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Fire Side Chat: Get With the Program to Be a True Life-Safety Pro

As in other professions entailing a high level of skill, toiling in fire/life safety demands practitioners adhere to a well-defined and stringent set of regulations, codes and guidelines. Whether you plan to design, install or service systems, find out what is expected.



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Who Measures Up As an Installer

Let’s move on to the next listings under Section 10.4 Personnel Qualifications:

10.4.2 System Installer 

10.4.2.1 — Fire alarm systems and emergency communications systems installation personnel shall be qualified or shall be supervised by persons who are qualified in the installation, inspection, and testing of the systems.

10.4.2.2 — State or local licensure regulations shall be followed to determine qualified personnel. Depending on state or local licensure regulations, qualified personnel shall include, but not be limited to, one or more of the following:

1) Personnel who are registered, licensed, or certified by a state or local authority

2) Personnel who are certified by a nationally recognized certification organization acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction

3) Personnel who are factory trained and certified for fire alarm system installation and emergency communications system installation of the specific type and brand of system and who are acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction

For the system installer, the list of methods to demonstrate qualifications is similar to those for design. The one difference is found in point 3, in that the factory training is now associated with the installation of the equipment rather than design of the system. I would point out that installers should nevertheless have an understanding of the principles of design, in that the shop drawings may not reflect the actual conditions found in the field. The installer may need to make adjustments to the system in view of what is actually found within the protected premise.

Specifics of Being a Service Provider

Continuing to the next area:

10.4.3 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance Personnel (SIG-TMS)

10.4.3.1 — Service personnel shall be qualified and experienced in the inspection, testing, and maintenance of systems addressed within the scope of this Code. Qualified personnel shall include, but not be limited to, one or more of the following:

1) Personnel who are factory trained and certified for the specific type and brand of system being serviced

2) Personnel who are certified by a nationally recognized certification organization acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction

3) Personnel who are registered, licensed, or certified by a state or local authority to perform service on systems addressed within the scope of this Code

4) Personnel who are employed and qualified by an organization listed by a nationally recognized testing laboratory for the servicing of systems within the scope of this Code

The final paragraph within NFPA 72 regarding the qualifications of field personnel is for those who inspect, test and service systems. The one addition is point 4, in which those who work for a firm listed by a Nationally Recognized Testing Laboratory (NRTL) are deemed to be qualified. These NRTLs would include UL, Factory Mutual (FM) and Edison Testing Laboratory (ETL). In this case, it is left for the firm that holds the listing to ensure their personnel are properly trained and qualified on the systems serviced and inspected.

Up to Speed and Steady As a She Goes

Systems integrators considering adding fire alarm systems to the services they provide need to make certain their personnel have the required qualifications. For those presently performing work within this field, verify your people possess the needed qualifications and maintain them through continuing education. Providing life-safety systems for building owners and the occupants of their structures is a rewarding enterprise, but it must be done correctly the first time and every time.

Life-Safety Education & Training Resources

  • Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA; afaa.org)
  • Electronic Security Association (ESA; esaweb.org)
  • Fire Equipment Manufacturers’ Association (FEMA; femalifesafety.org)
  • International Brotherhood of Electrical Workers (IEBW; iebw.org)
  • National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED; nafed.org)
  • National Fire Protection Association (NFPA; nfpa.org) 
  • National Training Center (NTC; nationaltrainingcenter.net)
  • Oklahoma State University (go.okstate.edu)
  • Society of Fire Protection Engineers (SFPE; sfpe.org)

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Article Topics
Fire/Life Safety · Other · Fire/Life Safety 2 · Fire Side Chat · Fire Side Chat with Shane Clary · All Topics

About the Author
Shane Clary
Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.
Contact Shane Clary: smclary@bayalarm.com
View More by Shane Clary
Fire Side Chat, Fire Side Chat with Shane Clary


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