Fire association moves HQ, prepares for additional staff

Saturday, February 1, 2003

CHICAGO - A national trade association here that represents fire equipment distributors has moved to larger office space to make room for some additional staffing needed to roll out a new certification program and added technical training to offer to its membership.

The National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors in January completed its move, and is now preparing for the addition of another technical staff member in the next few months to help the association develop a national certification program that would encompass two different areas, service technicians for portable fire equipment as well for a pre-engineered systems technician.

“This was something that we had talked about in the past, but had never followed through on it,” said Danny Harris, executive director – operations for NAFED. “Out of our strategic planning session in September, one of our goals was to provide more training and certification options to our members.”

Although the certification efforts are currently still in the planning stages, according to Laura Gerard, communications and marketing manager for NAFED and editor of the group’s publication Firewatch, the group is planning to add another technical staff member to aid in development of the certification program. NAFED’s executive director-technical, Norm Makowka, now heads that initiative.

The group is currently developing a test that states will be able to use to grant business licenses; local municipalities will likely maintain the jurisdiction, Makowka said.

“There is no national certification in either portable equipment or pre-engineered systems,” Makowka said. “I do think it adds lot to the professionalism of the industry.”

NAFED, with more than 1,000 distributor, supplier and affiliate members, holds three sectional conferences a year, one on either coast and one in the Midwest.