MARKETS served by the SWPTA

Southwest Pipe Trades Association: Leaders in Fire Protection

Fire sprinkler control system

Properly Installed and Maintained Fire Protection Systems Save Lives and Property

Fire protection is about saving lives and preserving property. As such, it is one of the most crucial, yet frequently overlooked components of the construction process.

First and foremost, properly installed fire suppression systems save lives. Without a properly installed and maintained fire suppression system in place, anyone who happens to be in a building during a fire has little chance of survival. Second, fire suppression systems also help reduce the damage a fire inflicts on property and in some instances, it may extinguish the fire before there is any major property loss occurs.

Under previous versions of the fire and building codes, fire suppression systems were not required in many structures. These life-saving systems were viewed as an unnecessary additional cost, and unfortunately many building owners  decided not to implement them. Today, these life-saving systems are required in many structures, as they should be. This means the work outlook for sprinkler fitters has rarely been better, with new installation as well as retrofitting occurring throughout the country, including across the southwest.

Sprinkler fitting falls under the umbrella of the pipe trades, but goes beyond simply installing the pipe work that connects to the fire sprinkler heads that extinguish fires. These highly skilled tradesmen and tradeswomen are trained to inspect and test fire suppression systems to ensure they not only meet current code specifications, but properly operate and extinguish a fire when called upon to do so.

Great Responsibility Requires Great Training

SWPTA affiliated UA Local Unions provide their contractors with highly trained and certified sprinkler fitters, who expertly install, maintain and repair fire suppression systems.

The path to becoming a sprinkler fitter is similar to that of other UA tradesman or tradeswoman. Sprinkler fitter apprentices are required to complete a requisite five-year UA registered apprenticeship, where they learn how to perform their job while earning industry-specific certifications. Once they complete the apprenticeship and become journeymen, sprinkler fitters are required to continue their training by taking various upgrade courses to maintain their National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) certifications and stay up-to-date on the latest fire suppression technologies.

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