SBC, NICET Release In-Building Public-Safety Communications Certification Program
Tuesday, July 20, 2021 | Comments

The Safer Buildings Coalition (SBC) and the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET), a personnel certification authority for various technical fields, collaborated on a new in-building public-safety communications (IB-PSC) certification program, which is now available.

IB-PSC Technician Level I is the first of the three progressive technician levels, which along with the single level IB-PSC Design track will establish minimum qualifications for engineering technicians engaged in the detailing and layout, installation and maintenance, and/or designing of in-building public-safety communication systems. Technician Levels II and III are expected to become available later in 2021, while the design track will debut in the coming weeks. Emergency Responder Communications Enhancement Systems (ERCES) are critical to providing coverage inside buildings, and due to their connection with the broader network must be implemented properly to eliminate interference, the organizations said.

While NICET developed the certification program, SBC, in parallel but independently, is creating an IB-PSC handbook and study guide. The handbook will be available for purchase late summer this year. SBC is collaborating with the National Association of State Fire Marshals (NASFM) to create and roll out the handbook.

“We are so pleased to be able to partner with NICET in developing this essential credentialing program that finally establishes true qualifications for personnel involved in the design and installation of emergency responder communication enhancement systems (ERCES),” said Chief Alan Perdue, SBC’s executive director. “AHJs, public-safety radio system operators, building owners, and the industry as a whole have long sought evidence of competency that goes beyond the FCC General Radiotelephone Operators License (GROL).”

The collaboration between NICET and SBC is expected to establish the value and credibility of proper training and certification with the goal of increasing competency across all industry stakeholders. Hundreds of practitioners and industry leaders have participated in the initial study, job task analysis, question writing/review process, establishment of passing scores, and determination of experience and performance-level requirements. The technical areas covered include knowledge of RF theory, equipment mounting requirements, delivered audio quality (DAQ) scale, business software and mathematics, communications using project specifications and documents, site survey data and design tools, and interpretation and evaluation of surveys.

“Launching this new program is due to the efforts of dedicated industry practitioners, subject matter experts, SBC, other stakeholders and NICET staff,” said NICET Senior Director Chip Hollis, “It is their effort and flexibility during these challenging times that made it happen. I am honored that NICET can be part of the solution to ensure communications coverage for emergency responders.”

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