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The City of New York requires any building occupied by at least 100 people to have a fire safety director on the site. This applies to hotels, office buildings, and civil services or public buildings. Fire safety directors plan and manage safety and evacuation plans, and train other members of their team. To become a director, you must earn the F-58 certificate of fitness from the New York Fire Department, or FDNY. This can take some time, as you have to train, take an exam and arrange a site test.
Meet the Criteria
You must meet certain eligibility requirements before starting the process to become a certified fire safety director. You must be at least 18 years of age, possess a high school diploma or equivalent, and demonstrate that you have three years' experience working in fire prevention or with building service equipment. You must provide a notarized affidavit from a current or previous employer to prove that you have this experience.
Complete the Training
The first formal step toward certification is to complete a fire safety director training course at a school accredited by the FDNY. The course includes a minimum of 20 hours of instruction and at least two hours of practical work. You'll take a test at the end of your training and must earn a passing score of 70 percent to graduate and get a diploma. You can take the test twice, but if you don't pass at the second attempt, you'll have to take the course again. Once you have your diploma, you have one year to apply to take the fire safety director exam.
Take the Exam
As of 2014, exams are given Monday through Friday each afternoon at FDNY headquarters. Schedule a test online, and plan to bring eligibility documents and pay the $60 fee when you arrive for the test. The computer-based exam takes three hours and features 100 multiple-choice questions about fire and building systems; emergency procedures; training; and regulations. To earn a certificate of completion, you must score of at least 70 percent. You may take the exam twice; if you don't pass after two attempts, you must take the training course again.
Schedule the Site Exam
You have one year after passing the written exam to schedule the site test. You must ask your supervisor or building manager to book this online and to pay the fee of $445, as of 2014. During the 3- to 3½-hour test, an examiner will present you with scenarios and ask you to describe your response in those situations. You'll also complete practical demonstrations, such as operating an elevator in an emergency. The passing score is 70 percent; if you fail, you can take the test one more time. Fire safety director certification is valid for three years.
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