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Frequently Asked Question (FAQ)

2nd Class Fireman License FAQ3rd Class Engineer License FAQ
1st Class Fireman License FAQ2nd Class Engineer License FAQ
Engineering Examination FAQ1st Class Engineer License FAQ
Continuing Education FAQContinuing Education FAQ
Miscellaneous FAQAir Tank (FAQ)

 

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2nd Class Fireman License (FAQ)


Brief Description of License:
This license allows the holder to operate any boiler or boilers under the engineer or fireman in dierct charge thereof

Who should have one?
Anyone who is operating any boiler that is not used exclusively for heating purposes and does not hold a higher grade license.

What are the prerequisites?
To be eligible for examination for a First Class Fireman’s License a person must be a citizen or furnish proof of having filed a declaration of his intent to become a citizen of the United States; must furnish evidence to his previous training and except studnets attending all day sate aided vocational high schools in steam engineering courses or students performing the duties of a First of Second Class Fireman at said school, be at least 18 years of age, provided however that ho such license issued shall be used in employment by the holder thereof unless he is at least 18 years pf age. A strenuous written and/or oral exam must be passed.

How is this license obtained?
You must make application and successfully pass a written and oral exam.

What to study for Second Class Fireman's License:  


Types, purpose, operation, of the following: Fire Tube boilers, water tube boilers, package boilers, forced-flow steam generators, steam drum internals, water column, gauge glass, try cocks, safety valves, check valves, relief valves, valves, gauges, soot blowers, dampers, superheaters, economizers and air preheaters.  Fundamentals of heat transfer and circulation of water in various boiler types; including the properties of steam.  Arrangement of blowoff piping in various boilers.  Blowoff valve sequencing in various boilers.  Purpose for boiler blow down.  Purpose of steam traps.  Proper operation of valves for opening and closing.  Proper procedure for establishing boiler water level, light-off and going on line with other boilers on a header system.  Proper procedure for boiler out of service operation such as: shutdown, draining, isolation, cleaning.  The preparation of a boiler for inspection.  Proper procedure for startup of boiler auxiliaries such as: motor-driven boiler feed pumps, reciprocating steam pumps, draft fans, etc. and their normal operation.  Purpose and operation of safety valves.  Procedure for removing and installing manhole and handhole plates.  On line operation for abnormal conditions such as: oil in boiler, low water, high water, water carryover, leaks, etc.  Types and operation of oil and gas burners as used in H.P. boilers.  A basic knowledge of combustion flame safety equipment.  Understanding of the principals of combustion.  Operation and testing of low water cutoff.  Ability to do simple math.  Knowledge of first duties on taking over a shift; including State operators log book.  Knowledge of opacity restrictions and smoke density devices required by 310 CMR 7.00.  Understanding of lockout / tagout procedures.  Understanding of MSDS.   Confined space entry.  Knowledge of ASME Code Section VII.  Knowledge of what the license permits them do. This information is contained in Chapter 146 of the General Laws and in 522 CMR 2.00.  Understanding ASME Section 7
 
Questions concerning the plant in which the applicant is presently employed or where they have been employed in the past may be asked during the oral portion of the examination. 


1st Class Fireman License (FAQ)

Brief Description of License:
This license allows the holder to have charge of and operate any boiler or boilers where the safety valve or valves are set to blow at a pressure not exceeding 25 PSI, or to operate high pressure boilers under the engineer or fireman in direct charge thereof.

Who should have one?
Anyone who is in actual authority as the "Fireman-in-charge", of any boilers or boilers where the safety valve or valves are set to blow at a pressure not exceeding 25 PSI, who is held responsible by the owners as well as the proper authorities for the daily operation and maintenance of the steam boiler(s). This person is also the person responsible for all persons operating these boilers, engines, and/or turbines.

What are the prerequisites?
To be eligible for examination for a First Class Fireman’s License a person must be a citizen or furnish proof of having filed a declaration of his intent to become a citizen of the United States; must furnish evidence as to his previous training and experience and must have been employed in a boiler or steam power plant as a steam engineer, fireman, control room operator, water tender, auxilairy operator or engineer’s assistant for not less than one year, or have held and used a Second Class Fireman’s License for not less than six (6) months. A strenuous written and/or oral exam must be passed.

