These are things I have to remind myself when in a work place. They help me remember myself and my standing and they keep me centered my career goals and my self respect. The stuff on this page may not be correct for you at all in any way, but for me this is what keeps me moving and not being pigeon holed into a position I do not want to hold in a job.
My personal reminders:
Your manager in your workplace is an organizer, not a leader, not a boss.
The manager is a scheduler who gets minimal bookkeeping duties to fill their time.
The manager is the boss’s tattle tale. You do things that are against company policy, the manager’s duty is to tell on you. You can not be upset with the manager for doing this. It is one of their expected tasks and duties.
The manager of the place you work at has zero authority over you and your beliefs, as long as you are doing what needs to be done.
When a manager has to tell you they are your boss, inform them “The boss is the one that signs my checks and the one you have to go to, to get permission to fire me or give me a raise, when was the last time you gave me a raise again?”.
The manager is the most dependable person who is the least fit for the rest of the jobs. Basically they show up everyday and have some knowledge of the services provided but is too big of train wreck (or slow worker too) to be of any use elsewhere. Or that person would be used to perform the services.
The assistant manager is the person doing all of the work that the manager should do. basically the managers lackey who walks around telling the manager how cool he/she is. Has zero authority.
After 8 years in the fire alarm design field, I decided I will go ahead and post a “how to” for the people just starting out in fire alarm design. I hope you understand that what I am posting below is not trying to suggest or imply that every jurisdiction goes by the same standards. Some have higher standards than others so some of what is posted below, may not be acceptable in their jurisdiction.
The specific details and codes of fire alarm design can vary by Jurisdiction. While the initial design is the same by default. The phrase you need to always remember when designing a fire alarm system is “can the initiating devices detect problems and can all notification be heard and seen?”.
Remember; if you don’t know. Then call the AHJ (authority having jurisdiction)
Be sure and watch the video below to see in action what I am talking about here. Sorry I don’t talk in the video. so.. may as well turn on the radio.
Proper visual coverage
Visual notification devices typically have adjustable candela settings so that you can buy a bulk of one device and place them throughout a building or unit, and change the candela setting to match your needs. Some special needs devices are required for certain areas though.
In picture C the hallway length is 26 feet, and the coverage of a 30 candela is 15 feet in either direction, the 30 candela selection was the optimal choice. The tool (square with the X in it) you see measuring the array is something I made a few years back and turned into a block and call it up on many drawings. I have one for all typical candela settings , 15cd, 30cd, 75cd, and 110cd. I also have another that has all 4 in it so I don’t have to keep switching between them all when I am looking for a proper fit. I suggest that if you make one, add it to your template. If you don’t have a fire alarm template I have a couple for sale. Just click anywhere on this page that says “fire alarm template ” .
When you make your block, be sure and make it as useful as you can by adding as much information as you typically need, into the block to use later. because you will use it all every time if you use it one time. I’ve added candela selection and voltage to my notifications. Saves so much time. and I don’t have to remember so much while I work.
Audio and visual notification for the hallways and corridors and visual notification for the rooms connected to the hallway.
Two doors deep and every other.
This is an audio notification coverage trick. Which suggests that you do not let the audio coverage exceed one door with in a unit/building. Meaning if the main corridor of a building has horn strobes or speakers in it and you are working on a unit that has a main entree with doors that lead into hallways with multiple rooms/offices, (picture A For this one we will use horn strobes) Note the location of the audio notification in the corridor and consider if the nearest horn strobe is within audible range of the main entree area. In the case of the picture below (picture A) we will say that the horn strobe can be heard in the Reception area of the suite/area of work. In this case a strobe for visual notification would be the first object placed in the reception area.
However, since the unit we are working on may be getting built out at a later time than the original installation we will design this independently from the rest of the building. Making the main entree area the starting point of our notification coverage (see picture B). Since the reception area in theory would hold multiple people in it and it’s ambient decibel could be quite high, we will make this the first point of audio notification. We will add a horn strobe to this room.Now we exit that room into the unit’s hallway and the first device will typically be a visual notification device so we will place a strobe in this area. It would be good practice to make the next notification device from the first strobe a horn strobe to maintain audibility throughout the unit. Do your best to maintain that pattern. When you come to a point where you you have to question audibility (due to turns in hallways or rooms within rooms), Go ahead and increase audibility by adding another horn strobe even if it breaks your pattern. As depicted in picture B , there isn’t an immediate horn strobe in the hallway from the conference room, and there will in theory be more than one person in that room when occupied, proper audible notification would be to add a horn strobe in that area.
