You are on page 1of 23

Recruiting and Training

Recruiting and Training


Technicians for a Growing
Technicians for a Growing
Sprinkler Market
Sprinkler Market
Kenneth E. Isman, P.E. Kenneth E. Isman, P.E.
Vice President of Engineering Vice President of Engineering
National Fire Sprinkler Association National Fire Sprinkler Association
Presented at the IFSA 7 Presented at the IFSA 7
th th
International International
Fire Sprinkler Conference Fire Sprinkler Conference
Copenhagen, Denmark Copenhagen, Denmark
June 25, 2008 June 25, 2008
Ceiling Jet for Steady State Fires
Ceiling Jet for Steady State Fires
H x
Q H
t
g
H Q
T
/ ,
3
1
3
4
3
5
3
2
|
|
|
.
|

\
|
=
A

Recruiting and Training Technicians
Recruiting and Training Technicians
Terminology Terminology
History History
Present Present
Future Future
Terminology
Terminology
Technician: The person who determines the Technician: The person who determines the layout layout
and detail and detail associated with the location of associated with the location of
sprinklers and related equipment and performs sprinklers and related equipment and performs
the the hydraulic calculations hydraulic calculations to verify that the pipe to verify that the pipe
sizes will be sufficient and will work with the sizes will be sufficient and will work with the
available water supply. available water supply.
In other words, they prepare the working plans. In other words, they prepare the working plans.
Note that we do not use the term design. Note that we do not use the term design.
Terminology
Terminology
In most states in the US, the term design In most states in the US, the term design
is reserved for Professional Engineers is reserved for Professional Engineers
under Engineering Licensing Laws under Engineering Licensing Laws
Design is the use of judgment to assign Design is the use of judgment to assign
hazard classifications to occupancies and hazard classifications to occupancies and
to determine what the available water to determine what the available water
supply to a property might be. supply to a property might be.
Terminology
Terminology
Unfortunately, most sprinkler contractors Unfortunately, most sprinkler contractors
use the term designer for their use the term designer for their
technicians technicians
We prefer: We prefer:
Fire Sprinkler Technician Fire Sprinkler Technician
Fire Protection Specialist Fire Protection Specialist
History of Sprinkler Technicians
History of Sprinkler Technicians
Sprinkler industry begins in late Sprinkler industry begins in late
19 19
th th
Century Century
Controlled by manufacturers Controlled by manufacturers
Do the installation; or Do the installation; or
License installers License installers
Insurance companies approve Insurance companies approve
plans before installation plans before installation
History of Sprinkler Technicians
History of Sprinkler Technicians
Limited number of choices in the early Limited number of choices in the early
days days
Not many different kinds of sprinklers Not many different kinds of sprinklers
Not many different kinds of pipe Not many different kinds of pipe
Installation standard relatively small Installation standard relatively small
History of Sprinkler Technicians
History of Sprinkler Technicians
1975 Insurance Services Office stops 1975 Insurance Services Office stops
reviewing plans for approval reviewing plans for approval
1980 National Institute for Certification in 1980 National Institute for Certification in
Engineering Technology (NICET) begins Engineering Technology (NICET) begins
to certify Fire Protection Technicians to certify Fire Protection Technicians
Fire Sprinkler Layout and Detail Fire Sprinkler Layout and Detail
Fire Alarm System Layout and Detail Fire Alarm System Layout and Detail
Fire Suppression Systems Fire Suppression Systems
Inspection and Testing of Water-Based Inspection and Testing of Water-Based
Systems Systems
Growth of Products: 1980 - 2005
Growth of Products: 1980 - 2005
Hundreds of new types of sprinklers now Hundreds of new types of sprinklers now
on the market on the market
Many different types of pipe materials to Many different types of pipe materials to
chose from chose from
Three different sprinkler standards Three different sprinkler standards
(NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13D) (NFPA 13, NFPA 13R, NFPA 13D)
NFPA 13 is over 350 pages long NFPA 13 is over 350 pages long
Growth of United States Sprinkler
Growth of United States Sprinkler
Market: 1980 - 2005
Market: 1980 - 2005
Sprinklers Installed vs. Technicians
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
45
1980 1985 1990 1995 2000 2005
Millions of Sprinklers
Thousands of
Technicians
Where are we now?
Where are we now?
Certified NICET Fire Sprinkler Layout Certified NICET Fire Sprinkler Layout
Technicians: 5002 Technicians: 5002
Estimated total number of technicians: Estimated total number of technicians:
10,000 10,000
Where do we find technicians now?
Where do we find technicians now?
Fire Protection Schools Fire Protection Schools
Oklahoma State, Delaware Tech, Seneca Col. Oklahoma State, Delaware Tech, Seneca Col.
Still need some training when they get out Still need some training when they get out
General technical schools General technical schools
All over country All over country
Need a great deal of training when they get out Need a great deal of training when they get out
High School (need even more training) High School (need even more training)
Former fitters (need least amount of Former fitters (need least amount of
training, but still need some) training, but still need some)
Where can Technicians
Where can Technicians
get training now?
get training now?
NFSA NFSA
Two-week technician training seminar Two-week technician training seminar
Two-year Certificate Program Two-year Certificate Program
Phase 1 Two-week class Phase 1 Two-week class
Phase 2 Internet study modules Phase 2 Internet study modules
Phase 3 On the job training with mentor Phase 3 On the job training with mentor
Phase 4 Internet study modules Phase 4 Internet study modules
Phase 5 On the job training with mentor Phase 5 On the job training with mentor
Phase 6 Three-day classroom and final exam Phase 6 Three-day classroom and final exam
Various classes ranging from 90 min. to 3-days Various classes ranging from 90 min. to 3-days
Where can Technicians
Where can Technicians
get training now?
get training now?
NFSA NFSA
On-line courses On-line courses
Self-study textbook Self-study textbook
700 pages 700 pages
Basic material on layout Basic material on layout
and calculations and calculations
Other textbooks in Other textbooks in
planning stages planning stages
Beyond the Basics Beyond the Basics
Advanced Advanced
What is the current age
What is the current age
demographic
demographic
of the Technician?
of the Technician?
Age of Technicians from 2006 Survey
0
5
10
15
20
25
30
35
40
0 to 20 20 to 29 30 to 39 40 to 49 50 to 59 60 to 65 Over 65
P
e
r
c
e
n
t

