Safer Buildings Coalition Chief Calls on Members to Self Assess Compliance

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Chief Alan Perdue, Executive Director of the Safer Buildings Coalition (SBC) swears his group is not coming out with an SBC credit card, but says they are working with member companies using a popular commercial slogan that asks them what they have in their own pockets. They want their members doing a self-assessment and complying with the requirements of the codes and standards related to public safety in-building emergency communications enhancement systems.

“Both the International Fire Code (IFC) and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standard 1221 have specific requirements for the qualifications of personnel performing the design, installation and maintenance of public safety in-building emergency communications enhancement systems.” Perdue said. 

The current requirements, according to “The Chief,” as he is called, are essentially: 1) A valid FCC-issued general radio operator’s license, and 2) Certification of an in-building system issued by a recognized organization, school or a certification issued by the manufacturer of the equipment being installed. While these are requirements, some have very little to do with public safety in-building emergency communications solutions. They do little in assuring the authority, having jurisdiction that an individual actually knows what they are doing, he said.

“This is one of the key reasons why the SBC is currently working with the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologist (NICET) to develop certification programs for our industry as it relates to public safety in-building emergency communication enhancement systems,” he said. 

Since the Institute was founded in 1961, more than 148,000 technicians and technologists have met NICET’s rigorous certification criteria. Many of these are in the field of fire and life safety such as fire sprinkler systems, fire alarm systems, and special hazard systems. The current certifications offered by NICET are recognized by many in the fire service AHJ community, Perdue said, as a demonstration of adequate skills and experience satisfactory to perform work in their communities.

Additionally, certification has value for building owners. In another building trade, they identified that hiring a firm that assigns certified professionals to a project confers the following benefits:

  • Increased confidence in critical job knowledge, skills and abilities
  • Compliance with applicable local, state and federal requirements
  • Confidence in corporate commitment to the professional development of its employees and to providing the best possible resources for projects
  • Disciplinary process to follow in case of complaints

The Safer Buildings Coalition is an independent, not for profit organization providing thought leadership and education focused on advancing policies, ideas, and technologies that ensure effective in-building communications capabilities for public safety personnel and the people they serve.

SBC Resources include:

  • Quick Code Reference Pathway Survivability for Coaxial Cable Required, Lightning Protection Required, Signal Strength & Area Coverage Required, etc. by NFPA 2013, NFPA 2016, NFPA 2019
  • Public Safety Primer
  • Code Bulletins: (sample) CLARK COUNTY, NV: MANDATED PUBLIC SAFETY RADIO COVERAGE Clark County, NV recently sent a letter to “selected Resort High-Rise hotels” in Clark County (Las Vegas Area) requiring they perform public safety radio coverage testing and provide a written report to the Fire Chief’s office no later than January 1, 2019

August 23, 2019

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