NFPA 72-2019: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code

Fire alarm as part of NFPA 72-2019 code

The national fire alarm and signaling code has been revised. The current edition, NFPA 72-2019: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, revises the 2016 edition of the same code.

Alarm signals can communicate important life altering information, especially in situations that involve fire. In fact, NFPA reports that in 38 percent of home fire deaths, there were no smoke alarms present. The devices covered in NFPA 72-2019 are more than a luxury. Information is vital in any hazardous situation and the communication of that information is crucial. NFPA 72-2019 provides guidelines to help effectively use the devices that offer this information.

Smoke alarms aren’t the only tools examined in the standard. NFPA 72-2019 covers a variety of signaling devices. The standard refers to the application, installation, location, performance, inspection, testing, and maintenance of:

  • Fire alarm systems
  • Supervising station alarm systems
  • Public emergency alarm reporting systems
  • Fire and carbon monoxide detection and warning equipment
  • Emergency communication systems (ECS)

This includes the components of the devices listed above.

Pushing carbon monoxide alarm through NFPA 72

NFPA 72-2019 also has information on mass notification systems for a wide range of applications. A mass notification system may be used for:

  • Fire emergencies
  • Weather emergencies
  • Terrorist events
  • Biological, chemical, or nuclear emergencies

The basis for NFPA 72-2019 dates back over one hundred years ago, in 1898. After going through numerous updates and revisions throughout the 20th century, the standard continues to progress to support and reinforce safety for an ever-shifting industry. In the latest edition of NFPA 72-2019, a multitude of changes have been made. Some of these changes are:

  • The guidelines for occupant evacuation elevators (OEE) and fire service access elevators were altered to match up with the changes in ASME A17.1-2016/CSA B44-2016. There are broad changes to the guidelines involving occupant evacuation operation (OEO). With these changes, figure A.21.6 and annex text have been added, and occupant evacuation operation has been simplified.
  • A revised Chapter 24 includes guidelines for stairway communication systems, elevator landing communications systems, and occupant evacuation elevator lobby communications systems.
  • NFPA 72-2019 now better aligns with the Manual of Style for NFPA Technical Committee Documents.
  • Guidelines that had once been in NFPA 720: Standard for Installation of Carbon Monoxide Detection and Warning Equipment have been moved into NFPA 72-2019.
  • Valve-regulated lead-acid (VRLA) batteries are more widely discussed in Chapter 14, Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance. Tables 14.3.1 and have been revised for VRLA battery inspection and testing. Chapter 3 defines some new terms that have been introduced.

NFPA 72-2019: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code is available on the ANSI Webstore.

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2 thoughts on “NFPA 72-2019: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code
  1. You mention Chapter 14 for Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance; it’s worth noting that this chapter also lists ALL of the requirements for your fire alarm inspection including method and intervals. I get many questions from building owners, property managers, and engineers about what is required and Chapter 14 is my go-to resource.

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