Cherokee County Fire
& Emergency Services

Collett Becomes Certified Fire Investigator

April 13, 2021

Cherokee County Fire Investigator, Cheri Collett, recently received her credentials for being a Certified Fire Investigator. In 1986, the International Association of Arson Investigators (IAAI) addressed a national concern by developing the Certified Fire Investigator (CFI) program.  The qualification is a standardized evaluation of a fire investigator’s training and expertise.  Investigators applying for the certification must complete an extensive application process requiring documentation, earn sufficient points for the achievements in education, training and experience.  Plus, applicants have to pass a comprehensive examination.

Before a candidate is permitted to qualify for examination, their application must be approved by a review committee.  Documentation must be provided to substantiate every point claimed on the application. Certificates, college diplomas and transcripts, and testament letters are considered examples of acceptable documentation.

Collett began the process in 2015.  According to Collett, you have to be a fire investigator for 4 years before you can even apply for the process.  “This is the only internationally accredited fire investigator program.  I went through different training, college, documenting fires that I had worked, courtroom testimony and courtroom testimony courses.  I literally went through hundreds of hours of training in order to apply for the certification,” stated Collett.

After the application is approved, the candidate must participate in a “closed book” comprehensive proctored examination that is based upon nine reference books and every job performance requirement in National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Code Standard 1033 which is the Standard for Professional Qualifications for Fire Investigator.   A score of 70 percent or above must be achieved to successfully pass the exam.  The first attempt success rate for candidates is less than 10 percent.   Collett passed the test on her first attempt last Fall.

Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, recognized Collett for her accomplishment during ceremonies held last Tuesday at Fire Headquarters.

There is currently a total of 1,904 members that are credentialed as Certified Fire Investigators.  Eighty-two of those are within the State of Georgia.  Collett is one of four females in the state to become a Certified Fire Investigator.  Investigators who hold the IAAI-CFI certification are required to re-certify every five years by completing a recertification application and 50 hours of continuing education.

Congratulations to Cheri Collett for becoming a Certified Fire Investigator. 

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Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, presents Cheri Collett with her certificate of completion to become a Certified Fire Investigator.
Cherokee County Fire Chief, Tim Prather, presents Cheri Collett with her certificate of completion to become a Certified Fire Investigator. (click image for slideshow)