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ESA/NTS Fire Certifications Recognized by State Fire Marshals

Posted By Jeaneen Bengtson, Tuesday, February 18, 2014
Updated: Thursday, February 20, 2014

In the fall of 2013, ESA launched its newest fire certification, Certified Fire Alarm Designer – Level III Fire, and to date the certification has been accepted in three states as equivalent to the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) Level III.

The most recent approval was granted on Feb. 13, 2014 from the Louisiana Fire Marshal Office’s Life Safety & Property Protection Advisory Board (LLSPPAB). This approval was the result of a joint presentation by ESA’s National Training School (NTS) and the Louisiana Life Safety & Security Association (LLSSA). The board voted by a majority ‘yes’ vote to accept ESA’s Certified Fire Alarm Technician and Certified Fire Alarm Designer for a company "qualifier's" education/certification requirements for non-required and required fire alarm contractors in Louisiana.

Louisiana fire alarm companies are required to have a "qualifier,” which is defined as one full-time employee that has demonstrated knowledge in all aspects of designing and supervising the installation of required fire alarm systems. Until the Feb. 13  vote, a NICET Level III certification in Fire Alarm Systems was the only accepted competency level allowed for the company "qualifier” seeking to participate in the required fire alarm business.

The alternative certification path through ESA/NTS and LLSSA is a "stair-step” succession of education courses as follows:

1. Certified Alarm Technician (Level I),

2. Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM),

3. Either the Life Safety Code (LSC) or International Building Code (IBC),

4. And the NEW Professional Fire Alarm Design (PFAD).

The final step prior to becoming a Certified Fire Alarm Designer (CFAD) is to provide proof of at least 36 months of experience in fire detection and signaling systems. This experience includes installation, maintenance, inspection, testing, commissioning, technical system estimating and sales, plan preparation, code compliance review, project management, and/or technical business management. Field experience, team leadership and technical management role experience are also required. Proof must include notarized affidavits from their employer that confirms they have this experience.

ESA would like to thank the Louisiana Life Safety & Security Association and LLSSA Training Coordinator Danny Northcutt for their guidance, expertise and support in this endeavor.

Louisiana joins Iowa and Tennessee in accepting CFAD as an equivalent to NICET III. To find out more about ESA’s Certification programs please visit

Tags:  certification  cfad  cfat  llssa  louisana  nts 

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