Few people think about hiring fire protection contractors until it is too late. Nobody wants to experience a devastating fire. But fire sprinklers and fire protection contractors can do a lot to protect personal property and save lives. Fire protection services can play a vital role in protecting your home or business.
These protection services can install, inspect, test, and maintain fire suppression systems. And regular servicing of fire systems ensures that they will function as they should during an emergency.
But selecting the right fire sprinkler contractors is essential. You don’t want to trust the safety of those you care for or your property to just anyone. There are a few key considerations when selecting a reputable fire protection contractor. Important elements include:
Experience & Credentials
One of the best ways to ensure you have a super fire protection contractor is to research their experience. Experience can ensure that you will have an agent who knows exactly the type of fire suppression system you need. They will understand all of the elements inside and out and know how to maintain and repair them when needed.
You can look to customer reviews and their track record to determine how long a business has been operating. It is also worth checking to see if they are OSHA-compliant. Any violations may be a red flag.
You can also request information related to certifications. Looking for National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technology (NICET) credentials is standard. This certification is a nationwide indicator of competency, knowledge, and experience. Many skilled fire protection contractors are also members of industry associations, such as:
- The National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors (NAFED)
- The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
- The Fire Suppression Systems Association (FSSA)
- The American Fire Sprinkler Association (AFSA)
These associations keep their members informed on changes to equipment, practices, codes, and compliance. You can also look for someone familiar with the following National Fire Protection Association standards:
- NFPA 25: This standard guides the inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems.
- NFPA 13: This standard outlines the installation of fire sprinkler systems and services.
- NFPA 13R: NFPA 13R details the installation of sprinkler systems in low-rise residential buildings.
- NFPA 14: This standard informs the installation of standpipe and hose systems.
Understanding these standards thoroughly is crucial for providing fire suppression service or installation of fire suppression systems. Contractors with up-to-date membership to industry associations are more likely to have the skills and knowledge required.
Local Knowledge & Licensure
In addition to the national certification and standards, there may be local considerations. Some states and municipalities require licensure for fire protection contractors. Nevada for instance requires all personnel that works on or services fire equipment to be licensed through the state fire marshal and hold a current C of R card when doing so. If this is required where you are located, it’s crucial that you secure a contractor with the proper license.
You will also want to look for someone well-versed in state and city regulations. Exact requirements vary from state to state and sometimes even from city to city. They will also vary depending upon the type of structure.
Manufacturer Specific Qualifications
Fire suppression systems can require many elements, including but not limited to:
- Alarms & alarm systems
- Monitoring equipment
- Extinguishers (possibly multiple classes in one building)
- Sprinkler systems
- Emergency Lighting
- Other fire suppression or notification devices
And in the event of a fire, you will want all of these systems in working order and coordinated to deliver the best possible response. With so many elements of a fire protection system, there are multiple manufacturers for equipment.
Some equipment, such as those that require programming of software, needs manufacturer certifications. If you are considering a complex fire suppression system, request information on any required manufacturer certifications. You will want to select a contractor who can work with the manufacturer of the selected equipment.
Fires can be devastating. They can destroy buildings and take lives. Nobody wants to take cost-cutting measures when it comes to selecting a fire protection contractor. But the reality is that every business or home runs on a budget. Your company has to stay profitable to stay in business.
Reputable fire protection companies understand this. They charge a premium for their skills, experience, and knowledge. But they can generally work with their clients to find a price point that will maximize safety within a given budget.
Beware of hidden costs, too. Some companies quote one price, but then tack on charges, such as:
- Fuel charges
- Trip charges
- Charges for leaks, seals, or pins
- Charges for testing equipment ‘rentals’
- Disposal fees
- Fees to access digital inspection reports
These fees can quickly add up, so be on the lookout for any anomalies in their pricing. If a quote seems too low, it probably is. Asking questions can prevent later bills that surprise you.
Customer service should always be a primary consideration when selecting a fire sprinkler or fire protection contractor. First, you must ensure that you select a company that can deliver the full range of services you are seeking.
There are usually only a few companies that can install, inspect, and repair all types of fire protection systems. And fewer still that can do it well. But working with one company means you will have experts who are intimately familiar with your entire system. They will have the knowledge and history to understand intricacies and past problems. And they will likely maintain detailed records of all installations and repairs. This type of service is crucial in ensuring that your system works in emergencies.
Legacy Fire is a full-service fire protection contractor serving the Sparks, Reno and surrounding areas. Contact our professionals today to learn more about how we can design, install, inspect, or service your fire protection system.