Tyco fire training group plans for international expansion

Saturday, June 1, 2002

CRANSTON, R.I.-Sprinkler installers, authorities having jurisdiction, insurance adjusters and others in the fire protection market have for months been attending free fire protection seminars at Tyco Fire Products research and development facility here, but the training is about to go global.

The training sessions, which have operated from the R&D and training facility here, have been conducted monthly since last September, featuring seminars such as water supply requirements, correct building occupancies and the selection of valves and piping arrangements, said Mark Fessenden, manager of technical training at Tyco Fire Products.

The training group now hopes to move its seminars onto the international stage as well as offer more technically advanced courses at the facility in the U.S beginning sometime next year.

"There are a lot of markets open and unfortunately a lot of the training in the international markets is lacking," Fessenden said.

Although the products featured in the labs are those of Tyco Fire Products companies, Gem Sprinkler, Star Sprinkler and Central Sprinkler, students in the sessions learn how to identify topics such as certain types of construction encountered in the sprinkler industry, the classifications of different hazards and occupancies as well as proper operation and maintenance of valves through hands-on training in one of the facility's product labs.

"The sessions are less about the specific products we manufacture, but they are concerned more with products in general," Fessenden said. "It does give us an opportunity to talk about product issues that are going on in the industry."

Three different types of sessions are designed for distinct groups in the industry: one track is designed for AHJs and installers, another is for the insurance industry and another for architects and engineers. The classes are usually held in the facility's two large classrooms in groups of up to 25 students, as well as in the product testing labs.

"A lot of people may have never even seen a sprinkler activate," Fessenden said.

Tyco Fire Products covers the costs of the sessions and meals provided during the two-day long classes. Attendees cover their own accommodations and transportation.

The training organization is also active in the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, and travels to many of that organization's 40-50 chapters worldwide to give training presentations.