Tag Archives: fire alarm

NFPA Standards New and Old – Which Do YOU Follow?

Earlier this year, I asked a LinkedIn Group of industry pros a simple question about the NFPA standards their regions were currently following. To this day, I have NEVER seen such a fury of comments on any other subject!old new sign

Some talked about the hurdles new standards presented. Others were infuriated with how long they’ve followed the same, antiquated standards. A few discussed how they capitalized on new standards. And those examples are just the tip of the ice berg.

So a new year is upon us, and I wonder… has anything changed? Let’s find out.

With the help of colleagues, I devised a quick quiz on this topic – click here to take the survey and you will see the current survey results at the completion of your survey.

If you’re hesitant to click on the survey link above, here’s a quick overview of the survey questions:

1. In what state or U.S. territory is most of your business located? (multiple choice)

2. What version of NFPA 72 is your region currently following? (multiple choice)

3. If your region has not yet adopted the current 2013 version of NFPA 72, how long before you believe it will be adopted? (multiple choice)

4. Once a new version of NFPA 72 is introduced (every three years), how long does it generally take before your region adopts the new standard? (multiple choice)

5. What’s the biggest challenge you’ve experienced or foresee with the adoption of the current NFPA 2013 standards? (open comment)

6. What’s the biggest business opportunity you’ve experienced or foresee with the adoption of the current NFPA 2013 standards? (open comment)

Take the Poll


About the Author
Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations & Social Outreach for Honeywell Fire Systems. For a decade, she has strived to raise awareness of new technologies, industry trends and information, for the benefit of engineers, integrators and end users.


10 Steps to NICET Exam Success

If you’re looking to grab an edge in the fire alarm and protection industry, that’s where the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) comes into play. NICET awards nationally recognized certification programs that are increasingly used by employers to measure job skills and knowledge. But how can you ensure you pass the incredibly chanicet-certifiedllenging NICET exam the first time around? Bryan McLane, vice president of the National Training Center (NTC), has come up with a 10-step game plan to prepare technicians for the difficult test.

“It’s certainly not an easy certification to achieve. It’s kind of like the marines—the few and the proud. The certification is extremely valuable across the industry, and these steps will help get you there,” McLane said during a Nov. 18 webinar titled “10 Steps to NICET Success.”

McLane shared these 10 steps with webinar participants—a plan that has resulted in a 92 percent pass rate on the first test for NTC students, which is about three times greater than the 30 percent national average. Let’s explore this plan of action in detail:

Step 1—Start Studying Early: When students leave McLane’s NICET prep class, they are typically exhausted. But McLane encourages them to go home after class and do some reading on code—devoting plenty of time to studying early on.

Step 2—Get the Right References: Each NICET exam is edition specific, so it’s important that you obtain the most current NICET book edition for the exam you’re taking.

Step 3—Study One Bite at a Time: “This might be the hardest exam you’ll ever take,” McLane said. As a result, you cannot open the books for the first time the night before and cram for it. Start studying early and “in small bites.”

Step 4—Highlight Important Words/Concepts: Steer clear of focusing intently on every single word on every page. Instead, draw your attention to the words and concepts that jump out to you. Study with a highlighter in your hand so when you’re at the exam you can quickly flip through your book and locate the most pertinent and impactful information. At the end of the day, the exam is about effectively managing your time.

Step 5—Attach Permanent Tabs: NICET permits permanent tabbed references affixed to sections of your book during the exam. NICET will not allow for tabs that can be easily relocated during the test; therefore, use your best judgment to place permanent tabs on the most important chapters and sections of the code.

Step 6—Implement a Strategy: If you fail to plan, you plan to fail. Come to the exam with a strategy so you know how many questions you need to get through to pass, and don’t focus on the research-intensive questions that will take up too much time.

Step 7—Answer Every Question: In the past, a NICET exam strategy was to intentionally leave questions blank. But today’s strategy is to answer all of the questions because an unanswered question hurts your score. Work on the easiest questions first and, if you’re running out of time, it’s OK to guess on the remaining ones.

Step 8—Use the Flag Button: For the more difficult questions, use the flag button and then come back to them later on. You should not be sacrificing your valuable time on these research-intensive questions.

Step 9—Avoid Research-Intensive Questions: McLane cannot emphasize this point enough. You don’t have the luxury to invest a lot of time on the research-intensive questions. You should give an educated guess, flag the question and come back to it later on.

Step 10—Seek Out Study Guides and Training: The best way to succeed is by learning from people who are successful in the field. That’s because they have put together the best study guides and training plans to pass exams, including NTC, which has developed strategies for passing the NICET exam.

This webinar is now viewable on demand on the Silent Knight website. Click here to learn more about the 10 steps to NICET success.

About the Author
Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations & Social Outreach for Honeywell Fire Systems. For a decade, she has strived to raise awareness of new technologies, industry trends and information, for the benefit of engineers, integrators and end users.

Five Ways Fire Alarm Dealers Can Market Themselves Locally

As a fire alarm dealer, you can have the most innovative product in the area but if you don’t market yourself effectively, that product remains on the shelf. You may already have a strong promote-businessgrasp of standard marketing concepts, but there are always additional strategies you can implement to improve visibility and market presence within your region.