How is this license obtained?
You must make application and successfully pass a written and oral exam.

 What to study for First Class Fireman's License:           

 All of that pertaining to the foregoing grade.  A knowledge of low pressure steam and vacuum heating systems, feedwater heaters including deaerators and single feedwater control level systems, as well as feedwater treatment and testing.  Boiler water sampling, testing and treatment as well as control of steam contamination.  Operation & knowledge of small non condensing turbines. Proper procedure for replacing packing on valves and pumps.  .Knowledge of the effects of foaming, priming, scale, oil, etc. on the operation of boilers.  Laying up of boilers, both wet and dry.  Lubricants and lubrication methods for various types of lubricators and their uses on various boiler auxiliaries.  Knowledge of the various types of safety valves and relief valves.  Safe operating procedures for boilers and auxiliaries covering startup, normal operation, emergency conditions and shutdown.  Knowledge of automatic boiler operating controls including safety devices required by 522 CMR 16.00.  Knowledge of combustion and combustion by-products. A knowledge of fuel and their proper storage.  Types and & testing of steam traps.  Knowledge of licensing and inspection laws in Massachusetts including Section  46.  Boiler horsepower determination using Chapter 146.  Knowledge of steam tables. Knowledge of CMR’s 522. Knowledge of CMR’s 310.  Operation & regeneration of Water softeners, knowledge of steam reducing valves and flue gas analysis equipment.  Operation of reciprocating pumps.  Operation & maintenance of centrifugal pumps.  Knowledge of what the license permits them do. This information is contained in Chapter 146 of the General Laws and in 522 CMR 2.00

 

Questions concerning the plant in which the applicant is presently employed or where they have been employed in the past may be asked during the oral portion of the exam. 

 


3rd Class Engineer License

Brief Description of License:
This license allows the holder to have charge of and operate a boiler or boilers not exceeding, in the aggregate, one hundred and fifty horsepower when solid fuel is burned or not exceeding, in the aggregate, five hundred horsepower based uon the relieving capacity of the safety valves when steam is generated by the use of liquid, or gaseous fuel, electric or atomic energy or any other source of heat, and an engine or engines not exceeding fifty (50) horsepower each.

Who should have one?
Anyone who is in actual authority as the "Engineer-in-charge", of any boilers or boilers not exceeding, in the aggregate, one hundred and fifty horsepower when solid fuel is burned or not exceeding, in the aggregate, five hundred horsepower based uon the relieving capacity of the safety valves when steam is generated by the use of liquid, or gaseous fuel, electric or atomic energy or any other source of heat, or engines and turbines not exceeding 50 horsepower each, who is held responsible by the owners as well as the proper authorities for the daily operation and maintenance of the steam boiler, engines, and/or turbines. This person is also the person responsible for all persons operating these boilers, engines, and/or turbines.

What are the prerequisites?
To be eligible for examination for a Third Class Engineer’s License a person must be a citizen or furnish proof of having filed a declaration of his intent to become a citizen of the United States; must furnish evidence as to his previous training and experience and must have been employed in a boiler or steam power plant as a steam engineer, fireman, control room operator, water tender, auxiliary operator or engineer’s assistant for not less than one and one half years, or held and used an equivalent license in the United States Merchant Marine for one (1) year or held and used a equivalent license from another state for one (1) year, or held and used a First Class Fireman’s License for not less than one year. A strenuous written and oral exam must be passed.

How is this license obtained?
You must make application and successfully pass a written and oral exam.

