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March 21, 2004

                             ET NEWS 
======================================================================
        NEWS AND INFORMATION FOR ENGINEERING TECHNICIANS
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Issue No. 143   http://etnews.org   mailto:mike@etnews.org   3-21-2004
======================================================================

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

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

UNT dorm fire a $600000 lesson
Dallas Morning News (free subscription) - Dallas,TX,USA
UNT officials said they learned valuable lessons this month when an electrical
fire in a mechanical building next to Clark Hall disabled the fire alarm system
http://www.dallasnews.com/sharedcontent/dws/news/city/denton/stories/031904dnden
untfire.5b9f9.html

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MULTI-LINGUAL Fire Safety Video
KELOLAND - Sioux Falls,SD,United States
... Back in Russia, we really don't have fire alarm systems so the only thing
that we could do in case of a fire is just leave the house and call 9-1-1.". ...
http://www.keloland.com/NewsDetail9.cfm?Id=22,30722

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CHIEF told people were trapped
Chicago Sun Times - Chicago,IL,USA
... It happened when the commissioner called the fire alarm office from his car
to get updates on the fire after an extra alarm was pulled. ...
http://www.suntimes.com/output/news/cst-nws-fire18.html

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FIRE chief warns of courthouse danger
The Lafayette Daily Advertiser - Lafayette,LA,United States ... Im currently
under the impression the fire alarm system doesn't work completely," he said. 
"Those are code violations ...
http://www.acadiananow.com/news/html/68E9105C-E4F0-4972-BD79-6D69B59BF3A7.shtml

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MAN saved by fire alarm cat
Winnipeg Sun - Winnipeg,Manitoba,Canada
... Had it not been for the quick-thinking animal, Toolis figured he would have
perished in the fire that gutted his home and did $70,000 damage to the building 
http://www.canoe.ca/NewsStand/WinnipegSun/News/2004/03/16/383788.html

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"FIRE ZONE NO PARKING"
http://www.american-firefighter.com/photos/view.php?photo_id=321

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I am in receipt of a gift promised years ago by Andy Warhol. The gift, which
lasted about 15 minutes, was that I was honored by a kind review of one of my
books; "Fire Alarm Handbook NICET I & II Element Review", by none other than Mr.
Kinks and Hints hisself, Al Colombo, in the March 2004 issue of Security Sales &
Integration. Thanks Al! Thanks Andy. Hi Mom!

I'll see you in Baton Rouge this week.
http://www.afaa.org/afaa/PDF/TI_PR_LAAFAA_Mar2004.pdf

Have fun!

Mike


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

THIRD PARTY VERIFICATION
------------------------

For the past two code-cycles, NFPA 72 National Fire Alarm Code(r) committee came
very close to requiring third-party verification (3PV) of all fire alarm systems.
As the story goes, NFPA 72-2002 came within 1 vote of requiring 3PV. By now we
should all realize that it's not whether 3PV will be required but rather when it
will be required. Without going on and on about why it's come to this, it's
sufficient to say that the job of properly installing, inspecting, testing,
maintaining, and record-keeping of fire alarm systems (a.k.a. life safety
systems) is not getting done. It's either not getting done at all or in some
cases it's getting done sporadically, incompletely, or improperly. 

Building on my tirade last week regarding enforcement compliance, allow me to
point out that wise AHJ's can see the value of 3PV. The value in having someone
else verify compliance with applicable codes and standards. The value in moving
the onus and expense of enforcement compliance squarely on to the property owner.
Remember that the responsibility to comply with building codes and standards is
unarguably the responsibility of the property owner and no one else.

The mere mention of requiring third-party verification in mixed company will
guarantee a response from at least one person regarding their absolute revulsion
by the mere mention of the idea. This disgust is borne, in my opinion, by their
misunderstanding of the process and inherent value. Today, where 3PV is required
by city ordinance or insurance underwriter or job specification, it is provided
by a UL-listed or FM-approved contractor because UL(r) and FM Global are the
only two organizations currently offering 3PV of fire alarm systems.

