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Fire Protection Technician  What They Do

Just the Facts

Insider Info

dotFire protection technicians design, test and inspect fire protection systems. They're familiar with fire prevention practices and procedures. They know what it takes to protect buildings from fires.

They're experts in installing, testing and maintaining fire protection equipment. They're aware of the rules for equipment and building safety.

dotThey work as consultants, municipal fire inspectors or fire prevention officers for local fire departments. Or they could be in-house designers for companies that produce and sell fire alarm systems, smoke control systems or sprinkler systems. They also work at most airports.

Insurance companies also hire fire protection technicians to investigate house fires and calculate potential insurance liabilities.

dotFire protection technicians also work in labs. They design and test new fire protection devices. They start controlled fires to measure the effectiveness of these devices. They may also test the flammability of products for government organizations.

This aspect of the industry makes the profession of fire protection technician accessible to those who suffer from some physical disabilities -- but only to a certain extent.

Eugenio Marotta is the chief of a fire prevention unit. He says fire technicians must have a certain level of physical fitness because they spend a lot of time away from their offices and labs.

"You may be exposed to the usual construction site's hazards," he says. "So you have to have a certain dexterity and ability to move around."

dotFire protection technicians mostly work 9 to 5. But working hours may vary. They may be on call, and may have to work odd hours if they have to inspect buildings or investigate fires, Marotta says.

At a Glance

Find ways to avoid the flames

  • You need a certain level of physical fitness
  • You could work for fire departments, manufacturing companies or insurance firms
  • Specialized training is available, but there's no set educational path to this career