In January 1998, the Certified Fire Investigator program was activated. It took CCAI over one and one half years to develop and initiate this program. Many who have retired from law enforcement and the fire service had requested this Certification for several years. Often times, fire investigators retired from government service before the State Certified Fire Investigator program was developed. The retirees working for the Insurance industry or private business had no means to obtain certification from the state once they left government service.
CCAI has patterned the California CFI program after the State of California's with two major additions. The applicant must pass a written exam, and CCAI's certification requires participation in Continued Professional Training to maintain certification. A CCAI Certified Fire Investigator must attend 30 hours of approved tested training every three years, or 40 hours of CCAI approved non-tested training, or a combination of 40 hours of tested and non-tested training every three years from the date of issue of their certification; to keep the certification valid. The hourly training requirement can easily be met by attending two 20 hour CCAI seminars within three years.
To qualify, applicants must submit certificates of training showing they completed Fire Investigation 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and PC 832 (or equal). If you already have level II certification from the State of California, a copy of your certificate will suffice to validate that you have met the training requirements. Applicants must also validate that they have had the overall responsibility and have investigated at least 150 fires to determine fire origin and cause and substantiate that they have testified twice, in-court or in deposition (not in the same case) under oath, pertaining to the fire origin and cause of fires or explosions. The testimony can be in either criminal, civil or deposition, but must be in the area of fire cause and origin. Or, the applicant can complete any one of the below listed courses. The following courses/classes will meet (substitute for) the criteria of the courtroom requirements.
- THE BUREAU of ALCOHOL, TOBACCO, FIREARMS and EXPLOSIVES (B.A.T.F.& E.) course on "ADVANCED ORIGIN AND CAUSE, COURTROOM TECHNIQUES"
- THE NATIONAL FIRE ACADEMY (N.F.A.) " COURSE ON INTERVIEW/ INTERROGATION & COURTROOM TECHNIQUES"
- THE INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION OF ARSON INVESTIGATORS (I.A.A.I.) " EXPERT WITNESS- COURTROOM TESTIMONY (Expert Witness Testimony classes offered by CCAI)
The question has arisen, that if an investigator possesses a California State Fire Investigator II Certification "Why would they have to verify again that they investigated 150 fires and testified twice in court?" It was the Board of Director's and the Education Committee's position that if CCAI is going to certify an investigator, that portion of their qualifications should be validated independently of documents previously submitted to the State of California.
Application and Renewal
The initial cost for application is $150.00 and the certification is validated for three years. Renewal of the CCAI-CFI certification will be every three (3) years. Continued maintenance of the certification is $75.00 every three years, and validation that the CFI has attended 30 hours of approved tested training or a combination of 40 hours of CCAI approved tested and non-tested hours of formal training every three years from the date of issue (of their certification).