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SUBCHAPTER E. FIRE EXTINGUISHER RULES 28 TAC §§34.501, 34.506-34.509, 34.514, 34.515, 34.517 and 34.523

The Commissioner of Insurance adopts amendments to §§34.501, 34.506-34.509, 34.514, 34.515, 34.517 and 34.523 concerning fire extinguisher rules and license fees. The amended sections are adopted without changes to the proposed text as published in the June 29, 2001, issue of the Texas Register (26 TexReg 4826) and will not be republished.

Amendments to §§34.507, 34.514 and 34.515 are necessary to reflect the most recent industry standards and to improve the processing of applications. Amendments to §§34.501, 34.506-34.509, 34.515, 34.517, and 34.523 are necessary, in part, to implement legislation enacted by the 75th Legislature in SB 371. SB 371 transferred the operations of the state fire marshal and all of the powers, duties, rights, obligations, contracts, records, personnel, property, funds, and unspent appropriations of the Texas Commission on Fire Protection with respect to the administration of Article 5.43-1 of the Insurance Code from the Texas Commission on Fire Protection to the Texas Department of Insurance, effective September 1, 1997. Consequently, the Texas Department of Insurance, through the state fire marshal, now regulates portable fire extinguishers and fixed fire extinguisher systems. Amendments to §34.507 are necessary to replace some of the currently adopted standards and recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) with the most recent versions of those standards and recommendations, deleting some standards that are outdated or incorporated into other standards. The use of the most recent NFPA standards and recommendations is necessary because, as the technology for fire extinguishers develops, the minimum industry safety standards for their use, installation and maintenance also change. Application of the most recent standards and recommendations results in better protection of the public through the use of these fire extinguishing devices. Additionally, other units of state and local government with jurisdiction over fire safety in Texas are adopting these standards. The uniformity of standards enables both the fire extinguisher industry and the public to know and utilize consistent standards that are applicable in all jurisdictions. The amendment to §34.515 regarding non-refundable fees is necessary to promote efficiency in the collection and servicing of fees by the department and to make the rule consistent with statutory requirements and with other rules of the department. The amendments to §34.514 requiring that all applications be completed within 180 days from receipt by the department limits the time non-refundable fees can be used for a specific application. If the applicant has not provided all the information required by the application within 180 days, a new application, including fees, must be submitted. In addition, the National Institute for the Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) qualification required for an extinguisher planning (Type PL) license, is amended in §34.514 to include successful completion of the examination requirements for certification at Level III for Special Hazard Suppression Systems. NICET has discontinued the Special Hazard Systems Layout certification program and substituted a Special Hazard Suppression Systems certification program. An additional amendment to §34.514, which deletes the provision that permits a license to be renewed if the applicant is not currently employed by a registered firm, will result in consistency with the requirements of Article 5.43-1, §5(c) that individuals holding a license be an employee, agent, or servant of a registered firm.

Provisions in §§34.501, 34.506-34.509, 34.515, 34.517, and 34.523 referring to the Texas Commission on Fire Protection are amended to reflect the transfer of authority from that commission to the commissioner of insurance. Section 34.507, which adopts by reference minimum standards and recommendations of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), is amended to replace some of the currently adopted standards and recommendations with the most recent versions of those standards and recommendations, deleting some standards that are outdated or incorporated into other standards. These amendments update the standards that clarify existing requirements, identify existing current maintenance practices, expand existing requirements to apply to current state-of-the-art equipment, and add maintenance procedures to verify that the required maintenance work was performed, thus ensuring a greater level of safety to the public that rely on the performance of these devices and systems. The updated standards reflect the changes made by the NFPA by adding the definition, classification, use and maintenance of class K rated fire extinguishers, adding procedures to install a verification collar when performing maintenance on fire extinguishers that require an internal examination or recharge, adding procedures regarding the marking of fire extinguishers that are condemned, adding minimum criteria for the type and calibration of pressure gauges used to hydrostatically test fire extinguishers, and requiring fire extinguisher firms to maintain a record of all fire extinguishers hydrostatically tested. The department has noted certain exceptions and substitutions relating to cooking appliances that clarify application of the standard to existing department rules and that provide alternatives to comply with the standards based on the greater benefit to the public. The amendment to §34.515 adds a provision for non-refundable fees except where overpayment result s from mistakes of law or fact. The amendments to & amp; sect;34.514 require that all applications be completed within 180 days from receipt by the department and that the NICET qualification required for a Type PL license include successful completion of the examination requirements for certification at Level III for Special Hazard Suppression Systems. Amended §34.514 deletes the provision that permits a license to be renewed if the applicant is not currently employed by a registered firm.

