Fire Alarm Technician Training Program


PROGRAM DESCRIPTION

During the early 1980's the Canadian Fire Alarm Association established the Fire Alarm Technician Program, leading to personal registration as a fire alarm technician.  It was created to provide training in the specialized area of fire alarm systems, thereby increasing the knowledge level of persons directly or indirectly involved in the fire alarm industry.

This educational program has been approved by various Authorities Having Jurisdiction nationwide and is now widely recognized within the industry.

This describes; the program intent, program structure, individual course content, qualifications for exemptions and CFAA Technician registration information.


PROGRAM INTENT


Individuals performing fire alarm system inspections, testing, verifications or maintenance must be qualified and accountable for the quality of their work. It follows that there is a need for these individuals to have a minimum level of formal training and verified skills and knowledge in this specific area. The CFAA has created an approved Registered CFAA Trainee Technician program that is comprised of five (5) theory-based courses. To become a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician necessary skills and hands-on training must also be obtained in the workplace.

It is recommended that Trainees complete a minimum of 1500 hours of work experience to ensure that the CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee has acquired the knowledge and skills to successfully complete the Registration
Exams. The CFAA has developed a CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Log Book that provides a detailed reference for the kinds of training one should be trying to obtain to acquire the knowledge and skills required to successfully complete the Registration Exams. The CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Log Book is NOT mandatory unless the Trainee is unsuccessful in completing the Registration Practical Exam on their second attempt. Some colleges provide fire alarm laboratory courses that are also recommended to those wishing to become Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technicians. The work experience or lab training required by each individual will vary. Each individual must be well versed in all items contained within the CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Logbook before proceeding. Once enough work experience or training has been obtained, the Trainee can then make arrangements to successfully complete the Registration Theory and then the Registration Practical Exam.

The combination of theory-based knowledge and workplace experience will together serve to increase the level of competence of fire alarm technicians within the industry.

Once an individual has completed the 5 courses in the CFAA Required Theory-Based Education they can become a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician Trainee and then able to take both the CFAA Registration Theory Exam and Practical Exam to become a Registered Fire Alarm Technician. Each technician is issued a new photo ID with a unique registration number and the province of application. Technicians can also apply for Registration in other provinces with an additional fee for each province of registration.


PROGRAM STRUCTURE


The CFAA Fire Alarm Technician Program is comprised of five theory-based courses:

Course 1 - An Introduction to the Fire Detection and Alarm Industry
Course 2 - Verbal and Written Communications
Course 3 - Basic Electricity
Course 4 - Life Safety Systems Electronics (LSSE) - replaces Basic Electronics
Course 5 - Fire Alarm Systems

The above courses are available through many community colleges across Canada.

Course 1, Course 3 and Course 5 are also available via correspondence course from the CFAA.

The Association recommends that the courses be completed in the order shown.

In addition the following should be noted:

  • The first four courses are pre-requisite subjects to Course 5 and therefore a student should not enroll into Course 5 without having completed the first four courses.
  • The minimum passing grade for all CFAA courses is 60%.
The work experience or lab training required by each individual will vary. Each individual must be well versed in all items contained within the CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Logbook before proceeding. Once enough work experience or training has been obtained, the Trainee can then make arrangements to successfully complete the Registration Theory and then the Registration Practical Exam to become a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician.

COURSE CONTENT


Course 1 - An Introduction to the Fire Detection and Alarm Industry

This course provides a general understanding of fire alarm protection systems. It discusses the purpose and specific application of the different codes and standards that regulate the industry. It introduces the student to architectural considerations regarding fire containment. Information about testing laboratories, their procedures, testing methods and how listed/approved materials achieve greater degrees of life safety will be covered. Other topics include; the nature of fire, extinguishment methods, fire alarm testing methods, interpretation of drawings, specifications and other contract documents.

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Course 2 - Verbal and Written Communications

This course introduces the student to various forms of written business communication including letter, memoranda, summaries and instructions. It teaches practical techniques for planning and writing reports in an effective, professional manner. Editing, spelling, grammar and punctuation are incorporated into the course. By performing in-class assignments the student will learn to present oral reports professionally and to write effectively.

