Top 10 Questions to Ask When Evaluating Fire Service Providers

December 10, 2023 | < 1 min read

With life-threatening situations only a phone call away, firefighters have to be ready in a pinch — and so does their equipment. As a trusted partner to the firefighting community, Industrial Inspection & Analysis (IIA) offers these Top 10 questions to ask when evaluating potential testing providers.

  1. What standards do you test to?

    National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) standards govern all fire department testing in the U.S. Per NFPA 1962, annual testing is required for hose (including hard suction hose), apparatus, appliances and nozzles. NFPA 1911 requires annual testing for ground/aerial ladders and pumps. In addition, aerial ladders must undergo ultrasonic thickness testing and magnetic particle testing every five years.

  2. What is included in the price?

    To avoid surprises on your invoice, ask the provider to break down all job duties they will perform (including non-testing activities such as unloading and repacking) and the costs associated with each type of testing. Leading providers will leave your fleet looking as good or better after testing as it did at the beginning.

  3. What do you need from our fire department (in terms of space, manpower and water source) to complete the testing?

    In their quotes, testing providers should outline their specific needs from your department in terms of the testing location, water source and any manpower your department will need to provide, such as a driver.

  4. Does your company specialize in hose testing or provide a full menu of fire services?

    A full-service provider can streamline the testing experience and reduce the paperwork and costs associated with using multiple providers.

  5. What kind of report can I expect?

    Thorough and complete testing documentation is essential for your department to maintain safety and compliance. Ask potential providers about the level of detail provided in their final reports and ask to see samples.

  6. How much hose can you test in a day?

    The more hose a company can test in a single day, the less time your equipment is out of service. Leading providers like IIA can typically test around 20,000 feet of hose per day.

  7. How do you identify hose and other equipment that’s being tested? What’s your numbering system?

    It’s important that the testing provider assign a unique identification number to each section of hose and every piece of equipment being tested. In the final report, those identification numbers correlate to the test results for that specific piece of equipment.

  8. Can we choose what month our tests are done?

    If you have a preferred month in which you’d like to have your testing done, ask potential providers if they can accommodate that request.

  9. Can we partner with a neighboring fire department to combine testing?

    To help keep costs down, smaller fire departments located in neighboring communities may be able to coordinate their testing schedules and share a testing location.

  10. What happens if we have an apparatus out of service at the time of testing?

    Ask the provider how they would accommodate equipment that is non-operational on the day of testing.