No comments were received.

The amended sections are adopted pursuant to the Insurance Code Article 5.43-1 and §36.001. Article 5.43-1, §8 provides in pertinent part that the department may formulate rules as may be necessary for the protection and preservation of life and property in controlling the registration, licensing and examination of firms and individuals engaged in the business of installing or servicing portable fire extinguishers or planning, certifying, installing, or servicing fixed fire extinguisher systems. Section 8 also provides that the department shall formulate rules controlling the requirements for the installing or servicing of portable fire extinguishers and the planning, certifying, installing or servicing of fixed fire extinguisher systems. Section 36.001 authorizes the Commissioner of Insurance to adopt rules for the conduct and execution of the duties and functions of the Texas Department of Insurance as authorized by statute.

§34.501. Purpose. The purpose of this subchapter is to regulate the business of leasing, renting, selling, installing, and servicing of portable fire extinguishers and the planning, certifying, installing, or servicing of fixed fire extinguisher systems and to prohibit portable fire extinguishers, fixed fire extinguisher systems, and extinguisher equipment not labeled or listed by a testing laboratory approved by the commissioner in the interests of protecting and preserving lives and property pursuant to the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1.

§34.506. Definitions. The following words and terms, when used in this subchapter, shall have the following meanings, unless the context clearly indicates otherwise.

(1) Apprentice - A person to whom a permit has been issued by the state fire marshal to perform various acts of service or installation while under the direct supervision of a person working for the same firm and holding a valid fire extinguisher service license to perform such acts.

(2) Business - The planning, certifying, installing, leasing, renting, selling, or servicing of portable fire extinguishers or fixed fire extinguisher systems.

(3) Certificate - The certificate of registration issued by the state fire marshal.

(4) Certify - To attest to the proper planning, installing, or servicing of portables and systems by attaching a completed service tag or other form required by a governmental authority.

(5) Commissioner - The commissioner of insurance.

(6) Department - The Texas Department of Insurance.

(7) DOT Specification Fire Extinguisher Cylinder - All fire extinguisher cylinders manufactured, tested and stamped with the classification number as required by the United States Department of Transportation.

(8) DOT Nonspecification Fire Extinguisher Cylinder - All fire extinguisher cylinders manufactured and tested but not stamped with a classification number as required by the United States Department of Transportation. These cylinders may be marked by a label with the words "Meets DOT Requirements."

(9) Installation - The initial placement of a portable or fixed fire extinguisher system or an extension or alteration after initial placement.

(10) License - The license issued by the state fire marshal to an employee of a registered firm.

(11) NFPA - The National Fire Protection Association, Inc., a nationally recognized standards-making organization.

(12) NICET - National Institute for the Certification in Engineering Technologies.

(13) Person - A natural person.

(14) Plan - To lay out, detail, draw, calculate, devise, or arrange an assembly of detection or suppression devices and appurtenances in accordance with either fire protection standards adopted in this subchapter or specifications specially designed by a Texas registered professional engineer acting solely in his professional capacity.

(15) Registered firm - A person, partnership, corporation, or association holding a current certificate of registration.

(16) Shop - A facility of a registered firm where servicing, repairing, or hydrostatic testing is performed and where parts and equipment are maintained.

(17) Test - The act of subjecting a portable or fixed system to any procedure necessary to determine whether it is properly installed or operates correctly.

§34.507. Adopted Standards. The commissioner adopts by reference in their entirety, except as noted, the following copyrighted standards and recommendations as adopted in this subchapter. If a standard refers to a provision in a specific edition of another standard, the provision is applicable only if it does not conflict with the adopted standard shown in this section. The standards are published by and available from the National Fire Protection Association, Inc., (NFPA), Batterymarch Park, Quincy, Massachusetts 02269.

(1) NFPA 10-1998, Standard for Portable Fire Extinguishers, except that paragraph 2-3.2 shall be deleted and the following wording substituted: "Fire extinguishers provided for the protection of cooking appliances that use combustible cooking media (vegetable or animal oils and fats) shall either be listed and labeled for Class K fires or comply with the requirements of NFPA 10-1994."