Let’s take a look at five ways fire alarm dealers can market themselves locally:

  • Build a Company Website: The first step in marketing your fire alarm business is to create a well-designed, navigable website detailing all the information a potential customer would like to know. For example, you can identify the specific safety features, including those that distinguish it from the competition, as well as elucidate on cost. It’s essential to implement a user-friendly design and navigation so visitors can seamlessly scroll amongst product pages and sales pages. Also, don’t forget to include multiple calls to action so the customer can effortlessly request additional information or make a purchase.
  • Join the Social Conversation: One way to bring future customers to your newly-created website is by creating social media pages on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn. By not taking advantage of networking sites, your company is missing out on a huge market. After all, did you know 74 percent of online adults are on social media, according to Pew Internet Project’s research. Your social media pages should boast daily updates including regular notifications about company news, promotions, events, photos and product enhancements.
  • Launch an Email Campaign: To ensure maximum exposure for your product, you may want to also cast your eye to email. By utilizing vendor-provided email lists, you can touch new and existing customers through all the platforms they frequent. E-newsletters can help you market your social media sites and new website as well as spread the word about new technologies now available, the latest installation success story, updates on local code and more. However, don’t spam your contacts—being overly aggressive could turn them away.
  • Craft and Circulate Press Releases: Your website and social media pages will need a constant stream of content, and crafting press releases is a great way to fill that hole, in addition to keeping your target audience always in the loop of new updates. In these releases, consider highlighting the system’s special features, announcing that local servicing is now more widely available or publicizing the charity campaign your company is taking part in, just to name a few examples. Once you craft your press releases, focus on circulation. Put them up on your website, splash them across social media and build a list of local media contacts and begin emailing them your press releases. A phone call to the local newspaper is also always a smart idea; the paper could jump on your story and give you free advertising in the community.
  • Hire an Extra Helper: This new marketing strategy may seem a bit intimidating, considering you’re already swamped enough at work. As a result, you should explore hiring a marketing professional to lead this campaign. The individual would work on perfecting the website, social media pages and press releases to help increase your company’s visibility in the community. Because this marketing operation will generate more revenue, you’ll be able to afford this new hire.

Interested in finding out more about fire alarm systems? Click here today.

About the Author
Elizabeth Richards is the Manager of Communications for the SED Channel – Fire-Lite Alarms, Honeywell Power, and Silent Knight. Liz joined Honeywell Fire Systems in 2003 and is responsible for the communications, collateral, messaging, and events for all three brands.

Three Things Every Dealer Should Know About BIM

In the fire and life-safety industry, equipment dealers must have a solid understanding of emerging next-generation processes like building information modeling (BIM)—an intelligent 3-D model-based solution for building planning, design, construction and management—to stay competitive. BIM is a quickly growing movement, making it one that dealers should particularly keep an eye on.BIM

“It’s a train pulling out of the station. Either you’re on the train or you’re chasing it down the tracks or you’re completely left behind,” says CAD/BIM specialist for Honeywell FSG Services John Koehler. If you want to maintain a competitive edge, you’ve got to jump on.

Here are three things dealers should know about BIM to enhance and improve business:

  1. BIM helps you land more jobs: With more building owners understanding the value that a BIM platform offers, and thus requesting the technology, those dealers that understand the ins and outs of BIM will be able to effectively meet expectations and broaden their job portfolios. As a result, they will be able to gain more market share, increase their competitiveness and better cater to business needs, says Koehler.
  1. BIM enables you to handle field issues prior to construction: To succeed in today’s industry, you have to be forward-thinking, says Koehler. That means you must be able to assess quickly when the process flow of a project will change. BIM offers dealers the ability to handle field issues prior to construction, supporting stronger field coordination and providing better insight into how a project flow might vary from established plans. For example, you’ll be able to determine in real time how much flexibility you’ll need regarding space requirements. Or, you’ll be able to determine where equipment is needed in certain areas (how the equipment is located determines how the systems will be circuited). Resolving these small but impactful details prior to construction makes all the difference in customer satisfaction and productivity.
  1. BIM secures future expansion: Buildings are constantly undergoing change and expansion—something that BIM easily supports thanks to predictive capabilities and real-time data management. Koehler cites the example of a hospital, which tends to rapidly evolve and change. Because a BIM platform makes accurate documentation immediately available, dealers can begin strategizing for renovations, upgrades and more as soon as they take the building. “Continued updating and processing by facility management and owners allow for a current up-to-date project model to be available for future design, expansion, renovation or even demolition of the facility if its useful life has been reached,” says Koehler. “It is a true building lifecycle process—from blueprint to bulldoze to boom.”

What else do you think dealers need to know about building information modeling to improve business? Let us know in the comments section below!


About the Author
John Koehler has over 20 years experience leading teams on integrating new BIM and CAD platforms. John koehler John’s experience includes large scale (structural) projects in the aerospace, nuclear, and military markets.  John is currently a CAD/BIM Specialist for Honeywell FSG Services where he currently sits on multiple construction coordination teams to ensure quality construction using BIM and 3D modeling techniques.  John has been instrumental in creating technical standards paving the way for the implementation of BIM both at Honeywell and throughout the fire alarm industry.

Training Gives Dealers Competitive Advantage

I see training as a very important tool that companies need to take advantage of with their field technicians. More often than not, technology advances faster than we can keep up with it. New products are coming out every day as well as revisions to existing core products.SK Train 1

In every class that I instruct, I learn something new about the industry; and that improves my training skills and quality of the programs. This is also true for the students, as the training improves their skills and gives you (the installing contractor) a competitive advantage. A well-trained technician offers faster and higher quality installations and service calls. That translates into reduced risk in going over budget and allows you to close out projects faster.

In the spirit of promoting training, we offer an intense 3 day, hands-on course with Silent Knight products. This course is called Tech-Ed Knight School and includes the 5820XL-EVS fire alarm / Emergency Communication Systems (ECS) panel and the software to name a few exciting elements of what is covered.

In my own career, I valued training as a way I could stay ahead of the competition and understand the new products that are available and coming out soon. I encourage you to do the same by going to our online training site on SilentKnight.com to find a city and date that is convenient to take advantage of this offer. Sign up today!

About the Author
Brian Brownell has worked within the fire alarm industry for 30 years and joined Silent Knight three years ago as technical trainer.