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Fire Investigation: Case Preparation and Testimony R0790

Training Specialist

Kevin Oliver

Delivery type

6-day on-campus

Continuing education units


ACE recommendation

In the upper-division baccalaureate degree category, 3 semester hours in fire investigation.

Future students: The Fire Investigation curriculum is changing. Please review the (revised) course prerequisites on this page to make sure that you are qualified to apply for this course.

This 6-day (plus 2 weeks pre-arrival work) course is an intense, interactive and realistic experience providing students with case development, case review, and the knowledge and skills to prepare to testify as an expert.

This course is offered in a blended format; students are assigned a cold case file and other activities 2 weeks prior to arrival with corresponding course work.  A laptop or tablet is required, and copies of National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 921, Guide for Fire and Explosion Investigations (2021) and NFPA 1033, Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator are required to attend this course.

NOTE: Students who fail to complete the pre-arrival, distance learning activities will be removed from the residence portion of the course and forfeit stipend reimbursement.

This course is designed to prepare individuals to present a case in a courtroom setting; appropriate courtroom attire is required.

Successful completion of this course satisfies the requirements of the International Association of Arson Investigators for Expert Testimony. This course expands upon concepts presented in "Fire Investigation: Essentials" (R0772).

Pre-course materials and course syllabus

Course Syllabus: PDF 761KB

The target audience is full-time public service personnel tasked with fire investigative duties.

Priority will be reserved for students who have successfully completed the NFA's "Fire Investigation: Essentials" (R0772 or R0206 - 2015 or later) course.

Applicants who are not employed full time in the fire investigation field may be eligible.  Applicants must submit a detailed letter from the chief of the department attesting to their position, duties and responsibilities as related to fire investigation and involvement with the prosecution of state arson laws, including responsibilities to testify in court.

Incident Command System (ICS)-100-level and ICS-200-level training. Preferred courses are Q462 and Q463 available through NFA Online. Chief's signature on the application attests that the applicant has completed this required training.

Applicants must meet ONE of the following SECTIONS:

Successful completion of the National Fire Academy's (NFA’s) "Fire Investigation: Essentials" (R0772 or R0206 - 2015 or later) course.

Additionally, successful completion (above 80%) of any in-person and tested fire investigation training which totals 40 hours. NFA courses R0204, R0205, R0206, R0214 and R0255 may be counted toward this requirement. courses do not count toward this requirement. 


Successful completion (above 80%, 3.0 or B) of in-person and tested fire investigation-specific training which totals 150 hours. Applicants must provide documentation (transcripts or certificates) to reach the 150-hour level. Hours credited toward State FIT or CFI certificates may count toward this requirement. ( courses do not count toward this requirement.


Successful completion of the following 10 modules (transcript MUST be submitted with application):

  1. Critical Thinking Solves Cases.
  2. The Deposition Part 1: Format, Content and Preparation.
  3. The Deposition, Part 2: Questioning, Tactics and Effective Responses.
  4. Effective Investigation and Testimony.
  5. Ethical Duties Beyond the Fire Scene.
  6. Ethics and the Fire Investigator.
  7. Magnetek:  A Case Study in the Daubert Challenge.
  8. Process of Elimination.
  9. Discovery in Civil Cases.
  10. Discovery in Criminal Cases.

Applicants must provide a copy of their transcript and all documentation to support the prerequisite requirements at the time of application. Documentation (certificates, transcripts, certifications and letters) must be clear, readable, concise, show hours required to meet thresholds and be attached to the application at time of submission.

Note: As a pre-course assignment, accepted students will be required to upload certificates of the above listed courses into the NFA's Learning Management System (LMS). For this pre-course assignment, the classes must have been taken or "refreshed" within a calendar year of the first day of class attendance. Certificates, dated within a calendar year of the start of class, must be uploaded to the LMS prior to arrival on campus.

Upcoming offerings

Dates Availability Location Contact(s) CCP
October 15 - 20, 2023 Cancelled Emmitsburg, Maryland
December 10 - 15, 2023 Vacancies Apply Emmitsburg, Maryland
May 19 - 24, 2024 Apply between 12/15/2023 - 1/15/2024 Emmitsburg, Maryland
June 23 - 28, 2024 Apply between 12/15/2023 - 1/15/2024 Emmitsburg, Maryland
August 25 - 30, 2024 Apply between 3/15/2024 - 4/15/2024 Emmitsburg, Maryland