The life safety industry is a mystery to many people who have either never heard of it, or don’t really understand what it is. From managing and maintaining to ensuring a building is up to code and has the right systems, a life safety technician is one of the hardest jobs out there, yet one of the most rewarding.
You are literally saving lives! Amazing! It’s no wonder that many people stay in the life safety industry for life.
So what is life safety? Life safety is a combination of several systems, including fire alarms, fire sprinklers, standpipe systems, fire pumps, generators, emergency voice evacuation, two-way emergency communications systems, area of refuge, and elevator recall. These systems can become very complicated and may interact with other types of systems, including access control, ventilating, emergency lighting, exit marking, or alarm notification systems. But, in the event of an emergency, the quickest way to protect a life is to have working life safety systems, response from first responders, and the peace of mind that your life safety systems are maintained, managed, and up to code by a trusted life safety company and technician.
What does a career in life safety in life safety look like? Well, there are several paths you can take. Given the amount of different life safety systems and industries the industry protects, the jobs are almost limitless. A few of the roles in life safety industry include:
Fire sprinkler technician
Fire alarm & suppression technician
Route sales & service technician
These are not all the roles within the industry. These specific roles are some of the most important and sought-after roles. Let’s take a closer look at what each role entails, some of their daily functions, and requirements.
Fire Sprinkler Technician
A fire sprinkler technician will successfully perform inspections and testing of fire sprinkler systems and related components for compliance with applicable life and fire safety standards and codes. These codes and standards can be required from manufacturers, federal, state, or local ordinances, customer requirements, or requirements from the company.
Some of the daily duties this position may entail include testing backflow prevention devices as required by NFPA and state and local codes, documenting and recording all work done, troubleshooting and performing service repairs to the fire sprinkler system and its related components.
While no certifications are required to be hired, it is frequently desired that a fire sprinkler technician may hold state license or NICET certifications in the state he or she is applying in. Prior experience and training also are not required for this role.
Fire Alarm & Suppression Technician
Just as the fire sprinkler technician, a fire alarm & suppression technician will handle all inspections, installation, testing, and repairs of fire alarm systems and engineered and pre-engineered suppression systems. They will ensure these systems are in compliance with fire and life safety standards and codes mandated by manufacturers, federal, state and local ordinances, customer requirements, and the expectations and requirements of the company.
Some of the daily duties and responsibilities of this position include troubleshooting and necessary repairs, performing programing, testing, final inspections, and customer training for installation, recording all information and work, and keeping the customers updated with frequent communication.
If you’re wanting to become a fire alarm & suppression technician, it’s important to have experience with electrical wiring and circuitry. A state license or NICET certifications are not required, but for many companies, it’s desired that a candidate possesses these.
Route Sales & Service Technician
Unlike our two previous roles above, a route sales & service technician isn’t self-explanatory. This role encompasses more than one or two life safety systems. A route sales & service technician performs inspections, service, and repairs fire extinguishers, exit and emergency lights, and even kitchen hood suppression systems. They keep track of maintenance schedules and ensure all inspections and testing are done according to standards and codes set forth by manufacturers, federal, state, and local jurisdictions, and customer requirements.
Their duties and responsibilities can include:
Recharging fire extinguishers
Battery and bulb replacement
Troubleshooting fire extinguishers, exit and emergency lights, and kitchen hood suppression systems
Recording and maintaining all documentation
Evaluating a customer’s site for additional life safety equipment and services that the customer may require
Becoming a route sales & service technician is simple. There are no set requirements but having experience with electrical wiring and circuitry is desirable, as well as a state license or NICET certifications. If someone is coming into this position with no experience or certifications, it is possible to gain these once established in the role.
While the three previous jobs are entail going out in the field, this in-house role is particularly critical. The shop technician services fire extinguishers, pre-engineered and engineered system cylinders, and other compressed gas cylinders in order for them to be compliant with all jurisdiction and industry required codes and standards.
A shop technician has several key responsibilities, including:
Look after and maintain inventory in their company’s warehouse
Perform inventory counts
Ensure DOT compliance for all hydro systems
Manage testing records and verify accuracy for DOT inspections
Maintaining extinguishers and system cylinders
Manage and maintain all specialty tools
Like a few of the other positions listed above, this role does not require any experience or certifications. This is an entry level role at most companies and is perfect for someone pursuing a career in the life safety industry but does not exactly know what they want to do.
A career in the life safety industry can be extremely rewarding. If you’re looking for meaningful work that impacts lives, consider this industry. Most positions do not require experience and most companies want to train candidates who are eager to learn and be hands-on. At CertaSite, we even have the CertaSite Academy where life safety technicians can receive more education to develop their skillset and continue their career growth.
We all know fire and life emergencies don’t sleep. Neither does the industry. If you’re looking for a career that makes a real impact, like literally saving lives, give the life safety industry a shot. You can view open positions at CertaSite here.