NFPA 1033: Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, 2022
Fire investigators help ensure safe, accurate investigations by staying up to date with the latest edition of NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator.
The 2022 edition of NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, identifies the minimum job performance requirements necessary to serve as a fire investigator in both the private and public sectors. This standard applies to all fire investigations, including outside, vehicle, and other fires that are not structural.
In 1972, the National Professional Qualifications Board (NPQB) established four technical committees to create performance standards for fire service personnel using the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA®) standards-making system. The committees addressed the following career areas: firefighter, fire officer, fire service instructor, and fire inspector and investigator.
The Committee on Fire Inspector and Investigator Professional Qualifications met and produced the first edition of NFPA 1031, Professional Qualifications for Fire Inspector, Fire Investigator, and Fire Prevention Education Officer; it was adopted by the NFPA in May of 1977.
In 1986, the Joint Council of National Fire Service Organizations (JCNFSO) directed the committee to construct individual standards for each of the job functions the original document addressed. This direction was coupled with the decision to remove the job of fire investigator from the strict career path previously followed and allowed civilians to join the profession.
The first edition of this new standard, NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, was adopted by the NFPA in June of 1987. Since its inception as a standard in 1987, NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, has undergone numerous technical revisions and updates to help prepare personnel for different types of fire investigations.
Topics in the updated edition of NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, cover the full range of investigation issues encountered on the job, including the following:
- Scene examination
- Documenting the scene
- Evidence collection and preservation
- Post-incident investigation
- Presentation of findings
Quality investigations start with qualified investigators.
Personnel need to be prepared with the most up-to-date knowledge when facing fire risks, arson, and other hazards in both the private and public sectors. Updates were made to align the 2022 edition of NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator, more closely with NFPA 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations, because it is common practice for fire investigators to use both standards. Requirements were also updated and simplified for end users' understanding and ease of use.
The actions and conclusions of fire investigators can have serious consequences from legal and economic standpoints, so it is essential that they be fully qualified to evaluate the situation and circumstances so they can conduct complete, accurate investigations.