The California Conference of Arson Investigators has patterned its CFI certification program after the State of California’s certification program with two major differences: 1) The CCAI – CFI program requires the applicant must stand for a written exam and 2) the CCAI-CFI certification requires participation in continued professional training. To keep the certificate valid, a CCAI Certified Fire Investigator must attend 30 hours of approved tested training, or 40 hours of CCAI approved non-tested training or a combination of 40 hours tested and non-tested training every three years, from the date his or her certificate was issued. The hourly training requirement can easily be met by attending two 20-hour CCAI training seminar’s within the three-year period.
To apply, a person does not have to be a member of CCAI; however it is strongly encouraged that everyone in the field of fire investigation belongs to the California Conference of Arson Investigators, the leading organization for training in fire and arson investigations in California.
To qualify, applicants must submit certificates of training showing that they have completed Fire Investigation 1A, 1B, 2A, 2B and PC 832 or its equivalent. If you already possess a Level II Fire Investigation Certification from the State of California, a copy of your certification certificate showing Level II will suffice to validate that you have met the training requirements mentioned above.
Applicants must also validate that they have had the overall responsibility of, and have investigated, 150 fires to determine fire origin and separately to determine fire cause. They must also substantiate that they have testified twice, in court or in deposition (not in the same case), under oath, pertaining to the origin and cause of fires or in the field of explosions. The testimony can be criminal, civil or from deposition but must be directly related to fire origin and fire cause or origin and cause in an explosion incident. In lieu of actual court related testimony, the applicant may complete any one of the below listed courses.
The following courses/classes will meet or substitute for the criteria of the court room requirements:
- The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (BATF & E) course on "Advanced Origin And Cause, Courtroom Techniques"
- The National Fire Academy (NFA) " course on Interview/Interrogation & Courtroom Techniques"
- The International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) " Expert Witness Courtroom Testimony (Expert Witness Testimony Class offered by CCAI)
The question has risen, “If an investigator possesses a California State Fire Investigator II Certification, why would he/she have to verify again that he/she has investigated 150 fires and testified twice in court?” It is the CCAI Board of Directors’ position that, if CCAI is going to certify an investigator, the person’s qualifications must be independently validated by CCAI using documents and under oath statements.
The initial application fee, if you are a CCAI member, is $150.00 and the certification is validated for three years. Renewal of the CCAI-CFI certification, if you are a CCAI member, is $75.00 every three years. If you are not a member of CCAI, the initial application fee is $300.00 and renewal is $150.00 every three years.