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Why You Need NICET-Certified and Factory-Trained Technicians for Your Fire & Life Safety Systems 

Posted on: June 22, 2020

As your company’s building chief or facilities director, fire and life safety systems are the last place you want to cut costs. Whether you’re shopping for a new service vendor, or looking to replace an existing, subpar contractor, you want the best. After all, your building’s fire alarms, hoods, sprinklers, etc., are your first and last line of defense when disaster strikes. 

To ensure your company complies with the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and regulations, you must hire technicians and technologists that are certified by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET).

Having your facilities serviced and inspected by NICET-certified and factory trained technicians will grant you more than just compliance, however. It will provide you with peace of mind that your building, your assets, and most of all — your employees — are protected by highly trained specialists. 

What is NICET-Certification?

Located in Virginia and established in 1961, the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is a nonprofit organization that provides certification for engineering technicians throughout the country. Across a variety of engineering fields, NICET-certification is the gold-standard that employers look for when hiring new technicians and technologists. 

The organization’s “vision” is, “…providing recognition of qualified technology professionals who reliably apply engineering principles and practices for the benefit and safety of the public.”

Regarding the fire and life safety service industry, NICET offers certification programs in many crucial areas, specifically:

No matter if you are a building manager, facilities director, or estimator, if you are in charge of your company’s fire and life safety service contracts, only hire a vendor that employs NICET-certified technicians. Retention of anything less, could result in compliance and safety issues.  

A rigorous training program for engineering technicians across the country

Now that we know what NICET-certification is, let’s discuss the level of training candidates must undergo before becoming certified. 

Depending on the specialty (see the above list), there are different levels of mastery. 

For example, there are 4 levels of certification for fire alarm systems:

  1. Level I — To obtain Level I NICET-certification in fire alarm systems, applicants must pass the Level I exam, obtain supervisor verification of all Level I performance measures, and have at least 6 months of tech experience working with fire signaling and detection systems.
  2. Level II — For Level II, applicants must pass the written exam for Level I and II, receive supervisor verification of all Level I and II performance measures, and have at least 2 years of experience with fire detection and signaling systems that must include 1 year of experience with fire alarm systems, including notification, sprinkler monitoring, agent releasing suppression systems, and alarm and detection in installation, inspection, testing, commissioning, technical system estimating and sales, plans preparation, or maintenance.
  3. Level III — After completing the written exam for Levels I, II, and III, and obtaining supervisor verification of all Level I, II and III performance measures, applicants must have 5 years of experience in fire alarm and detection systems. This experience must include 33 months working with fire alarm systems, including, maintenance, installation, testing, commissioning, inspection, technical system estimating and sales, code compliance review, plan preparation, technical business management, and/or project management. Further, the three extra years from Level II must involve team leadership, field experience, and at least 12 months of experience acting in a fire alarm systems management role. 
  4. Level IV — In addition to passing all previous exams, applicants must finish the Level IV test, and receive supervisor verification of all Level I, II, III, and IV performance measures. To reach this highest level of mastery, applicants must have 10 years of experience working with fire detection and signaling systems. Of those 10 years, applicants must have a minimum of 45 months of fire alarm systems experience. This includes maintenance, inspection, testing, commissioning, technical business management and/or a management role in installation, plan preparation, technical system estimating and sales, and/or code compliance review. And to top it off, the five additional years from Level III must include a minimum of 24 months of overseeing the project management of fire alarm systems.

Remember, these requirements are only for certification in fire alarm systems. Applicants may become certified in multiple specialties, each of which will require additional training. Furthermore, NICET requires certificate holders to recertify every 3 years to ensure they are current with new technologies, regulations, codes, and methods, and to protect the public’s interests. 

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Benefits of hiring NICET-certified technicians for your fire & life safety systems

If it isn’t clear enough already, hiring NICET-certified technicians is the most important decision you can make when it comes to managing your building’s facilities and fire and life safety systems — it ensures a high standard of excellence and competence.

Some of the additional benefits you gain by choosing a vendor comprised of NICET-certified technicians, include:

  • Maintenance and inspection of all systems in accordance with national and local code requirements and standards
  • Satisfaction of insurance requirements
  • Satisfaction of health care accreditation requirements
  • Compliance with local fire department inspection requirements
  • Limited liability for your company
  • Reduced cost on installation and repairs as a result of proper maintenance that fully exhausts the lifespan of your systems

NICET-certified professionals undergo extensive training so that they can quickly identify and remedy deficiencies in fire and life safety systems. By hiring NICET-certified technicians, you can rest assured that your facilities are being maintained and inspected by the best in the business. 

PSI: NICET-certified technicians are standing by

Founded in 2002, Performance Systems Integration (PSI) is the premier fire and life safety systems vendor of the Pacific Northwest. Offering a single-point-of-management for fire protection and compliance services and solutions, our NICET-certified technicians routinely service schools, property management, hotels, hospitals, and other businesses throughout Oregon and Washington.

Committed to providing the best code compliance solutions in the industry, we have certified staff on-call 24/7 to resolve any fire or life safety emergency service call. For more information about our services, or to schedule a free life safety and code compliance analysis in the Pacific Northwest, call our Oregon/SW Washington Office at (503) 512-5812, or our Washington State Office at (425) 947-1149, or contact us online.

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