6 years ago I too would have been resistant to adopt a requirement that
guaranteed additional revenue to an organization by virtue of the fact that only
one entity (of two) could provide the level of service mandated by the
requirement. Requiring 3PV would put a State Fire Marshal in the uncomfortable
position of sales representative working on behalf of UL(r) and/or FM Global.
This is a clear violation of the intent of NFPA to remain above the business of
endorsing one product or service over another.

Regardless of its title, NFPA 72 is a *standard* for the installation of fire
alarm systems. This standard is a tool used by many people to ensure compliance
with building code (statutory law). A 3PV requirement within NFPA 72 is a good
thing! Endorsing one of two available methods to comply with this requirement
is not a good thing.

A recent alternative bandied about regarding the 3PV issue includes
consideration of an alternative method to provide 3PV. One method would leave it
up to the AHJ to decide how 3PV would be provided. For example, to become an
approved third party verifier the applicant would be required to meet the AHJ's
requirement for 3PV provider. It would be up to the municipality to develop the
requirements for approval as a 3PV. Here's one example:

--

To apply for approval as a third-party verifier in Humptyscrunch, Indiana,
please provide the following information in triplicate to John Q. Firemarshal
for review:

1) Describe the process by which your organization will provide third-party
verification of the installation, monitoring, re-transmission, record-keeping,
inspection-testing-maintenance, and runner service of fire alarm systems
installed in Indiana.
(i.e. Application, review, site visit, periodic audit (insert what will be
audited here), additional unannounced audits, etc.) 

2) What standard and their versions will you use to enforce compliance?
(i.e. NFPA 72, UL 1981, UL 827, UL 1981, etc.)

3) Describe your approval process. How will your organization determine the
qualifications of a fire alarm system provider?
(i.e. Audit, audit, and audit.)

4) Describe how your organization will continue to ensure that a qualified fire
alarm system provider remains qualified.
(i.e. Pseudo-random unannounced audit(s).

5) Describe how your organization will enforce compliance of your requirements.
(i.e. Written correction notice of discrepancy/infraction with threat of
approval cancellation failing correction and proof of correction within (enter
reasonable time frame here))

6) Describe your organization's qualification to provide third party
verification.
(i.e. Our organization is made up of retired fire service professionals with the
following credentials, ...)

7) Describe your organization's auditor's qualification to ensure compliance.
(i.e. Our staff of auditors are all NICET certified level III)

A written decision regarding your application will be mailed to you in 4-6 weeks.

--

And so on.

Much of this process can be fleshed out by a State Fire Marshal committee or
State Building Code committee in concert with the Automatic Fire Alarm
Association and/or other local groups of fire alarm system contractors, designers
and AHJ's. The result would be an acceptable (approved by the AHJ) alternative
to the process currently available (UL(r) or FM Global) to fulfill 3PV
requirements.

The next version of NFPA 72 is 2006 (oh-by-the-way we're in a 4-year code cycle
now). Let's take action now such that we're ready for the 3PV requirement before
they hit the newsstands, make their way into our State Law, and then we all sit
around wondering what happened?

Be proactive not reactive.

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

Place your "job opportunity" or "seeking employment" ad here.
mailto:jobs@etnews.org

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

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

------------------
April 27-29, 2004 Anaheim, CA
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
May 3-5, 2004 Phoenix, AZ
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
May 11, 2004 Buffalo, NY
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
More information is forthcoming.

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

------------------
May, 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.

------------------
June 23-25, 2004 Oakland, CA
------------------
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Intermediate Fire Alarm Seminar (NICET I/II)
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.

------------------
August 17-19, 2004 Cincinnati, OH
------------------
Fire Alarm System Fundamentals
Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Alarm Systems
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
More information is forthcoming.

------------------
August 24-26, 2004 Indianapolis, IN
------------------
Fire Alarm Plan Review Seminar
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.

Doug Hockinson http://phpvs.com built the PHP/MySQL ET News website.

----------------------------------------------------------------------
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.