Career Development

What Does a Fire Marshal Do?

Find out what a fire marshal does, how to get this job, and what it takes to succeed as a fire marshal.

Fire marshals are responsible for enforcing fire safety standards in their jurisdiction. They investigate fires and other emergencies to determine the cause, origin, and circumstances of the event. This information is used to inform future prevention efforts and ensure that similar incidents do not occur again.

Fire marshals may also be tasked with inspecting commercial properties or industrial sites to ensure they are following all relevant safety regulations.

Fire Marshal Job Duties

Fire marshals have a wide range of responsibilities, which can include:

  • Conducting fire safety inspections and investigations of commercial, industrial, and residential properties to ensure compliance with fire codes and regulations
  • Recommending fire safety improvements to eliminate hazards or reduce risk of fire in a building or community
  • Investigating fires to determine the cause, origin, and circumstances of the fire
  • Conducting fire drills and inspections to ensure preparedness for fires in a community
  • Training fire department personnel on fire prevention techniques and firefighting procedures
  • Developing and implementing fire prevention programs for schools, businesses, churches, and other organizations where there is a high risk of fire
  • Providing training to firefighters on firefighting techniques, including rescue operations and hazardous materials responses
  • Investigating the cause of fires that result in substantial property damage or loss of life
  • Performing inspections to ensure that buildings meet fire safety codes and city ordinances

Fire Marshal Salary & Outlook

Fire marshals’ salaries vary depending on their level of education and experience, the company size and geographic location. They may also earn additional compensation in the form of overtime.

  • Median Annual Salary: $66,500 ($31.97/hour)
  • Top 10% Annual Salary: $162,000 ($77.88/hour)

The employment of fire marshals is expected to grow at an average rate over the next decade.

The need to reduce costs and ensure the safety of buildings will continue to drive demand for fire marshals. Fire marshals will be needed to inspect commercial buildings, such as warehouses and factories, to ensure that they are safe and do not have any fire hazards.

Fire Marshal Job Requirements

The following are some of the requirements for becoming a fire marshal:

Education: Fire marshals typically need a minimum of a high school diploma or GED. Some fire marshals choose to earn a bachelor’s degree in fire science or another closely related field. These degrees typically include courses in fire prevention, fire behavior, fire investigation, fire service administration and fire service management.

Training & Experience: Fire marshals receive most of their training through the completion of their educational program. They also receive on-the-job training from their current employer. This training typically lasts for a few weeks and includes instruction on the company’s policies and procedures, as well as the fire prevention and safety practices they should follow.

Certifications & Licenses: Firefighters can earn several certifications to increase their knowledge of firefighting techniques and test their skills during training exercises.

Fire Marshal Skills

Fire marshals need the following skills in order to be successful:

Fire safety: Fire safety skills can help you educate others about the importance of fire prevention and safety. You can use your skills to train others in fire prevention and safety, develop fire safety programs and teach others how to act in emergency situations.

Public speaking: Public speaking is the ability to communicate effectively with a large audience. Fire marshals often give presentations to groups of people, including other firefighters, building owners and other members of the fire department. Public speaking skills are important for fire marshals because they may need to explain complex information to a variety of audiences.

Investigation: Fire marshals investigate fires to determine the cause and origin of the fire. They use their investigation skills to examine the scene of the fire and determine what happened. Fire marshals use their investigation skills to determine if the fire was accidental or intentional. They also use investigation skills to determine if the fire was a one-time incident or if there is a pattern of fires.

Leadership: Fire marshals often work in teams with other fire protection professionals, so leadership skills can help them manage their teams effectively. Leadership skills can also help them train new fire marshals and ensure that their teams are following proper protocol.

Technical skills: Fire marshals need technical skills to understand and use the equipment they have at their disposal. This includes knowing how to operate firefighting equipment, knowing how to read and interpret technical data and knowing how to use computer programs to analyze data. Technical skills also include knowing how to use and maintain firefighting equipment and knowing how to use and interpret technical data.

Fire Marshal Work Environment

Fire marshals work in a variety of settings, including office buildings, schools, hospitals, and factories. They inspect buildings to ensure that they meet fire codes and investigate fires to determine their cause. Fire marshals also develop and implement fire safety plans, give fire safety presentations, and train people in fire safety procedures. They may work for a local government, the state, or the federal government. Some fire marshals are employed by private companies, and some are self-employed. Fire marshals typically work full time, and some may be on call 24 hours a day.