What to study for the Third Class Engineer's License:           

All of that pertaining foregoing grades: Types, purpose, operation of the following: Non-condensing steam turbines, impulse blading, reaction blading, velocity-compounding, pressure compounding, journal bearings, forced feed lubrication, reduction gears, shaft seals, throttle-trip valves, emergency governors, overpressure protection devices. Understanding of causes of vibrations and critical speeds in turbines. Turbine horsepower determination as per Chapter 146. Knowledge of direct acting centrifugal and electronic type speed governors. A knowledge of water treatment. The effect of scale, sludge and other contaminants in boilers. An understanding of water side and fire side corrosion and its prevention. A thorough knowledge of positive and non positive displacement pumps. A knowledge of heating systems using outside air admission. Methods of removing scale and oil from boilers. Knowledge of boiler safety valve code requirements; including capacity determination, permissible mountings, set pressures, stamping, etc. Ability to order a safety valve and checking safety valve capacity three ways. A knowledge of gagging a safety valve. A knowledge of power plant repairs, including the procedure for making welded and mechanical repairs in accordance with state laws. A thorough knowledge of boilers, boiler control systems both combustion and feedwater. Understanding of code jurisdictional limits for piping drum type boilers as required by ASME Code, Section I PG-58. Typical fuel oil and gas piping arrangements. Knowledge of two and three element feedwater level control systems. Knowledge of bearings used in turbines. Knowledge of indicators, recording devices, and associated instrumentation for monitoring and controlling combustion process. Knowledge of safety controls to prevent unsafe boiler conditions. Knowledge of flue gas analysis and boiler efficiency. Skill in math and simple algebra. Knowledge of surface and air-cooled condensers. Basic methods of superheat temperature control. Safety rules for entering boilers for inspection. Basic steam and water cycle for a condensing turbo generator. Procedure to hire a boiler repair and other licensed contractors. Understanding of ASME Code Section I & National Board Code as it applies to the normal duties and responsibilities of a Third Class Engineer. Complete understanding of “Responsibilities of being a Chief Engineer.” A knowledge of Gen.. Laws Chapter 146, knowledge of CMR’s 522 & 310, knowledge of B31.1 piping code, knowledge of Gas Turbines. Knowledge of Piping and Instrumentation Drawings (P&ID’s)

Questions concerning the plant in which the applicant is presently employed or where they have been employed in the past may be asked during the oral portion of the exam.


2nd Class Engineer License


Brief Description of License:
This license allows the holder to have charge of and operate a boiler or boilers, and have charge of and operate engines or turbines no one of which shall exceed one hundred and fifty horsepower, or to operate a first class plant under the engineer in direct charge thereof.

Who should have one?
Anyone who is in actual authority as the "Engineer-in-charge", of any boilers or boilers, or engineers and turbines not exceeding 150 horsepower each, who is held responsible by the owners as well as the proper authorities for the daily operation and maintenance of the steam boiler, engines, and/or turbines. This person is also the person responsible for all persons operating these boilers, engines, and/or turbines.

What are the prerequisites?
To be eligible for examination for a Second Class Engineer’s License a person must be a citizen or furnish proof of having filed a declaration of his intent to become a citizen of the United States; must furnish evidence as to his previous training and experience and must have been employed as an engineer in charge of or operating a steam plant or plants having at least one engine or turbine of not less than fifty horsepower for not less than 2 years or held and used an equivalent license in the United States Merchant Marine for two (2) years, or have held and used an equivalent license from another state for two (2) years or must have held and used a Third Class Engineer’s License either as an engineer, assistant engineer, control room operator or a fireman for not less than one (1) year, or must be a person who has held and used a special license to operate a first class plant for not less than 2 years, except any person who is a United States citizen and served three (3) years as an apprentice to the machinist or boiler making trade in stationary, marine, or locomotive engine or boiler works and has been employed one (1) year in connection with the operation of a steam plant, or any person who has a Bachelor of Science Degree in Engineering from any duly recognized school of engineering, who has been employed for one year in connection with the operation of a steam plant. A strenuous written and oral exam must be passed.

How is this license obtained?
You must make application and successfully pass a written and oral exam.

What to Study for the Second Class Engineer's License:

All of that pertaining to the foregoing grades. A complete knowledge of the construction of all types of boilers and accessories, also the rules formulated by the Board of Boiler Rules, as well as Section I, IV and VIII of the ASME Code. Ability to calculate safe working pressure of any boiler using open codebook. Types, purpose and operation of surface condensers, air ejector equipment, and condensate removal equipment. A thorough knowledge of safety valves, their installation and operation. Knowledge of the chemistry of combustion. Knowledge of the local, state and national environmental laws pertaining to power plants. Theory, operation and maintenance of steam turbines, both condensing and noncondensing and their governors. Knowledge of steam tables and mollier charts. Calculation of boiler efficiencies. Thorough knowledge of feedwater treatment. Ability to parallel AC generators. A knowledge of electricity. Ability to solve algebraic equations.