Smoke detectors have an area of coverage of about about 15 feet to the left, 15 feet to the right. Again I advise you make a block for this measurement also. and save it to your fire alarm template for later use. 30×30.
In most jurisdictions, smoke detectors might not be required in every room of a commercial building if the building has a full fire sprinkler system installed.
This means smoke detectors likely are required through the hallways and corridors, but not necessary in offices and lobby. No sense in “Over Smoking” a building.
It is best to call your AHJ and find out their requirements.
Pull stations at every exit and every stair well, within 5 feet of the door, unless not required by AHJ.
Battery Calculations and Voltage Drops
Important part of your design. Tells if you have designed with the optimal amount of booster panels to correctly power your notification devices, and if the battery will last long enough to withstand the required time of holding charge in the event of power failure. Most of your vendors have excel spreadsheets that help you do this work. I have my own. Mine makes it faster and easier for me. I guess since I made them myself. I recommend you make yours too and base them on exact details of requirements.
Sad to say…all of the websites and articles you see or have seen or read, and all of the “work hard and earn your keep” content that tells you that working hard pays off, is extremely untrue. From retail jobs to trade skill careers, all managers are where they are because of a friend or a family member.
By today’s standards and the loopholes of society, 98% of management are in position because they have a higher up in the company.
These people are the least eligible employees and the most useless to the company; but, they possibly show up on time may never miss days.
No one earns management. Why would they take their hardest working employee and pull them out of their current position?
If you are a manager and you think differently, then you are selectively ignoring the fact that the area manager is the one who gave you that spot and you have or had a friendship or relationship with that manager.
Things to remember when you are a manager
You are not a boss. You are an organizer and the employees depend on you to have things organized.
You are not a leader. You are the person who makes the schedule, there is nothing you are leading here. NOTHING.
If people refuse to follow your schedule, you take it to your superior.
So the truth is: You will not become a manager; you will not get a raise from earning your keep. You will get your raise and/or promotion to management position by who you know.
With that said, if you are not a manager, then you are not friendly with the person who makes people managers, and you need to be.
Sometimes people make some wild requests and get mad at you when you try and be rational with them.
customer: Yeah I want a computer that is a computer but not a computer but not a tablet because I don’t like them and I have enough laptops.
Me: I believe I am capable of providing you with what you require can you give a bit more detail?
customer: Sure. I want a computer that is there but you don’t see it and it able to do everything I need.
Me: Sure we can hide your computer like in a closet or something. What types of duties will this computer do that you need done?
Me: that sounds like you are very busy. Let me pass this on to our builders and I will get back to you with a quote.
Never call them back.
customer: I want my email to synch with everything.
Me: Everything? like what?
customer: Everything. and I want everything on my website to synch with my cell phone
Me: well that would be quite stressful on your battery
customer: So you are saying you can’t do it?
Me: no not saying that at all. Can you give me a list of things on your website you want to synch with your phone? I can start an RSS feed for you right away
customer: you know, the office alarm, excell,photoshop. Things of that nature
Me: you have photoshop on your website? That is quite impressive. How big is your phone???
customer: I want Microsoft exchange type service but not Microsoft exchange because it is too costly
Me: well there are plenty of open source solutions that should be less costly. What features in particular are you looking for?
customer: All of them. I want my calendar to sync with my phone email and my contacts to sync with my phone contacts
Me: well you don’t want your phone and email contacts to sync because that would be a lot of names to weed through
customer: oh so you’re saying you can’t do it? XXX company could do it.
me: well that’s not what I said sure I’ll get started right away. several days later
customer: Hey why are there so many contacts in my phone now?
Me: I’ve had to disable your email from the server end while I scan your computer and the server to find out why you keep sending out so many email
customer: That’s fine, I will just send emails from my phone
Me: Well no, your account is disabled.
customer: I never gave you access to my phone, so I can still use it right? There shouldn’t be a virus on it, it’s an iPhone and I only surf using Chrome.
Me: Well that sounds safe enough…..
Every issue ever
customer: This never happens, I’m careful.
(over the phone)
Customer: Hey I.T. IT!!! HEY IT!! What did you change my password to?
Me: PassWord1 P is capitalized W is capitalized.
Customer: ok hang on the phone while I check
Me: That’s your password. it has no choice but to work
Me: no….. Hang on… I’m on my way…..
Sometimes an employee is just a bad employee or bad person. Often the person leaving a company truly feels as if they are being abused and mistreated or the working conditions and pay are not up to their standards.
For this article let’s just imagine a bunch of good employees leaving the company for reasons that have nothing to do with them other than them saying “I’ve had it, I’m out, forget this I quit”.
You might want to consider this if you have tried all other reasons and they don’t ever resolve the issue of people quitting and you constantly having to fill their spot.
