NICET training pays off in Wisconsin

Having the certification helps companies qualify for jobs that increasingly are requiring it, one fire company says
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Wednesday, April 25, 2012

WAUNAKEE, Wis.—It pays in this state to have NICET training, according to Carter Rierson, president of Best Defense Security & Fire Protection, based here.

“It has opened up some opportunities for us,” said Rierson, who has attained NICET Level IV and who encourages his staff to have the training.

A growing number of municipalities in Wisconsin are now requiring NICET certification before companies can submit plans for review, Rierson said. And some job specifications now are stipulating NICET certification is required for at least the supervisor on location, he said.

With this trend, Rierson said, NICET expertise has helped Best Defense win jobs.

For example, Best Defense—a company with about a dozen employees that began in 1994 and now has branches in Milwaukee, Wis., and Rockford, Ill.—recently won a contract for a Veterans Administration job that required a high level of NICET certification.

“I was one of the few people to meet that requirement,” said Rierson, who spoke to Security Systems News during the recent ISC West show in Las Vegas.

He said Wisconsin doesn’t have a state licensing requirement for professionals in the fire alarm industry.

“Considering you need a license to be a beautician or for other non-life-safety types of jobs, to not have one available in our industry is a concern,” Rierson said.

That’s why he supports municipalities and other entities imposing requirements for NICET certification. “It’s a good idea,” Rierson said. “It ensures that the people who install the fire and life-safety products have the knowledge and code experience to do it properly. Considering it’s a life safety system, that’s important.”

A growing need for emergency communication systems is another trend Rierson said he’s seeing. And he said a new combined “all-in-one” fire alarm and emergency communications system recently introduced by Silent Knight by Honeywell is “a great step in the right direction” to address that need.

Best Defense has been a Silent Knight-Farenhyt dealer for about a decade, Rierson said.

“The day of the traditional fire alarm system is gone,” he said, because buildings such as schools need different notifications for a variety of situations that can include severe weather and an armed intruder. “We’re looking at them more as a life safety system.”