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City of Torrance
Class Code: 3501
Class Designation: Civil Service

April 2014 (Revised)

Representation Unit: Engineers Assoc. &
Torrance Fiscal Employees Assoc.


Senior Fire Prevention Specialist


Under direction, performs complex inspection, plan checking, and testing of hazardous processes and fire protection and extinguishing systems to insure compliance with applicable codes, ordinances, and standards; and performs other duties as assigned.

Distinguishing Characteristics

The Senior Fire Prevention Specialist is the advanced journey/senior level in the series and performs the most complex tasks and possesses a significant level of specialized, technical and functional expertise. Incumbents exercise independent judgment in the performance of duties, with great latitude in determining work methods and assignment requirements.  Work may require the development of recommendations consistent with directives, policies and regulations. This is a civilian non-firefighting classification that performs duties related fire prevention or environmental activities and compliance with fire code and environmental statutes and regulations.

Supervision Exercised/Received

Receives direction from the Fire Prevention Manager and may provide technical supervision which includes assigning, coordinating, training and reviewing the work of Fire Prevention Specialists.

Examples of Duties

The following duties represent the principal job duties; however, they are not all inclusive
  • Provides technical advice and makes recommendations regarding safety inspections of chemical users to reduce hazardous materials accidents.
  • Establishes and maintains the program for public access to environmental information related to hazardous materials. 
  • Represents the Torrance Fire Department to various agencies, associations, and organizations on issues associated with hazardous materials.
  • Attends City Council and other meetings to provide technical advice and information on codes, laws, regulations and technical issues related to hazardous materials.
  • Coordinates the hazardous materials information program used by the Fire Department's Hazardous Materials Response Team.   
  • Reviews acutely hazardous materials inquiries and coordinates hazardous material surveys.
  • Compile and analyze data and information, prepares related reports and makes recommendations based on codes, standards and Fire Department policies.
  • Interprets a variety of codes for the public and makes recommendations for fire protection systems.
  • Assists in training of subordinate personnel and fire company personnel on fire prevention matters.
  • Attends various Commission meetings to represent the Fire Department regarding compliance with various codes.
  • In addition to the duties listed above, incumbents assigned to the specific areas listed below perform the following:
    Plan Review
  • Reviews highly complex and technical high-rise, commercial, industrial and manufacturing process plans to verify proper fire protection systems, exists and code compliances.
  • Consults with architects, builders and developers regarding methods, materials, City specifications and problem areas.
  • Conducts fire inspections of the more complex hazardous occupancies such as oil refineries and chemical facilities.
  • Conducts site inspections and checks plans and specifications of the more complex hazardous operations such as petrochemical operations and electroplating processes, fire protection and extinguishing systems and related occupancies for compliance with fire codes and standards.
  • Inspects high-rise buildings, institutional occupancies such (hospitals and jails) and all buildings over 3 stories.
  • Conducts plan reviews for underground storage tank systems, periodic inspections and testing of underground storage tank systems.
  • Coordinates Fire Department plan check reviews with other City Departments and performs fire plan checks for new development occurring within the City to ensure complete and thorough plan review.
  • Assists in the evaluation of fire safety conditions and recommends changes to building and fire codes to remain current with use of new materials and methods of construction.
  • Performs moderately complex mathematical calculations in the evaluation of fire sprinkler, fire alarms and other fire protection systems.
  • Hazardous Materials
  • Conducts qualitative analysis of chemical processes; analyzes Risk Management and Prevention Programs to determine their sufficiency.
  • Inspects acutely hazardous materials use facilities to ensure compliance with Risk Management and Prevention Programs. 
  • Advises the public regarding the proper handling of acutely hazardous materials and emergency response to accidents.  
  • Identifies and categorizes chemicals and other substances which may be hazardous materials.  Monitors, interprets and applies Federal, State, County, and City laws and regulations related to hazardous materials.
  • Initiates prosecution for violations of hazardous materials laws or regulations. 
  • Prepares reports and makes recommendations on matters related to hazardous materials.  Serves as staff to the Chemical Board and may serve as a board member. 
  • Develops and prepares disclosure surveys of hazardous materials.
  • Examples of Other Duties

    The following duties represent duties that are generally performed by this position, but are not considered to be principal job duties
  • May perform inspections and coordinate other issues regarding NPDES (National Pollution Discharge Elimination System).
  • May perform Public Education duties such as instruction of Community Emergency Response Team (CERT).
  • Attends division and department meetings as required.
  • Receives and responds to public inquiries and complaints regarding inspections.
  • Serves on various committees as appropriate.
  • Perform related duties as required.
  • Qualification Guidelines