(2) NFPA 11-1998, Standard for Low Expansion Foam and Combined Agent Systems.

(3) NFPA 11A-1999, Standard for Medium and High Expansion Foam Systems.

(4) NFPA 12-2000, Standard on Carbon Dioxide Extinguishing Systems.

(5) NFPA 12A-1997, Standard on Halon 1301 Fire Extinguishing Systems.

(6) NFPA 15-1996, Standard for Water Spray Fixed Systems for Fire Protection.

(7) NFPA 16-1999, Standard for the Installation of Deluge Foam-Water Sprinkler and Foam-Water Spray Systems.

(8) NFPA 17-1998, Standard for Dry Chemical Extinguishing Systems, except that paragraph 7-3.2 shall only apply to new or modified installations after July 1, 1996, in accordance with §34.517(f) of this subchapter (relating to Installation and Service).

(9) NFPA 17A-1998, Standard for Wet Chemical Extinguishing Systems , except that paragraph 3-1.1 shall only apply to new or modified installations after July 1, 1996, in accordance with §34.517(f) of this subchapter.

(10) NFPA 18-1995, Standard on Wetting Agents.

(11) NFPA 25-1998, Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems.

(12) NFPA 96-1998, Standard for Ventilation Control and Fire Protection of Commercial Cooking Operations, except that paragraph 7-2.2 shall only apply to new or modified installations after July 1, 1996, in accordance with §34.517(f) of this subchapter.

(13) NFPA 2001-2000, Standard on Clean Agent Fire Extinguishing Systems.

§34.508. Approved Testing Laboratories. The commissioner approves an organization as an approved testing laboratory which lists equipment and appurtenances for use in compliance with standards adopted in §34.507 of this title (relating to Adopted Standards) if the organization meets the requirements of an approved testing laboratory in accordance with Subchapter D of this title (relating to Testing Laboratory Rules).

§34.509. Approved Certification Organization. The commissioner approves the National Institute for Certification in Engineering Technologies (NICET) as a testing standards organization for testing license applicants.

§34.514. Applications.

(a) Certificates of registration.

(1) Applications for certificates and branch office certificates must be submitted on forms provided by the state fire marshal and accompanied by all other information required by the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, and this subchapter. An application will not be deemed complete until all required forms and documents have been received in the state fire marshal's office.

(2) Applications must be signed by the sole proprietor, or by each partner of a partnership, or by an officer of a corporation. For corporations, the application must be accompanied by the corporate charter of a Texas corporation, or, in the case of a foreign corporation a copy of the Texas certificate of authority to do business. For applicants using an assumed name, the application must also be accompanied by evidence of compliance with the Assumed Business or Professional Name Act, Texas Business and Commerce Code, §36.01. The application shall also include written authorization by the applicant permitting the state fire marshal or his representative to enter, examine, and inspect any premises, building, room, or establishment used by the applicant while engaged in the business to determine compliance with the provisions of the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, and this subchapter.

(3) For corporations, the application must also include the corporate taxpayer identification number, the charter number, and a copy of the corporation's current franchise tax "Certificate of Good Standing" issued by the state comptroller's office.

(4) Original applications for Type A certificates must be accompanied by a statement from the applicant which details the experience and educational information supporting and establishing the firm's qualifications to plan, install, or service fixed systems handled by the firm. Such statement may be further supported by documentation from manufacturers of pre-engineered fixed systems or fixed system equipment relative to the applicant's receipt of training and education regarding the installation and service of their products.

(5) Subsequent to receipt of a certificate of registration, holders thereof who commence to sell, install, and service pre-engineered fixed systems or system equipment other than those handled at the time of original certification must, within 60 days, forward a similar statement to the state fire marshal concerning the firm's qualification to install or service such other fixed systems. The statement must be accompanied by the names and license numbers of employees who have received necessary training in installing and servicing the additional systems.

(6) Applications for Type C certificates must be accompanied by a copy of the DOT letter registering the applicant's facility which awards a registration number to the facility.

(7) The applicant must comply with the following requirements concerning liability insurance.

(A) The state fire marshal must not issue a certificate of registration under this subchapter unless the applicant files with the state fire marshal's office proof of liability insurance. The insurance must include products and completed operations coverage.

