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Q: Have I misinterpreted the new NFPA-25-2010 Testing and Inspection criteria for sprinkler systems? It’s my understanding that the technician performing the T&I services for water flow testing of sprinkler systems must also demonstrate certified training and experience in the "initiating devices" that accompany such testing?
A: Since the water flow switch and the tamper switch is connected to the fire alarm system, those devices are considered to be components of the fire alarm system (according to Table 14.4.5 of the 2010 NFPA 72) even though they are installed on sprinkler systems. Section 10.4.3.1 of NFPA 72-2010, requires certain qualifications for individuals testing and inspecting fire alarm systems, which includes factory training on the brand and model of systems being tested, certification from an approved training agency (i.e. NICET, IMSA), state/local licensing, or working for a company that is UL listed as a qualified fire alarm testing company. Even though many healthcare organizations will hire sprinkler contractors to test the water flow switches and the tamper switches, those technicians are typically not qualified to do so, according to NFPA 72-2010, 10.4.3.1.