    Knowledge of
  • Fire prevention principles and procedures.
  • Fire investigation principles and procedures.
  • Fire protection, alarm and water supply systems, especially for high-rise, commercial and industrial buildings.
  • Fire sprinkler designs, plans and hydraulic calculations.
  • Principles and practices of plan review.
  • Characteristics of a variety of chemicals and flammable, explosive and similar materials.
  • Principles and techniques of structure and building inspection.
  • Safety codes related to fire prevention including but not limited to Uniform Fire Code, Uniform Building Code, Fire Code, State Administrative Code, and National Fire Code.
  • Standard fire protection and prevention theory, techniques, and practices relative to various types to occupancies.
  • Mechanical principles.
  • Principles of combustion.
  • Building materials and construction practices.
  • City codes and ordinances, rules and regulations affecting inspection operations.
  • General City operations.
  • English grammar and methods of report writing and data analysis.
  • Ability to
  • Read, understand and interpret building construction plans and specifications, and applicable codes, regulations and laws.
  • Interpret and apply Federal, State, County, and City codes, laws, and regulations pertaining to hazardous materials.
  • Perform moderately complex mathematical computations quickly and accurately.
  • Analyze data, recognize problems and make decisions.
  • Write complete and accurate inspection reports.
  • Positively influence community residents and business people toward a desired course of action.
  • Quickly assess a situation, make decisions and take appropriate action under stressful and emergency conditions.
  • Handle calls, questions and complaints in an appropriate manner.
  • Understand and carry out oral and written directions.
  • Communicate effectively orally and in writing.
  • Maintain confidentiality and exercise sound judgment.
  • Deal tactfully and effectively with the public.
  • Establish and maintain effective working relationships with City employees, other City departments, public officials, contractors, outside agencies and the public.
  • Work as a team member in evaluating alternative courses of action and making recommendations to solve problems related to hazardous materials issues.  
  • Learn, interpret, explain and enforce applicable codes, regulations, ordinances and laws.
  • Learn and utilize new skills and information to improve job performance and efficiency.
  • In addition to the above, incumbents assigned to the specific areas listed below are also expected to have the ability to do the following:
    Plan Review
  • Analyze and compile technical information on fire protection and safety code violations.
  • Detect and determine proper corrective action for fire hazards found at various buildings and installations.
  • Inspect and determine corrective action for deficiencies in a variety of fixed fire protection systems.
  • Interpret basic architectural, mechanical, plumbing, and electrical plans and drawings.
  • Hazardous Material
  • Evaluate practices, facilities, and equipment for the handling, use, and storage of hazardous materials according to appropriate standards, codes and general health and safety criteria.
  • Read and interpret piping and instrument diagrams and process flow diagrams.
  • Conduct field and office investigations and inspections to insure compliance with hazardous materials codes, laws, and regulations.
  • Collect, compile, analyze, and interpret hazardous materials data and data on chemical processes.
  • Licenses and Certifications

    A valid California Class C Drivers' License.
    Possession of or ability to obtain a California Penal Code 832 certificate

    Hazardous Materials 

    Possess and maintain Hazardous Waste Operations and Emergency Response Standard (HAZWOPER) certificate.   International Code Council (ICC) Underground Inspector certification is required to conduct Underground Storage Tank (UST) Inspections.

    Education and Experience

    Any combination of education and experience that provides the knowledge and skills required is qualifying. A typical way to obtain the knowledge and skills would be:

    An Associate of Arts/Science degree in Fire Prevention, Fire Science or a related field; and three years of progressively responsible experience in plan review and inspection of buildings and systems for compliance with fire safety standards, preferably in a county or municipal environment or three years of recent experience in the use, handling, storage, disposal or inspection of hazardous materials. A Bachelor's degree in an Arts/Science degree in Fire Prevention or related field may be substituted for one (1) year of experience. A Masters degree may be substituted for two (2) years experience. 

    Experience that demonstrates familiarity with safety requirements for hazardous material use, handling, storage, disposal or inspection is highly desirable.

    Special Requirements 

    Requires the ability to walk, stand, stoop, crawl, climb ladders, and work at heights above 10 feet when performing field inspections.  Tasks require color and visual perception and discrimination, as well as oral communications ability.  May be required to work in excessive heat/cold; inclement weather; dirt/dust; grease/oil; pesticides, chemicals and solvents/toxic agents; live electricity; high frequency noise; and smoke, fumes and gas.

    Career Ladder Information

    Experience gained in this classification may serve to meet the minimum requirements for promotion to Fire Prevention Manager.