(B) Each registered firm must maintain in force and on file in the state fire marshal's office the certificate of insurance as required.

(C) Evidence of public liability insurance, as required by the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, §4A, must be in the form of a certificate of insurance executed by an insurer authorized to do business in this state or, until September 1, 1989, a certificate of insurance for surplus lines coverage in compliance with the Insurance Code, Article 1.14-2, as provided for under the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, §4A(c).

(D) If a certificate of registration is to be issued in the name of a corporation, the corporate name must be used on the applicable insurance forms. If the corporation is obtaining a certificate of registration in an assumed name, the insurance must be issued to the corporation doing business as (dba) the assumed name. Example: XYZ Corporation dba XXX Extinguisher Service.

(E) Insurance issued for a partnership must be issued to the name of the partnership or to the names of all the individual partners.

(F) Insurance for a proprietorship must be issued to the individual owner. If an assumed name is used, the insurance must be issued to the individual doing business as (dba) the assumed name. Example: William Jones dba XXX Extinguisher Service.

(b) Fire extinguisher licenses.

(1) Original applications for a license from an employee of a firm engaged in the business must be submitted on forms provided by the state fire marshal and accompanied by all other information required by the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, and this subchapter.

(2) Applications for Type A licenses must be accompanied by a written statement from the certificate holder (employer) certifying the applicant's competency to install or service fixed systems which the certificate holder is currently qualified to install or service.

(3) Applications for Type PL licenses must be accompanied by one of the following documents to evidence technical qualifications for a license:

(A) proof of registration in Texas as a professional engineer; or

(B) a copy of NICET's notification letter regarding the applicant's successful completion of examination requirements for certification at Level III for Special Hazard Systems Layout or Special Hazard Suppression Systems.

(c) Complete application required for renewal. Renewal applications for certificates of registration and licenses must be submitted on forms provided by the state fire marshal and accompanied by all other information required by the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, and this subchapter. An application will not be deemed complete until all required forms and documents have been received in the state fire marshal's office.

(d) Timely filed. A license or registration shall expire at 12:00 midnight on the date printed on the license or registration. A renewal application and fee for license or registration must be postmarked on or before the date of expiration to be accepted as timely. If a renewal application is not complete but there has been no lapse in the required insurance, the applicant shall have 30 days from the time the applicant is notified by the state fire marshal's office of the deficiencies in the renewal application to submit any additional requirement. If an applicant fails to respond and correct all deficiencies in a renewal application within the 30-day period, a late fee may be charged.

(e) Requirements for applicants holding licenses from other states. An applicant holding a valid license in another state who desires to obtain a Texas license through reciprocity must submit the following documentation with the application in addition to all other information required by the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, and this subchapter:

(1) a letter of certification from the licensing entity of another state certifying the applicant holds a valid license in that state; and

(2) additional information from the state detailing material content of any required examination used to qualify for license, including NFPA or other standards, if applicable.

(f) Apprentice permits. Each person employed as an apprentice by a firm engaged in the business must make application for a permit on a form provided by the state fire marshal and accompanied by the required fee.

(g) Complete applications. The application form for a license or registration must be accompanied by the required fee and must, within 180 days of receipt by the department of the initial application, be complete and accompanied by all other information required by the Insurance Code Article 5.43-1 and this subchapter, or a new application must be submitted including all applicable fees.

§34.515. Fees.

(a) Every fee required in accordance with the provisions of the Insurance Code, Article 5.43-1, and the sections of this subchapter must be paid by cash, money order, or check. Money orders and checks must be made payable to the Texas Department of Insurance. Except for overpayments resulting from mistakes of law or fact, all fees are non-refundable.

(b) Fees must be paid at the Office of the State Fire Marshal in Austin, or mailed to an address specified by the state fire marshal.

(c) Fees are as follows.

(1) Certificates of registration (Type A, B, and PL):

(A) initial fee--$450;

(B) renewal fee (for two years)--$600;

(C) branch office initial fee--$100;

(D) branch office renewal fee (for two years)--$200.

(2) Certificate of registration (Type C):

(A) initial fee--$250;

(B) renewal fee (for two years)--$300.

(3) Fire extinguisher license (Type A and B):

(A) initial fee--$50;

(B) renewal fee (for two years)--$100.

(4) Fire extinguisher license (Type PL):

(A) initial fee--$50;

(B) renewal fee (for two years)--$100.

