ESA’s National Training School (NTS) is putting the finishing touches on a new
course that takes commercial fire knowledge to the next level. The course, Professional
Fire Alarm Design (PFAD), will give students the tools they need to
successfully develop an installation plan based on specific field conditions
and project requirements.
The 14-hour classroom course was created for individuals who
have previously attained Certified Fire Alarm Technician (CFAT) status, but
it’s not only for technicians. Those working closely with fire alarms – such as
system designers, project managers, plan reviewers, company owners, sales
staff, architects and engineers – can all benefit from PFAD.
"Written by experts in the fire alarm field, PFAD logically
presents information in plain English, yet it’s in-depth enough to engage
engineers who may be lacking training in commercial fire system planning,”
explained Greg Kessinger, who is national training director at Zenith Design
Group, Inc. Kessinger, along with his wife Barb, acted as subject matter expert
and played a major role in development of the course and its student workbook.
"Not only will technicians benefit, but experienced fire system salespersons
will also be able to take this course to help them better understand the many
aspects they should be asking their clients during the planning stage.”
PFAD takes an extensive look at fire alarm design from
beginning plans to submittal packages and documentation. The course begins by outlining
the introductory planning steps such as determining protection criteria,
understanding legal coverage requirements based on occupancy type, defining project
scope, and understanding owner protection goals and other hazards that may
affect the system design.
Next, students will learn to apply the criteria defined from the planning stage
to the design stage. PFAD examines various system types and features, including
emergency control function interfaces; fire system programming; and steps for
choosing appropriate initiating devices, supervisory components and
notification appliances. Students will then use code knowledge and technical
skills previously acquired in the Fire Alarm Installation Methods (FAIM) course
and PFAD in the hands-on portion of the course to design a fire alarm system based
on a building floor plan.
After thoroughly covering various aspects of system design, PFAD
switches gears by teaching students how to develop commercial fire alarm system
plans and submittal documents. The submittal package may include – but is not
limited to – a building floor plan, codes and standards referenced in the
design, locations of alarm devices, illustration of device wiring and more.
Students will learn how to prepare thorough project documentation that will
help foster timely permit issuance, system installation and a successful
The comprehensive course concludes with a two-hour proctored
exam. The designation of Certified Fire Alarm Designer is available to students
who hold a CFAT or higher, have 36 months field experience, and successfully
complete the course and pass the exam. Additionally, with the implementation of
this course, NTS now has the ability to offer students a Level III Certified
Fire Alarm Technician status.
When it comes to similar advanced fire courses offered
within the industry, Kessinger said the knowledge and criteria on which PFAD is
based makes it the most relevant and valuable course of its kind.
"PFAD is based on the 2013 NFPA 72, which is more current
than many, if not all, of the competing courses,” Kessinger said. "And the
depth of knowledge that ultimately created this course cannot be compared to
any other organization’s offerings.”
Although PFAD is currently in the beta testing phase, NTS
anticipates rolling the course out later this year through ESA’s Chartered
Chapters. But, don’t worry; we’ll give you a heads up when it becomes available
in your area!
For more information on the Professional Fire Alarm Design
course, click here.