Fire Marshal Trends

Here are three trends influencing how fire marshals work. Fire marshals will need to stay up-to-date on these developments to keep their skills relevant and maintain a competitive advantage in the workplace.

The Need for More Fire Marshal Training

The fire marshal profession is growing rapidly as more and more municipalities are realizing the importance of having a trained fire marshal on staff. This trend is likely to continue as more and more municipalities adopt stricter fire codes that require fire marshals to inspect buildings and ensure that they are compliant with the code.

As fire marshals become more important, there will be a greater need for training in order to keep up with the latest changes in the industry. This means that fire marshals will need to stay current on new codes and regulations in order to do their jobs effectively.

Fire Protection Systems Will Become More Complex

As fire protection systems become more complex, fire marshals will need to be well-versed in their operation and maintenance.

This trend is being driven by the increasing number of fires caused by electrical failures and other system malfunctions. As fire marshals are responsible for ensuring that these systems are working properly, they will need to have a deep understanding of how they work and how to fix them when they break.

More Collaboration Between Fire Marshals and Other Professionals

As fire marshals collaborate with other professionals, such as building inspectors and insurance agents, they will need to develop skills that allow them to communicate effectively and work together towards common goals.

This trend is becoming increasingly important as fire marshals are called upon to provide services that go beyond traditional fire prevention duties. By developing strong communication skills, fire marshals can build relationships with other professionals and create a network that allows them to better serve the community.

How to Become a Fire Marshal

A fire marshal career path can be rewarding and fulfilling, but it’s important to consider all the factors that could impact your success. One of the most important things you can do is stay up-to-date on the latest developments in the field. This means reading industry journals and attending conferences and workshops. You should also network with other professionals in the field and keep track of new technologies that could improve fire safety.

Another important factor to consider is where you want to work. Some fire departments have more opportunities for advancement than others, so it’s a good idea to research this before making a decision. You should also think about what type of work environment you prefer. Do you want to work in a large department or a small one? Do you want to work in a rural area or an urban one? There are many different options available, so take some time to explore them all.

Advancement Prospects

Fire marshals typically start their careers as firefighters and then are promoted to fire marshal positions. Some agencies require fire marshals to have a bachelor’s degree in fire science, public administration, or a related field, although an associate’s degree may be sufficient for some entry-level positions.

Many fire marshals are promoted to supervisory or managerial positions, such as fire chief, after several years of experience. Some fire marshals move into related occupations, such as fire inspector or investigator, or they may become insurance adjusters or loss prevention specialists.

Fire Marshal Job Description Example

The [CompanyX] is currently seeking a highly motivated and certified Fire Marshal to join our team. The Fire Marshal will be responsible for conducting fire safety inspections, investigating fires, and enforcing fire codes. He/she will also be responsible for developing and delivering fire safety education programs to employees, tenants, and the public. The ideal candidate will have a minimum of 5 years’ experience as a Fire Marshal or Fire Inspector, and will be certified by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA).

Duties & Responsibilities

  • Investigate the cause, origin, and circumstances of fires and explosions
  • Inspect buildings and equipment to detect fire hazards and enforce state and local regulations
  • Plan and conduct public education programs on fire safety, such as school assemblies, community meetings, and firefighter training courses
  • Investigate complaints about possible violations of fire codes
  • Work with building owners and managers to correct fire code violations
  • Keep records of inspections, investigations, and tests
  • Prepare reports of findings
  • Assist in developing plans to prevent future fires
  • Respond to emergency calls and provide fire suppression, rescue, and medical assistance as needed
  • Serve as a liaison between the fire department and other agencies, such as law enforcement, hazardous materials teams, and utility companies
  • Test fire alarm and sprinkler systems to ensure they are functioning properly
  • Perform regular maintenance on firefighting equipment

Required Skills and Qualifications

  • Bachelor’s degree in fire science, engineering, or related discipline
  • 5+ years experience as a firefighter or in a fire-related field
  • Certified Fire Marshal (CFM) designation from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
  • Strong understanding of NFPA standards and other local, state, and federal fire codes
  • Working knowledge of fire investigation techniques and methods
  • Ability to develop and deliver presentations on fire safety topics

Preferred Skills and Qualifications

  • Master’s degree in fire science, engineering, or related discipline
  • 10+ years experience as a firefighter or in a fire-related field
  • Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) designation from the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI)
  • Experience teaching fire safety courses
  • Familiarity with computer modeling software for fire behavior analysis

Similar Jobs


What Does a Senior Frontend Developer Do?

Back to Career Development

What Does a Scheduling Specialist Do?