Order Course 2 Now----currently only available online through www.ontariolearn.com  
 

Course 3 - Basic Electricity

This course begins with Basic Electrical theory - Ohm's law, Kirchoff's law, magnetism, energy generation and the dangers of higher A/C voltages. The course then focuses on providing a greater understanding of the Canadian Electrical Code with reference to the following areas:

  • conductors: sizing, insulation types, voltage ratings and other conductor characteristics,
  • how to access the tables regarding conductors and cables i.e. Table 11, 19 and D1
  • grounding of conduit systems and enclosers - Section 10,
  • wiring methods, conduit and cable installation,
  • protection and control of electrical circuits - overcurrent protection (fuses & breakers),
  • disconnecting means, class 1 & 2 circuits - Section 14, and
  • all requirements pertaining to fire alarm systems - Section 32 & 60.
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Course 4 - Life Safety Systems Electronics (Replaces previous Basic Electronics)

Study the principles of electronics as they apply to life safety systems, including fire alarms and building automation systems. Examine both analogue and digital systems and their applications. This is a valuable course for all those who work in (or are planning to enter) industries related to the built environment.
This course is an online self-study course, and registration is offered through continuous intake meaning you may register in it at any time (24 hours a day, 7 days a week). Register in the section (CRN) with the date range that includes the date on which you want to start the course. Keep in mind that your materials will take approximately a week to arrive once you register (as they are sent by courier). You have 120 calendar days from the day you receive the course materials to complete the course. Instructor support via email will be available.

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Course 5 - Fire Alarm Systems

Applications of fire alarm systems, operation, testing and inspection requirements outlined by the various Codes and Standards are covered at a more detailed level. Also covered are principles and technology of fire detection devices, signal appliances, control equipment and ancillary devices controlled by the system. The student will learn traditional field wiring circuits, the connection of field devices, the basics of microprocessor based systems using addressable devices and remote annunciation.   Other life safety support systems such as smoke control and elevator recall will also be discussed.

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Register as a CFAA Trainee and Complete the recommended Field Experience or Lab training

Register online or complete the Technician Registration Form to become a Trainee Technician. Completion of all five (5) CFAA required Theory-based courses (or exemptions) is required to become a Trainee. You will need to submit the registration form (or complete online), proof that all courses have been completed (or exemptions), a picture (jpg format) to techadmin@cfaa.ca and the annual registration fee.
 
It is recommended that Trainees complete a minimum of 1500 hours of work experience to ensure that the CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee has acquired the knowledge and skills to successfully complete the Registration
Exams. The CFAA has developed a CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Log Book that provides a detailed reference for the kinds of training one should be trying to obtain to acquire the knowledge and skills required to successfully complete the Registration Exams. The CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Log Book is NOT mandatory unless the Trainee is unsuccessful in completing the Registration Practical Exam on their second attempt. Some colleges provide fire alarm laboratory courses that are also recommended to those wishing to become Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technicians. The work experience or lab training required by each individual will vary. Each individual must be well versed in all items contained within the CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Logbook before proceeding. Once enough work experience or training has been obtained, the Trainee can then make arrangements to successfully complete the Registration Theory and then the Registration Practical Exam.
 

Complete the CFAA Registration Theory Exam

The CFAA Registration Theory examination is a standardized knowledge assessment of an individual’s understanding of the requirements to properly inspect, test and verify a fire alarm system as per Canadian Codes and Standards. This exam will only be administered and proctored by the CFAA and will only be administered in hard copy written or online formats. The exam will be three (3) hours in length, comprised of true/false and multiple choice type questions. Successful completion will require a passing grade of 80% or better. Calculators, codes, standards and CFAA manuals will be permitted to be used in the examination.
Online proctored examinations will be hosted by B-Virtual. Only Trainees will be able to purchase and register to take the Registration Theory Exam. Questions about the Registration Theory Exam can be sent to theoryexam@cfaa.ca.
Preparation for the Theory exam can done by reviewing the study course handbook and materials (codes and standards) for Courses 1-5. Some questions will also test on field or lab experience. You will not be able to review the exam results after the exam is marked. Only the final numerical results of the exam will be provided. Should you not pass, you will be required to register and pay for another exam.
 