o
f

T
e
c
h
n
i
c
i
a
n
s

i
n

A
g
e

R
a
n
g
e
Need for Future Technicians
Need for Future Technicians
If the information from the 2006 survey is a If the information from the 2006 survey is a
representative sample, 2500 Technicians representative sample, 2500 Technicians
will reach retirement age in the next 10 will reach retirement age in the next 10
years years
At the same time, the sprinkler industry is At the same time, the sprinkler industry is
expected to grow to 70 million sprinklers in expected to grow to 70 million sprinklers in
the U.S. by 2018 the U.S. by 2018
Need for Future Technicians
Need for Future Technicians
To replace retiring Technicians: To replace retiring Technicians: 2500 2500
To handle additional growth: To handle additional growth: 5000 5000
Total new technicians in 10 years: Total new technicians in 10 years: 7500 7500
Not sure that we can meet this demand with Not sure that we can meet this demand with
traditional methods of recruitment and traditional methods of recruitment and
training training
Potential Idea for Training
Potential Idea for Training
Technicians
Technicians
Set up programs with community colleges Set up programs with community colleges
4 semester program 4 semester program
English, math, CAD, plus fire protection English, math, CAD, plus fire protection
classes classes
Partnership with local sprinkler contractors for Partnership with local sprinkler contractors for
on-the-job training on-the-job training
Job placement after graduation Job placement after graduation
Potential Problems with Community
Potential Problems with Community
College Solution
College Solution
7500 technicians in 10 years 7500 technicians in 10 years
15 technicians per year per state 15 technicians per year per state
Most people that attend community Most people that attend community
college will only travel 50 or 60 miles to college will only travel 50 or 60 miles to
look for a job after graduation look for a job after graduation
No single program will be able to sustain No single program will be able to sustain
itself itself
Recruiting Technicians
Recruiting Technicians
Need to make people aware of the fire Need to make people aware of the fire
sprinkler industry as a career sprinkler industry as a career
High school students High school students
College students taking general CAD and College students taking general CAD and
construction/architecture/engineering construction/architecture/engineering
programs programs
Guidance counselors Guidance counselors
Parents Parents
Recruiting Technicians
Recruiting Technicians
Viral Video Viral Video
Sprinklers putting out fire Sprinklers putting out fire
Quick basic information on industry Quick basic information on industry
Direct people to a website Direct people to a website
Website Website
Descriptions of jobs in industry Descriptions of jobs in industry
More video More video
Direct people to contractors in their area Direct people to contractors in their area