Procedure to hire a boiler repair and other licensed contractors. Hiring asbestos removal contractors. Knowledge of hazardous chemical procedures. Lubricating programs. Training programs. Oil spill procedures, viscometers. Knowledge of confined space entry procedures. OSHA Training Requirements. Function of ASME, National Board & Board Of Boiler Rules. Operation of demineralizers. Sections of ASME Code, National Board Code and Board of Boilers Rules as they apply to the normal duties and responsibilities of a Second Class Engineer. Ability to size pumps, drivers and control valves.

Questions concerning the plant in which the applicant is presently employed or where they have been employed in the past may be asked during the oral portion of the exam.


1st Class Engineer License

Brief Description of License:
This license allows the holder to have charge of any single steam plant in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts.

Who should have one?
Anyone who is in actual authority as the "Engineer-in-charge", who is held responsible by the owners as well as the proper authorities for the daily operation and maintenance of the steam boiler, engines, and/or turbines. This person is also the person responsible for all persons operating these boilers, engines, and/or turbines.

What are the prerequisites?
To be eligible for examination for a First Class Engineer’s License a person must be a citizen or furnish proof of having filed a declaration of his intent to become a citizen of the United States; must furnish evidence as to his previous training and experience and must have been employed, for not less than three (3) years as an engineer in charge of a steam plant or plants having at least one engine or turbine of over one hundred and fifty horsepower, or must have held and used a Second Class Engineer’s License for not less than one and one half years, or held and used an equivalent license in the United States Merchant Marine for three (3) years or have held and used a equivalent license from another state for three (3) years. A strenuous written and oral exam must be passed.

How is this license obtained?
You must submit an application and successfully pass a written and oral exam.

What to for the First Class Engineer's License:

A more advanced knowledge of that pertaining to the foregoing grades, including steam and gas turbine repairs. Types, purpose, calculation of the following: power plant cycles, thermodynamic and mechanical losses in steam turbines, etc. Ability to supervise repairs on all plant machinery. Knowledge of power plant efficiencies. A knowledge of power plant physics and chemistry of combustion. A knowledge of automatic control systems for plant systems. Knowledge of polishing effluents from plant, as well as environmental laws. A thorough knowledge of power plant emissions monitoring and control. A knowledge of power plant environmental regulations including waste water treatment and solid waste handling. A knowledge of basic knowledge of metallurgy and nondestructive examination. A knowledge of the installation, operation, maintenance and repair of turbines, condensers, boilers, and related auxiliaries including oil purification systems. Basic operation of a generator and plant electric systems. Familiarity with psychometric charts.

Questions concerning the plant in which the applicant is presently employed or where they have been employed in the past may be asked during the oral portion of the exam.
 


Engineering Examination FAQ

Q:  When are examinations scheduled?

A: All engineering examinations are held during the last week of every month. 

Q:  Where are the examinations held?

A:   Exams are held in four locations through out Massachusetts: UMass Amherst; Devens Conference Center; Town of Holbrook Knights of Columbus; and Bunker Hill Community College.  Every applicant will receive Notice to appear approximately two weeks prior to the exam.

Q:  How long does it take to find out if I passed the examination?

A:  Results are usually posted on this website within two weeks of the examination.

Q:  Where can I find materials to study for the examination?

A:   You should have received a cover letter with a list of study materials. You may also obtain information from our website at http://www.mass.gov/dps.  Some study materials may be purchased at the State House Bookstore.  The Department does not provide any study materials.  

Q:  How do I reschedule an examination?

A:   If you are unable to attend an exam, you should inform the Department by calling Maria Pereira at (617) 71272-3200, ext. 25243 or Nancy Cain at (617) 7272-3200, ext. 25235. You will automatically be rescheduled for the following month’s exam date.

Q:    If I fail an exam when may I retest?

