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March 14, 2004

                             ET NEWS 
======================================================================
        NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS
----------------------------------------------------------------------
Issue No. 142   http://etnews.org   mailto:mike@etnews.org   3-14-2004
======================================================================

Contents
--------
- News
- ET Journal
- Job Opportunities
- Fire Alarm Class Schedule
- Comments & Acknowledgements

======================================================================
NEWS 
======================================================================

COUNTY looks to toughen fire-alarm rules
The Journal News.com - Westchester,NY,USA
... all alarm installers and technicians have a minimum Level II certification
by the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies, or
NICET. ...
http://www.thejournalnews.com/newsroom/031404/a0114falsealarms.html

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SMOKE alarm warning after tragic fire
Norfolk Eastern Daily Press - Norfolk,England,UK
... It meant Miss Wheeler received no warning about the fierce fire that had
started ... common reasons are missing or flat batteries or failure to position
the alarm ...
http://www.edp24.co.uk/content/News/story.asp?datetime=13+Mar+2004+07%3A14&tbran
d=EDPOnline&tCategory=NEWS&category=News&brand=EDPOnline&itemid=NOED12+Mar+2004+
18%3A15%3A36%3A037

----------------------------------------------------------------------

COOKING mishap caused Burlingame fire
San Mateo Daily Journal - San Mateo,CA,USA
... Smoke detectors inside the building were not functional at the time of the
fire, and a building-wide fire alarm system also failed to activate, according
to a ...
http://www.smdailyjournal.org/article.cfm?issue=03-12-04&storyID=28926

----------------------------------------------------------------------

MOTHER And Son Escape Tennessee Hotel Fire
Firehouse.com News - USA
... Everett, who lives in the Five Point area of Maryville, said she and her
son, Justin, were getting ready to take a shower about 9:30 am when the fire
alarm ...
http://cms.firehouse.com/content/article/article.jsp?sectionId=46&id=27295

----------------------------------------------------------------------

Work Begins On Clinton Presidential DVD Library
LITTLE ROCK, AR - The William Jefferson Clinton Presidential DVD Library is
currently under construction, with the opening celebration scheduled to take
place Nov. 14, the former president said Tuesday.
http://www.theonion.com/news/index.php?i=1&n=1

----------------------------------------------------------------------

I'll see you in Chicago this week.
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/PR_IntFA_Chicago_Mar2004.pdf

Have fun!

Mike
mailto:mike@etnews.org

======================================================================
ET JOURNAL 
======================================================================

ENFORCEMENT COMPLIANCE
----------------------

The time has come to cut broccoli or get out of the field. The time has come to
ensure life safety compliance or to get out of this industry.

As I tour America in an effort to train fire protection professionals it has
become painfully clear to me that enforcement compliance is a cosmic joke.
You're already familiar with the term "cosmic joke". You've all heard it and
you've all heard it all of your lives:
"We need to pass a law making it illegal to use insider information to profit
from the sale of stock."
"We need to pass a law making it illegal to lie on ones corporate financial
statement."
"We need to pass a law against (insert negative behavior here)."

We may want them but we certainly don't *need* any more laws, thank you very
much Congressperson.

In my opinion the general public is completely desensitized to the sound a fire
alarm makes indicating the need to evacuate a building. If it hasn't already
happened it's only a matter of time in this litigious society for someone
somewhere to file a lawsuit against a property owner claiming that property
owner's willful disregard and reluctance to escort occupants personally and
one-by-one out of a burning building. It is a generally accepted premise that
not everyone can be counted on to take responsibility for their own well being.
For example, I ask that you review recent lawsuits against fast-food restaurants
by overweight persons for compensation rather than accepting their own
responsibility for eating too much food.

The reason the general public is completely desensitized to the sound a fire
alarm makes indicating the need to evacuate a building is due to many things.
Rather than address each of these contributing factors I want to focus and I
want the fire protection industry to focus on what we can do to reverse this
and to help the general public benefit from the money and effort put forth by
a whole lot of people to make buildings safe.

So, what can we do to accomplish this? Simply enforce compliance of existing
codes and standards. Each of the members of the Fire Protection Engineering Team
- AHJ, Engineer, and Technician pondering what they can do to enforce compliance
see this as a daunting task. "What", they ask themselves, "can I do to enforce
compliance? I'm just one person!" And they'd be correct in their assumption; it
is a daunting task for one person. However, as a group, the Team can make a HUGE
difference.

The AHJ community has to deal with manpower and other resource restrictions and
are simply not able to affect this change on their own, though few would argue
that as a group, AHJ's want enforcement compliance more than any other of the
Team members. So, how do they make it happen? With the help of the two other
members; Engineers and Technicians.

