Tag Archives: NICET

New NICET Certification Program

Through the efforts of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association (AFAA), the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) is now offering a new certification program for Inspection and Testing of Fire Alarm Systems. This new certification program consists of two levels.

  1. Level 1 is for those who test “Basic” fire alarm systems, with a minimal amount of interconnection with other systems. 6 months of I&T experience is required. Individuals already certified for Fire Alarm Systems at Level 2 are considered to meet the testing requirement for Inspection and Testing Level 1.
  2. Level 2 is for those who test “Complex” fire alarm systems, including systems with multiple or complex interconnection with other systems. 18 months of I&T experience is required. Individuals already certified Fire Alarm Systems Levels 3 or 4 are considered to meeting the testing requirements for both Inspection and Testing Level 1 and Inspection and Testing Level 2.

This new certification is not meant to replace the existing Fire Alarm Systems certification, but is intended to start having certifications more specific to an individual’s work experience. The intent is to broaden the base of certificate holders in the fire alarm industry. AFAA promoted this to continue our efforts to improve professionalism as well as improve the quality of inspection and testing of fire alarm systems.

For more information, go to www.nicet.org. There is a link to this certification on the home page. For more information on AFAA’s new Inspection and Testing Seminar to help prepare for these tests, look at the Training Calendar under the Training tab on www.afaa.org.


About the Author
Tom Hammerberg is Technical Director of the Automatic Fire Alarm Association. He has been in the alarm industry for 40 years and with AFAA for 21 years, serving as President/Executive Director from 2003-2014. Tom is NICET Level 4 certified in the field of Fire Alarm Systems and is a Certified Fire Protection Specialist. Tom represents AFAA on NFPA 3 and 4, the NFPA 72 Technical Correlating and Protected Premises Technical Committees, NFPA 90A and NFPA 101/5000 Building Services and Fire Protection Equipment and Fundamentals Technical Committees, the ICC Industry Advisory Committee, Life Safety Section of the International Association of Fire Chiefs and the Codes, Standards & Technical Research Committee of the Center for Campus Fire Safety.

3 Most Common Fire Alarm Installation Challenges

A lot of the time, people get into the fire alarm installation business because it’s a career or something to do. They don’t really have the heart or seriousness to think about what they are doing from a liability aspect.

But for me, I have always loved working with fire alarms and have always taken the serious nature of the work into consideration. Doing so has given me the personal satisfaction that I am protecting someone’s life from possibly being lost in a fire. It’s a similar feeling that I would assume a police officer or firefighter experiences.???????????????????????????????

Recently, however, the industry seems to be losing people who have a sense of responsibility and desire to protect peoples’ lives by correctly installing a fire alarm. The chief concern of these new installers appears, instead, to be figuring out how to bid the job cheaper and get the project. They fail to realize, it seems, that if something happens as a result of a faulty fire alarm installation, they are liable. Proper fire alarm installation is more than just a job; it has to be something you feel very passionately about.

So let’s take a look at some of the most common fire alarm challenges:

  1. Lack of Product Knowledge: The one thing I am seeing all too often is that dealers and installers have never been trained on the fire alarm product or are new to selling the product and don’t quite understand how it works and functions. In other words, they are out there trying to sell fire alarms but they have no clue about their product’s features. It would help them to know ahead of time what will be beneficial for the client. Lots of times we’ll see dealers rely on selling one system but the client actually ends up needing something totally different because of the size or nature of the building or how it’s going to be coded.
  2. Not Knowing What Code Is Required: We have a lot of installation companies that are not current on their code knowledge of both NFPA for fire alarm and NEC. The biggest thing I try to stress to all my clients who contact us is that they need to obtain NFPA-72 CODE HANDBOOK, and their locally adopted Code, that is commonly adopted for their area, and they also need to purchase the NEC that their local area is using. There are companies that provide training courses on NFPA-72, NEC, and NICET certification. NICET is a big requirement now by a lot of states in that installation companies have to hire people who are Level 2 or Level 3 NICET certified so that they can actually install fire alarms. We find a lot of companies are not even aware of what their local states require to be in the business.
  3. Installation Procedure Missteps: We have a lot of Companies out there failing to adhere to code requirements or special procedures that you are supposed to follow to correctly install a fire alarm so it stays operational and fault free as long as it can. When we get into some of these businesses, we will find fire alarm cables streamed across ceiling tiles, which is a code violation. They shouldn’t lie on top of the ceiling tiles, but should be suspended independently of their own support. To do that, you have to know what installation product out there will be most beneficial you to use when you are installing that system. Understanding good quality ways of installing a fire alarm system is critical.

These are the biggest problems we are having in the fire alarm industry—most from a lack of knowledge. We don’t have enough knowledgeable people for installation at the moment. Just about every client I have is looking for people who are certified and can successfully install a fire alarm.

If these issues sounds all too familiar to you, I would strongly recommend becoming familiar with NFPA 72 and your local codes; take advantage of training offered by manufacturers; and/or attend NICET certification training courses. You can search the web for NICET and NFPA 72 training to locate a facilitator near you.

About the Author
Jon Setters has been running Design Technology Systems, llc for over seven years. The company has designed and engineered for the big guys, (ADT Security, Tyco Integrated Security, Protection One, Guardian Protective Services, Stanley Security Solutions, Guardian Alarm Company), and numerous Electrical and privately held alarm companies.

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.

Fire Alarm NICET Certification Defined (130 Words)

The National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) offers a specific certification program for those who work in the fire alarm industry. There are four levels of fire alarm certification.

The certification program covers numerous areas including types of fire-alarm detectors and signaling systems, applicable codes and standards, training and development keyboard keysupervision/power requirements, safety considerations and system troubleshooting. The more technical areas involved with certification, include properly mounting and connecting a fire alarm system, practicing proper wiring methods, troubleshooting and repairing system faults, and mitigating work-site safety hazards.

The computer-based NICET exams are offered regularly in locations throughout the U.S. To help you prepare, a list of reference materials is available online and don’t miss the 10 Steps to NICET Success Webinar on November 18, 2014, viewable on-demand after that date.

Beth Welch is the Manager of Public Relations and Social Engagement 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.   

Free Services from Silent Knight Application Engineers

Mark Indgjer and Jack Grones, Silent Knight Application Engineers, can provide you with no-charge services rarely offered by any other manufactures of fire alarm systems. With NICET certification and over 55 years of combined industry experience, these two gentlemen will be sure to help you on your next fire alarm application. Call 800-446-6444 to take advantage of the following:

  • Review building plans for proper Silent Knight equipment (can NOT sign off on drawings)
  • Cross list other manufactures equipment with Silent Knight parts to secure jobs
  • Review specifications line by line log variation
  • Provide assistance with acceptance from contractors and Authority Having Jurisdiction (Code Interpretation)
  • Provide engineering documents such as record of completion form, acceptance test form, sequence of operation form, and battery calculations
  • Pre-engineer voice evacuation, emergency communication and fire fighter phone systems
  • Provide compatibility data on initiating and notification devices
  • Produce AutoCad typical drawings on all Silent Knight products
  • Provide riser diagrams



About the Author
Loren Schreiber has been with Silent Knight for 27 years and currently holds the position of Product Marketing Manager.  Loren’s primary focus is obtaining customer needs and requirements for new product development.