As I was saying …

CERTA redux

Three years ago, in response to growing concerns in the insurance industry about torch-related roof fires, NRCA entered into a partnership with the Midwest Roofing Contractors Association (MRCA) to broaden the scope of MRCA's certified roofing torch applicator (CERTA) training program.

The plan was—and is—to train as many roofing workers as possible in safe torch use. Through the NRCA/MRCA CERTA program, as it now is called, more than 700 trainers successfully have completed a full-day accreditation program about how to teach torch safety. Those 700, in turn, have trained and certified more than 7,000 applicators. The trainers come from all parts of the industry; they work for contractors, manufacturers and distributors, and some work independently. The applicators go through a rigorous, hands-on training program that concludes with an examination they must pass to earn their certifications.

In addition, NRCA maintains records of all certified applicators so the certification can stay with those who change jobs. All in all, the program—from an administrative standpoint—is a great success.

But the appropriate question to ask, after three years of training, is whether the program has achieved its larger objective of reducing fires. The answer is remarkably positive. Losses from fires are down significantly, measured by frequency and severity.