Fire Door Inspection Legwork

In the past three years, 28 states have passed laws that require annual fire door inspections. However, many institutions do not have the staff to conduct these inspections. That presents a tremendous opportunity for locksmiths.


How does the requirement translate into a potential monetary gain for locksmiths and other security professionals?

Early on, the IFDIA determined the locksmith’s skill set and knowledge developed through daily work on fire door assemblies would be an excellent person to do the inspection.

There are many people who work on doors, but many of those who do so, only work on a door from time to time. The local locksmith is viewed by his customer as a professional in regards to doors and hardware. Building and property owners almost always call their locksmith to fix a piece of hardware or repair a door. For this reason, we decided to tailor our accredited training program to the locksmith field and other qualified persons.


How is the IFDIA training program tailored to the locksmith professional?

For example, we designed a quiz that must be taken before a student is allowed to take our online course. Many of the questions on that quiz (we call it the pre-qualification exam) are based upon the generalized knowledge that most locksmiths have due to their many years of work on doors and frames. Any person can take the free quiz, but we have found that in order to pass the free quiz, the test taker must have some very specific knowledge about door assemblies. Since the test is fairly tough for those without the requisite knowledge, it can be a difficult exam to achieve a passing score. Currently, our accreditation requires anyone who wants to take the Advanced Swinging Type Fire Door Inspector Course to pass the free exam with a score of 80 percent or better.


Is the IFDIA training program the only way a security professional can get into the business of fire door inspections? Can’t they just go out and offer to inspect fire doors for their customers?

There are other training programs. In fact, several programs exist to train people to inspect fire doors and in reality, to answer the second part of your question, the Standard (NFPA 80) only calls for someone to inspect who has “knowledge” of the type of hardware to be inspected. The caveat to this is that the LAHJ often may not be familiar with the level of knowledge of any particular person who inspects fire doors. Because the LAHJ may not have individual knowledge regarding specific skill sets, for specific people, they are most likely to lend more credence to a third party verification of a particular person’s knowledge. This is what the IFDIA and other training agencies provide -- a third party verification of the fire door inspector’s skill set. The IFDIA also uses third party verification of our swinging type fire door inspection training curriculum, by being accredited by the International Accreditation Services (IAS), a sister company of the ICC.


Assuming someone would want to become a fire door inspector and provide inspection services to their customers, what steps should he or she take?

Well…they could simply go to the LAHJ and provide them with a resume of their experience, and if, after review, the LAHJ is comfortable with their knowledge base, the LAHJ may very well agree to review reports submitted to them by the locksmith. They can also take a training program, either the accredited IFDIA curricula or other acceptable program and go to the LAHJ with their certificate.

What format should inspection reports to the AHJ the forms take? Are there special forms or requirements?

The IFDIA has found that many jurisdictions are just beginning to try to implement the requirement and as such, they do not have any specific format for the forms that are submitted. When someone who has participated in a recognized training program joins the IFDIA as a free member, they have access to our free report writing software. The system we built is deceptively easy to operate, considering that the database is very complex. Essentially, our members can submit fire door inspection reports with the click of a button.


How exactly does a locksmith find out who the LAHJ is?

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