A:    You may retest by reapplying with the department 90 days after the exam.  You will be notified of your new exam date.

Q:    I took my exam and passed. When should I receive my license in the mail?

A:    If you passed an exam your license will be mailed approximately two to three weeks after the exam date.         

Q:    I submitted my license renewal and have not received anything. What should I do?

A:    Please allow 30 days for processing. If 30 days have passed, please call the Cashiers' Office at (617) 727-3200 ext. 25246 to inquire. 

Q:    How will I receive my results?

A:   For most licensing exams, applicants are issued an identification number and web address where they may retrieve the results when they sit for the exam. In order to receive your results, simply visit the website and enter your identification number.  If you are an applicant for a construction supervisor’s license, an engineering license, or a fireman’s license, the results of your exam will not be posted on the web, but will be mailed to you directly.


Continuing Education FAQ

Q:  Do engineers and firemen who are not using their licenses have to take continuing education courses to renew their licenses?  

A: Yes.  Engineers and firemen who wish to keep their licenses, but do not wish to take continuing education courses to maintain an active license, may renew (pay the fee) and receive their licenses in "inactive" status.  "Inactive" licenses cannot be used until the holder has met the continuing education requirements. See 522 CMR 18.00 .

Q:  I am an engineer/fireman, and I received my license a couple of years ago.   It is going to be up for renewal.  Can I satisfy the continuing education requirement by attending classes at the school I used when I first became licensed? 

A:  Yes, provided that the school has submitted the course to the Department and has received the Commissioner’s approval.  It is your responsibility to make sure that course you are taking has been approved.  A list of schools and approved course is available at http://www.mass.gov/dps.

Q: Will college courses related to the field be counted as credit hours for engineer/fireman continuing education?

A:  Yes, provided that the college course has been approved by the Commissioner.  The intent is to ensure that operating engineers have been instructed in the most recent changes in the laws and industry safety trends and procedures.  ALL courses must be approved by the Commissioner FIRST.  If a course has not been approved, it will be counted toward your continuing education requirement.

Q:  Are 1st Class Engineers exempt from continuing education classes?

A:  No.

Q: Are “special” license holders exempt from continuing education classes?

A: No.

Q:  If a 1st engineer teaches a class, will it count as credited hours for his or her continuing education requirement?

A:  Yes.  A 1st engineer teaching an approved class is participating in the class, and can therefore certify that he or she satisfied credits for the prescribed time.  The 1st engineer teaching an approved course will be registered with the Department, and will not be required to repeat the course he or she is instructing.

Q:  Will the engineer/fireman continuing education courses be taught at different levels, i.e. a level for 1st engineers vs. a level for 2nd fireman?

A:   Yes.  However, an engineer must be taught by an instructor holding an equal or greater license.

Q:  Will first aid and CPR classes be counted as credit hours?

A:  No.  

Q:  Am I required to take a class not related to my job?  For example, would a 2nd fireman working at a small heating plant be expected to take a class on turbines?

A:  Yes, depending on the program you take. 


Air Tank (FAQ)

Q: What is an air tank?

A:   For purposes of certification by the Department of Public Safety, “air tanks” are any tank or other receptacle for the storing of compressed air at any pressure exceeding fifty pounds per square inch, except when attached to locomotives or street or railway cars or trackless trolley vehicles, or to motor vehicles for use in operating such vehicles or their brakes or body lifting apparatus.  G.L. c. 146, §34.

Q: Is a license required to install, repair, or perform maintenance work on an air tank?

A: No

Q:  When must air tanks be inspected?

A: Air tanks must be inspected internally and externally after initial installation and then once every two years. 

Q:  Are any air tanks excluded from the inspection requirements?

A: Yes, air tanks under 1 cubic foot capacity and tanks that have a safety valve set for less than 50 psi.

Q:  How do I obtain a certificate of inspection for my air tank?

A:

1.  First, obtain a First Inspection Application at http://www.mass.gov/dps

2.  Complete the front page of the application, including contact name and phone number of person requesting the inspection

3.  Submit with the appropriate $25 inspection fee

4.  Send the completed application along with the fee to the address indicated on the application

5.  Following receipt of the application, a District Engineering Inspector will call you to arrange for the inspection.

Q:  What is the insurance requirement?