Complete the CFAA Registration Practical Exam

The CFAA Registration Practical exam will only be invigilated by CFAA approved Instructors. The two (2) hour, in person, exam will be based on the past “Skills and Knowledge Checklist” as well as the CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Logbook and will feature a number of scenarios that can be completed in a number of ways. The Trainee will be tested on an active fire alarm system designed and programmed to test all candidates equally. All tools and materials will be supplied by the CFAA Invigilator. Successful completion will require a passing grade of 80% or better. Registration Practical Exams will be scheduled to be held across the country but special requests can be sent to practicalexam@cfaa.ca  Registration for both exams will be advertised and available for registration online (viewable to Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician Trainees ONLY).  www.cfaa.ca/Courses/courses.aspx

Completing practical work experience and documenting this in the Trainee logbook is the best way to prepare for the Practical exam. If your first attempt at the Registration Practical Exam is unsuccessful you must wait a minimum of one (1) month to retake the Registration Practical Exam. If you are unsuccessful after your second attempt you will be required to submit a completed CFAA Fire Alarm Trainee Log Book at the end of a minimum of one (1) year waiting period to retake the Registration Practical Exam.
 

 Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician - Status

Once you have completed the 5 courses in the CFAA Required Theory-Based Education, become a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician Trainee and passed both the CFAA Registration Theory Exam and Practical Exam, you will be a Registered Fire Alarm Technician. You will be issued a new photo ID with your registration number unique to you and the province of application. If you wish you can also apply for Registration in other provinces with an additional fee for each province of registration.
 
Maintaining Registration as a Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician

One of the most important changes to the registration process is the requirement for continuing education. This has always been a necessary component in the professional development of any CFAA Fire Alarm Technician in order to keep up with changes in the industry, whether they be technical, jurisdictional or pertaining to updated codes and standards. Beginning for those CFAA Fire Alarm Technician renewing in 2017, you will be required to submit proof for approval that you have successfully completed eight (8) Continuing Education Credits within at least the past year. The CFAA Trainee Logbook, which is available online at the CFAA website: www.cfaa.ca/logbook.aspx , is a very useful tool in outlining the specific types of education that will be accepted for Continuing Education Credits, and what would be considered as industry related training. Each continuing education credit relates to approximately one hour of classroom, lecture or training time related to the industry.

Note that of the 8 required credits, only 2 would have to be achieved directly through CFAA. The remainder can be obtained in a number of ways, including CFAA delivered seminars, educational institutions, and industry providers or even within your own company. There is a great deal of flexibility and latitude for meeting these new requirements. Each Registered CFAA Fire Alarm Technician should begin tracking their continuing education training and education on the form found at www.cfaa.ca/cececreditform.aspx . Note: Preference for credit allotment will be given to those methods that provide proof of attendance, instructor information, session information and successful completion of a proficiency quiz or exam.
 
Only eight (8) Continuing Education Credits are required for ALL those renewing in 2017 no matter if you had registered for one or two years in the past.
 
Please note that if you renew your registration for two (2) years in 2016, or in the future, you will be required to submit proof for approval that you have successfully completed eight (8) Continuing Education Credits within each of the two years of your past registration period for a total of sixteen (16) Credits to renew your registration.

The CFAA and approved third party providers have now made available online training based courses that will cover a wide range topics and will help to meet the minimum requirement for 2 credits from CFAA training or all 8 credits. These courses are available for a minimal fee per course and are able to be done easily with nothing more than a computer with internet access.   Courses for credits can be completed at any time as the technician’s schedule allows. Other opportunities and venues for CFAA training will also be made available and will be posted on the CFAA website as details come available.
 
Continuing Education Credits (General Requirements)
o   Eight  (8)  Continuing  Education  (CE)   Credits are required annually prior to any technician’s registration renewal starting January 1, 2017. 

o   A minimum of two (2) CE Credits must come from Category 1 (CE Credit Submittal form) and up to all eight required credits may come from this category. This is training taken directly from the CFAA with an examination.

o   The remaining six (6) CE Credits may come from either the CFAA or other training means, or both

o   A maximum of four (4) CE Credits may be acquired annually in any one category other than Category 1

o   Pre-approval of other training or material by the CFAA is not required but submission of documentation after completion of any other training to the CFAA for approval as credit is.  It must meet the CFAA criteria approval for both content and relevancy.

o   The Technician Training Log Book Sections “A” through “E” items are the basis of any non-CFAA training for consideration for approval towards CE Credits and the specific item the training received corresponds with must be noted on the submission form.

o   Full details regarding submission requirements and credit allotments can be found in the CFAA CE Course Submission Package available online.

o   Submission packages complete with supporting documentation must be emailed to ce@cfaa.ca at the time the request for registration renewal is made.