(5) Apprentice permit fee--$30.

(6) Duplicate or revised certificates, licenses, permits, or other requested changes to certificates, licenses, or permits--$20.

(7) Initial examination fee (nonrefundable and nontransferable)--$20.

(8) Reexamination fee (nonrefundable and nontransferable)--$20.

(d) Late fees are required of all certificate or license holders who fail to submit complete renewal applications before the expiration of the certificate or license.

(e) Fees for certificates and licenses which have been expired for less than two years include both renewal and late fees and must be determined in accordance with the following schedule.

FIGURE: 28 TAC §34.515(e)

Expired 1 day to 90 days

Renewal Fee

Late Fee

Total Fee

Certificate (Type A, B, and PL)

$600 (2 years)

$225

$ 825

Branch Office certificate

$200 (2 years)

$ 50

$ 250

Hydrostatic testing certificate (Type C)

$300 (2 years)

$125

$ 425

License (Type A and B)

$100 (2 years)

$ 25

$ 125

License (Type PL)

$100 (2 years)

$ 25

$ 125

Expired 91 days to two years

Renewal Fee

Late Fee

Total Fee

Certificate (Type A, B, and PL)

$600 (2 years)

$450

$1,050

Branch office certificate

$200 (2 years)

$100

$ 300

Hydrostatic testing certificate (Type C)

$300 (2 years)

$250

$ 550

License (Type A and B)

$100 (2 years)

$ 50

$ 150

License (Type PL)

$100 (2 years)

$ 50

$ 150

§34.517. Installation and Service.

(a) The following requirements are applicable to all portable extinguishers.

(1) Portable extinguishers must be installed, serviced, and maintained in compliance with the manufacturer's instructions and with the applicable standards adopted in this subchapter.

(2) A service tag certifying the work performed must be securely attached by the licensee to the portable extinguisher upon completion of the work.

(b) The following requirements are applicable to all fixed fire extinguisher systems.

(1) Fixed systems must be planned, installed, and serviced in compliance with the manufacturer's installation manuals and specifications or the applicable standards adopted in this subchapter.

(2) Upon completion of the installation of a pre-engineered fixed fire extinguisher system, a Type A or Type PL licensee must place an installation label on the system to certify that the system was installed in compliance with the manufacturer's installation manuals and specifications or standards adopted by the commissioner in this subchapter. The licensee whose signature appears on the installation label must be present for the final test of the system prior to certification.

(3) Upon completion of the installation of a fixed fire extinguisher system other than a pre-engineered system, a Type A or Type PL licensee must place an installation label on the system to certify that the system was installed in compliance with the manufacturer's installation manuals and specifications, plans developed by a Type PL licensee or professional engineer, or standards adopted by the commissioner in this subchapter. The licensee whose signature appears on the installation label must be present for the final test of the system prior to certification.

(4) A service tag certifying the work performed must be securely attached by the licensee to the system upon completion of servicing.

(c) Pre-engineered fixed fire extinguisher systems must be installed and serviced by Type A or Type PL licensees only.

(d) A pre-engineered fixed fire extinguisher system, except those covered by subsection (f) of this section, which has been previously installed in one location may be reinstalled in another location if:

(1) the system is of the size and type necessary to protect all hazards;

(2) all parts and equipment, when installed, will function as designed by the manufacturer; and

(3) the system shall comply with all applicable adopted standards.

(e) Fixed fire extinguisher systems other than pre-engineered systems must be planned, installed, or serviced by a Type PL licensee or professional engineer. Installation and servicing of such a system may also be performed by or supervised by a Type A licensee.

(f) All pre-engineered fixed fire extinguishing systems, installed or modified after July 1, 1996, in accordance with NFPA 17 or NFPA 17A or NFPA 96 of the adopted standards, for the protection of restaurant cooking areas, must meet the minimum requirements of Underwriters Laboratories, Inc., Standard 300, "Fire Testing of Fire Extinguishing Systems for Protection of Restaurant Cooking Area" (UL 300).

§34.523. Savings Clause. Each cause of action, pending litigation, matter in process before the commissioner or the state fire marshal, or matter hereafter arising from an event occurring prior to the time this subchapter becomes effective shall be determined in accordance with and governed by the provisions of statutes, sections, orders, or official interpretations in effect at the time of the occurrence of the subject event.



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