Rather than re-invent the wheel let's follow the examples of others. One of
those examples includes "The Boston Problem". In the late 1980's the City of
Boston felt it necessary to identify the reasons behind the excessive number of
unwanted fire alarms occurring in hospitals. The fire alarm industry stepped up
to volunteer their efforts and help the fire department perform and audit, which
resulted in a laundry list of reasons behind the unwanted alarms. Here's a
portion of that list:

 o Lack of maintenance
 o Smoke detectors installed during construction
 o Ambient conditions causing unwanted alarms
 o Smoke detectors contaminated during remodeling
 o Smoke alarms installed next to showers

The City of Boston used this laundry list to draft and adopt a city ordinance
that required, among other things, the following:

 o Required maintenance and testing by a UL listed company
 o UL Certification for new systems
 o As-built drawings located at the control unit
 o Less sensitive smoke detectors to reduce nuisance alarms
 o Alternative protection during renovations (heat detection in place of smoke
   detection)
 o Fines

In this example, the City of Boston spent little if any unbudgeted resources on
this project to arrive at a very effective method to enforce compliance of
existing requirements. The net result of this was a decrease in unwanted alarms
of nearly 50% for the 2-year period following the ordinance. This bears
repeating. The City of Boston reduced false fire alarms by one-half in 2 years.

For those who attend the 1-day AFAA Testing and Inspection seminar, you will
find out much more about the "Boston Problem".

AFAA Member Associations in New England, Arizona, Kansas, Oklahoma, Minnesota,
Michigan, California, Oregon, Maryland-DC-Virginia, Alabama, Colorado, New York,
Louisiana, Nevada, New Jersey, Pennsylvania, Texas, Virginia, and others are
made up of these Team members who work on solutions to problems such as
"The Boston Problem". I challenge you to do your part and to give back to your
industry by participating in your local AFAA member association or in the
National AFAA efforts. 

In my opinion, the single most cost effective action that we can take as a Team
across the USA is to do what it takes to ensure that a NICET Level II
Engineering Technician supervises fire alarm work and to ensure that a NICET
Level III Engineering Technician submit fire alarm design drawings for approval
prior to beginning the work.

Another reason why a building occupant may not respond to the sound of a fire
alarm is that they may not believe that a fire exists. The occupant may assume
it to be a false alarm. Unwanted alarms are going to occur regardless of how
meticulous the Team is in designing, installing, and maintain a fire alarm
system. To ensure that building occupants ALWAYS believe that the fire alarm is
real is to practice. What happened to us between elementary school and
adulthood? In elementary school we knew precisely what to do when we heard a
ringing fire bell because we practiced what to do when we heard a ringing fire
bell. Maybe we should use the fire warden concept everywhere. For example, at
work an assigned fire warden is responsible for regularly exercising the fire
alarm system and for training employees as to what to do in the event of a fire.
Practice it until is becomes second nature.

Rather than continuing to evangelize my side of this argument, let's all meet in
Charleston, SC on April 14-17, 2004 and start working together, as a Team, to do
the right thing.

http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/2004%20Annual%20Meeting%20Preliminary%20Agenda.pdf

======================================================================
JOB OPPORTUNITIES 
======================================================================

Place your "job opportunity" or "seeking employment" ad here.


======================================================================
FIRE ALARM CLASS SCHEDULE 
======================================================================

------------------
March 16-18, 2004 Chicago, IL
------------------
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/PR_IntFA_Chicago_Mar2004.pdf

------------------
March 23-25, 2004 Baton Rouge, LA
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/TI_PR_LAAFAA_Mar2004.pdf

------------------
April 13-14, 2004 Charleston, SC
------------------
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/PR_TI_Charleston_Apr2004.pdf

------------------
April 20-21, 2004 Wilmington, DE
------------------
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/IntFA_Wilmington_April2004.png

------------------
May 3, 2004 Phoenix, AZ
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
May 4-5, 2004 Phoenix, AZ
------------------
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
May 11-13, 2004 Cleveland, OH
------------------
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
May 18-20, 2004 Newark, NJ
------------------
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
June 8-10, 2004 Kansas City, MO
------------------
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
June 15-17, 2004 Des Moines, IA
------------------
Fire Alarm System Fundamentals
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
July 6-8, 2004 Seattle, WA
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
July 13-14, 2004 Chicago, IL
------------------
Advanced Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET III/IV)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
July 20-22, 2004 Salt Lake City, UT
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

======================================================================
COMMENTS AND ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS 
======================================================================

ET News is written nearly every week and almost always sent on Sunday.

The ET News website was created by Doug Hockinson: http://phpvs.com.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
Some information may be found within this email message that is reprinted with
permission from one or more of the following; NFPA 70 National Electrical
Code(r), NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code(r), NFPA 101(r) Life Safety Code(r),
Copyright(c) NFPA, Quincy, MA 02269. This reprinted material is not the complete
and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is
represented only by the standard in its entirety. 
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This reprinted material is not the complete and official position of the NFPA on the referenced subject, which is represented only by the standard in its entirety.