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Newest NTS Course Takes Fire Alarm Design to the Next Level

Posted By Jeaneen Bengtson, Friday, June 21, 2013

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 inspection.

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.

Tags:  Fire  NTS  PFAD  training 

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