10. Bad apple. You could have a bad apple in the bunch tainting the group with negativity that is unnecessary. Usually this guy has been around for a good while and is completely a different person around the upper staff.
9. Poor equipment. vehicles that break down a lot. Bad printer that never gets fixed. Bad tools that never get replaced but get new wads of tape every week.
8. Bad Hours.
7. Hostile environment. You have one or more employees that intimidate other employees or try to.
6. No reward system. Rewarding employees will help with moral.
5. Rare/irregular raises. You don’t give raises on a regular basis.
4. Runt of the group. The guy hired last gets all of the junk equipment. Told to do all of the grunt work and not ever getting any of the good work or any credit for the completion of a job.
3. Absence of a leader. Someone is in charge and gives commands but does not communicate with employees.
2. Boisterous Management. Be it they bring things to work all of the time that the employees could never afford, or they are rude to the employees and treat them as if they are inferior.
1. Your managers are your friends and their position is well upheld. On the basis that you are never going to fire them. It would be awkward to fire your friends.
Now these aren’t the only reasons people leave. and they may not be the reason that your employees quit, but in my experience these are the least talked about and most common reasons people quit a job. However i have seen a few articles where they run through a list of reasons people quit but they all seem to say the same things, things I never experienced. So i had to make this list. The reasons why most people quit. Other than other personal issues such as someone slept with someone’s spouse.
Though we can’t just go leaving a job that pays, to taking nothing because we want more, we do need to hang onto the idea that we are always worth more than what a paying employer sees us at. Well some of you aren’t, but the most of us are.
Remember to know your value and keep the search for a job that pays you what you deserve.
As I have seen these posts coming up left and right about holiday closures showing which “evil companies” are going to still have their employees working on Thanksgiving preparing for black Friday, and how the nice companies are closed. but not stating whether they will still have employees inside preparing etc. IE: Costco, Target, Sams,Walmart Kroger, Randals etc.
I’d like to remind people that when all of these stores are closed and you are complaining about how mistreated the employees are because they have to work inside with the doors locked like criminals or what not. Those customers from all of those locations, will have no alternative but to get their milk,chips,sodas,scratch-offs and whatever, from gas stations. With one single employee working.
No strikes for gas station attendants. No one does anything for that guy and they over look him. In fact they feel blessed that he is there. He sure doesn’t
Remember him on Thanksgiving and Christmas and New year.
So you are looking for a job and want to know what it takes to get a job with a fire alarm company. You are wondering if there is a special license or certification you need to do the work. Well you do need a license for a few things. Certain tasks require you to be licensed, if you are not licensed then someone needs to be near by that you work under who is licensed.
So yes you can work for a fire alarm company when you do not have a license.
Your value will be low.
On the upside, the fire alarm license is very easy to obtain. You just have to know a bit about the wiring and safety codes of a fire alarm system. Without that knowledge, you are just a helper and will stay a helper until you prove such knowledge.
How do you prove that you understand codes and standards about fire alarm systems and the wiring?
You pass the FAL (Fire Alarm License) test.
Without an FAL, you are going to stay at the lowest wage in the industry.
Though the fire alarm business pays more for the technician’s helpers than most industries out there, you still have a low value to most companies. Which makes you the most expendable person on the staff.
What you want is to get your FAL with in the first year or so, and then soon after go get your Nicet certification.
With Nicet certification, your value to most companies in the fire alarm industry is above the average technician’s pay. and the good thing here is that the nicet certification test is comprised mostly of the same questions as the FAL test.
There are currently 4 level of Nicet certification
I II III and IV
With each level of certification, you gain more abilities and greater value in the industry. The Higher the certification, the more the companies want you. Simply because you can handle greater legal responsibility and be a representative of the company when talking with legal officials. Such as fire alarm inspectors or fire marshals.
If you already have any of these licenses and are looking for a job in the fire alarm industry, you can move right along and fill out an application at TEAMWIRED.COM .
or you can check back at this page for a practice test I will be posting a link to. I intend to only charge $10 for the effort it takes me to type the questions and answers (separate pdfs). The objective is not to guarantee you a passing grade but to teach you how to use your NFPA books to hurriedly look for the sections you need. (if you want this to happen please comment below or there would be no reason for my effort)
If you are a fire alarm designer looking for a good fire alarm template with blocks and title block and fire alarm legend with all symbols, you can try iworkwithtech.com Scroll down the page for different fire alarm cad items. Same for fire alarm companies wanting to make your designs uniform amongst your designers.
If you are looking for a fire alarm company with qualified technicians and staff, try TEAMWIRED.COM