A:  There is no insurance requirement, however, if you do not have insurance, you are required to have your air tank inspected by the Department every 2 years


Miscellaneous (FAQ)

Q: What type of remote monitoring system does the Department require for compliance with the rules regarding non-continuous attendance?

A: The monitoring device must immediately audibly and visibly notify the licensed boiler operator that an abnormal boiler condition exists. This device must also provide the operator with a means to immediately shut down the boiler.   The operator must be in the same building.

Q:  What are the requirements of the maintenance log book?

A:  By law, the licensed engineer shall perform daily maintenance which shall be logged. Minimum maintenance requirements may be found in the Operator's State Log Book, which may be found on-line at http://www.mass.gov/dps/applicat.htm. Additional logs and round sheets are strongly encouraged.  

Q:  With Continuous Attendance, does an operator have to remain within the site of the boiler gauge glass or in the same boiler room?

A:  Continuous attendance requires that a licensed operator attend the boiler during all times of operation. This is meant to ensure that the operator is aware of abnormal or unsafe boiler or steam engine conditions, and is able to respond immediately within the boiler room.

Q:  If an operator is in a room adjacent to the boiler, and can see the gage through a clear glass window, will the operator satisfy the requirement for continuous attendance?

A: Only if the licensed operator can see and recognize an unsafe or abnormal condition, and has the ability to correct the condition immediately.

Q:  If an adjoining or enclosed walkway is added between two buildings, can the operator go between buildings in a non-continuous attendance facility?

A:  No. By law, the operator cannot leave the building.   The Massachusetts State Building Code defines the boundary of a building. Adjoining two separate buildings by an enclosed walkway does not qualify them as one building under the Code.

Q:  When can a person be in charge of two plants?

A:  Chapter 146 allows an engineer to be in charge of two plants under two conditions:

1. If the additional plant is within one mile from the specific plant that the engineer or fireman is designated to be in charge of, or,

2. If a licensed second or third class engineer or fireman is in attendance at both facilities and the operator performs his duties under the supervision of such engineer or fireman.

Q: Does this mean a fireman can perform the duties of a second class engineer, if he is chief of two plants and performing the duties under the supervision of the engineer?

A:  No.  By law, no one shall have charge of a steam boiler unless he has the appropriate license. A 2nd Engineer may be chief of two plants provided that the second plant also has a 2nd Engineer performing his duties under his supervision at all times.  See G.L. c.146, §46.

Q:    I am trying to determine how modular hot water heating boilers should be numbered.  I have done inspections at facilities where the modular boilers were considered as one boiler and received only one "W" number. The four boilers were tied into one supply header with no intervening valves, had one low water cutoff, and one relief valve which exceeded the combined firing capacities of the burners. I recently did an inspection where each modular unit had its own "W" number.   Which numbering system is correct?

A:  If you have a string of boilers tied to a common header, the codes are clear on what is required.  Having one relief valve for a series of boilers is completely unacceptable and unsafe.  If you run the calculations you will be able to determine this.  Each boiler shall have an individual Massachusetts tag number, not each string of boilers.

Q:  I have a high pressure boiler supplying steam to a turbine.  I would like to tie a low pressure boiler and high pressure boiler into a common header to supply low pressure steam during a plant startup.  Are there any specific requirements that I need to look at when installing the lower pressure boiler?

A:  The Massachusetts Board of Boiler Rules has adopted the National Board Inspection Code.  The NBIC addresses requirements for piping together boilers that have different maximum allowable working pressures. RB-3570 (a) of the National Board Inspection Code states the following:

        "If boilers are piped together with maximum allowable working pressures differing by more than 6%, additional protective devices may be required on the lower pressure units to protect them from overpressure from the higher pressure unit."

To clarify this, it is required that the steam line header between the low pressure boiler and its first stop valve shall have safety valve(s) attached with the capacity to prevent the pressure from rising above the MAWP of the lower pressure boiler. If you need further guidance in determining the appropriate capacity, please contact the Department with more specific information on your project.