does.
    My point was also not to debate that one organization or certification was better or worse than the other.

    I would be interested to here what was taught wrong at the seminar. Hopefully you discussed it with the instructors. This is where communication becomes important between investigators. Like I said, I have never been to and ATF or NFA class, and if they have discovered something through hundreds of burn tests that prove a theory wrong, whether that theory is new or been around for 100 years, it should be published for others to know, especially instructors at any conference.

    I was on a scene a couple weeks ago where someone was bashing the fact the arc mapping is new material in 921, yet an EE they knew had been teaching it for years. I also know the EE this person was referring to and he is well respected in this field. I responded to the person by saying that is great that he has known about it for years, but until recently, little has been widely published on it. It would have been fortunate had the EE published it "years" ago.

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    TAYLOR61.... I sent you two private messages. Hope they help.

    When fire is cried and danger is neigh,
    "God and the firemen" is the people's cry;
    But when 'tis out and all things righted,
    God is forgotten and the firemen slighted.
    ~Author unknown, from The Fireman's Journal, 18 Oct 1879

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    I suppose where/how you want to train should depend on where you want to end up working. Why debate who is better - it's like a school boys' ****ing contest.
    Personally, I think there are all types of education at varying levels, poor to excellent - no matter where you train though or what you're taught, you should cross-reference it, make sure it's correct. It's dedication to finesse. A famous chef in CA said, "It's ALL about finesse". Even if you think you know what finesse means look it up. It's hard to be mediocre after you grasp it's meaning.

    This should be especially important in the firefighter and/or fire investigation field - if not for anything else, we are role models and heroes for people who have no idea what really we do. I grew up where everyone in my family is a doctor or nurse, and I learned quickly some Dr.'s/RN's are idiots......just because they have the title doesn't mean he/she is intelligent. There are incompetent people in EVERY line of work who want to give their opinion because there are letters behind their name.

    My question/advice needed is this: I've been a volunteer firefighter/EMT for almost five years, have a bachelor's degree in photography and a strong background in science as a Pre-Med student....it's recently I've decided I can't give up firefighting to go to medical school, so I'd like to use my scientific knowledge along with the firefighting. Right now I'm thinking investigation. How would I start, with such a seemingly "random" background? I know it's all helped me- I have a keen attention to detail while not missing the over all picture(a great trait from photography)....but I have a hard time knowing where/how to get focused...Any advice? Thanks.

    p.s. I'm not looking for school recommendations etc...I've researched all that on my own and am completing my associate's in fire science - I need direction from someone who can see where the field is heading and what needs haven't been met. Thanks.

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