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Training on Fire!

Posted By Jason Unger, Thursday, July 21, 2011
With a brand new version of Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM) and the continued growth of Residential Fire Alarm Course (RFAC), the NTS lineup of fire courses is second to none.

For security integration and monitoring companies looking to expand or grow their knowledge of fire systems, there's no better time than now.

NTS offers a number of classes involving fire systems, including two that focus solely on the topic and a number of others crucial to gaining fire expertise.

FAIM Receives Total Re-write
Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM), one of NTS's core courses, teaches students how to design, install, service and maintain code-compliant fire alarm systems. The course, which had previously been updated in 2005, has been completely re-written to reflect all of the new and current code references and follow new format.

It now includes information on carbon monoxide detection, mass notification and addresses all the relevant code changes that have come into play over the past few years, says Dale Eller, NTS Director.

"It's updated, it's polished, it's as current as it could ever be," he says.

Barbara Kessinger, who was the project manager on the re-write of FAIM, says that the new edition is based on the 2011 edition of NFPA 72 and the 2008 edition of NFPA 70.

"The whole course is really what any fire alarm technician needs to know," she says.

The NFPA 72 codebook, which is the bulk of code in the course, has been completely reformatted, affecting the design of FAIM. "They've [NFPA] redesigned how the code is presented, so we've redesigned how [FAIM] has been presented,” says Eller.

Previously, the course was designed as a code course -- it followed the flow of the codebook. But that wasn't necessarily designed to follow an installation. "You'd be hopscotching around to get the info that's pertinent to you,” says Eller.

Now the course follows how an installation would go. "It's more representative and more straight forward," Eller says.

In addition to code changes – and fitting better with the new courses rolled out by NTS – FAIM now has a whole chapter on new technologies, including fiber optic and visual image smoke detection. It's not required by the code, but is used to enhance the material, says Kessinger.

While it's impossible to predict the future, FAIM was written to make new code changes easier to integrate, says Joseph Hayes, an NTS instructor who served as a subject matter expert on the project.

"A big focus of the re-write was to set the course up so as the codes are re-written, the course can be updated without having to re-write the whole thing and new code material can just be added," he says.

Since the course is based on the newest codebooks, which yet to be adopted by many states and municipalities, students taking FAIM will be ahead of the game, says Kessinger.

"The FAIM course is going to help keep you one step ahead of what your state or municipality is requiring,” she says. "It's the latest and best."

The new FAIM course has been out in the classroom for about three months now, and it's getting positive feedback from students and instructors alike.

RFAC Online Coming Soon
While a new version of FAIM is out in the classroom, Residential Fire Alarm Course (RFAC) is set to roll out online later this year.

But while FAIM is a generally well-known course, RFAC is still new and not everyone is familiar with its benefits.

RFAC was designed specifically at the request of some of the larger national companies whose techs and sales people were primarily focused on intrusion.

There's a natural migration from talking to a homeowner about protecting their house to protecting from fire, and many of these employees haven't had the education on the residential aspects of fire protection.

RFAC explains the code aspects from a residential perspective, as well as fire science: what makes a fire, how it spreads, what it consists of, how do you detect it and more.

"It's a pretty in-depth process," says Eller.

IBC, LSC and Level 1 All Tackle Fire
FAIM and RFAC aren't the only courses offered by NTS that delve into fire systems.

Certified Alarm/Security Technician – Level 1 covers fire systems in a more general fashion, with the security professionals taking it evolving into RFAC and FAIM.

Two of NTS's newer courses – International Building Code (IBC) and Life Safety Code (LSC) – are crucial for understanding fire systems where the respective codes are used.

"If they're going to do fire, it's an area they'll need to understand," says Eller.

IBC specifically covers occupancy types – daycares, nursing homes, etc. – and gives parameters and provides the fire alarm requirements for them, says Hayes.

Someone selling, designing and installing a fire system needs to be able to provide an estimate to the customer without bringing an engineer in, so knowing the occupancy type is a must, Hayes adds.

In fact, the most significant changes to FAIM, says Kessinger, include references to the IBC, which many states have adopted.

With many security companies evolving into fire alarm systems – and strict code requirements for their installations – it's obvious the right training and education is needed to see success. With multiple courses focused on fire, there's no better place than NTS to find the keys your company needs.

Tags:  Education  FAIM  Fire  Fire Alarm Installation Methods  July 2011  RFAC  Training 

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