Published by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
Landmark changes in the 2010 NFPA 72 lead the way to a new era in signaling systems.
In the most extensive Code revision since 1993, the 2010 NFPA 72's scope and organization have expanded beyond the core focus on fire alarm systems to also include requirements for mass notification systems used for weather emergencies; terrorist events; biological, chemical, and nuclear emergencies; and other threats. This wider coverage is reflected in a new Code title: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
New chapter on Emergency Communications Systems responds to today's concerns.
In addition to updated rules for in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communications systems, this new chapter includes first-time provisions for:
Other major revisions and additions that increase protection affect:
- Risk analysis requirements for the design of mass notification systems (MNS)
- In-building MNS
- Wide-area MNS for locations such as college campuses and military bases
- Distributed recipient MNS to communicate with targeted individuals or groups
- In-building radio enhancement systems
- Area of refuge for two-way emergency communications systems
- Circuits and pathways - A new chapter combines existing and new requirements and consolidates basic wiring rules and circuit performance into one location.
- Voice intelligibility - Revised installation and testing provisions plus an extensive new Annex with detailed guidance for testing.
- Signaling for the deaf and hard of hearing - Improved safety in sleeping areas includes new rules that mandate low-frequency signaling for those with mild to severe hearing loss, and tactile as well as visible signaling for those with profound hearing loss.
- Smoke detector placement - Updated spacing and placement requirements for level beamed ceilings and new spacing requirements for sloped beamed ceilings.
Raise protection to new heights! Order the groundbreaking 2010 NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code today.
From the Preface
The 2010 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, represents the culmination of over a century of signaling standards, and this edition is the most significant edition since it was established as the National Fire Alarm Code in 1993. The first signaling standard, NFPA 71 -D, General Rules for the Installation of Wiring and Apparatus for Automatic Fire Alarms, Hatch Closers, Sprinkler Alarms, and Other Automatic Alarm Systems and Their Auxiliaries, was written in 1899. That document was only fifteen pages in length, including the committee report! We are certain the original framers of that document would be astonished to see what their work looks like today.
Fire alarm signaling has come a long way since NFPA published that first signaling standard over one hundred years ago. Many technologies related to fire alarm systems have evolved, while others have changed little since the middle part of the nineteenth century. For example, conventional fixed-temperature heat detectors and McCulloh loops have not changed significantly since they were invented in the late 1800s. Many technologies emerged just the past thirty or forty years. More recent technologies, such as electronic addressable analog smoke detectors and analog heat detectors, continue to develop and improve. Additionally, the computer age has ushered in an era of major changes in fire alarm system control units. Software-driven system designs have resulted in fire alarm systems that are more flexible, richer in features, and easier to test and maintain.
As computer systems are becoming more sophisticated, fire alarm system designers are integrating these systems more with other building systems such as HVAC systems, security and access control systems, energy management systems, and mass notification systems. Requirement have been incorporated in the Code in an effort to keep pace with this ongoing evolution in integrated system designs and to preserve the integrity, reliability, and perform- that are essential for fire alarm systems. Integration of these systems requires technicians in both the fire alarm and non-fire alarm system fields to possess a more detailed and functional knowledge of these Code requirements. Systems integration also requires a more complete understanding of the application and operation of the various building systems technologies and how they interact with fire alarm systems. Education will continue to play a critical role in the understanding and application of fire alarm systems and their integration the other building systems. This edition of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code has continued to retain requirements for performance-based designs as they continue to play a more prominent part within the building process. The acceptance of performance-based designs an equal footing with traditional prescriptive designs establishes an environment and incentive to perform much needed research. The fire alarm industry has and will continue to research and develop a better understanding of the metrics needed to model fire scenarios and predict detection system responses to those scenarios. More and more commonly, fire protection needs are served more effectively and precisely by performance-based approaches than y those based on the more traditional prescriptive rules. Performance-based approaches are ...A limited to fire detection and are becoming more widely used in the areas of audible and visible signaling and in the design of mass notification systems. This continued growth has been reflected within the Code both in terms of new requirements and in terms of information
provided in the annexes and supplements in this handbook.
The 2010 edition of NFPA 72 reflects an expanded scope and reorganization of the Code. Changes made for the 2007 edition introduced requirements and guidance for mass notification systems and included provisions allowing these systems to work with and take precedence over fire alarm systems. The 2010 edition has built on these changes and has added a new chapter on emergency communications systems, which not only includes new requirements for the various forms of mass notification systems but also includes requirements for emergency voice/alarm communications systems (relocated from the protected premises chapter), requirements for two-way telephone communications service (relocated from the protected premises chapter), new requirements for two-way radio communications enhancement systems, and new requirements for area of refuge emergency communications systems. The new chapter recognizes that the design of mass notification systems needs to reflect the range of potentially complex applications for these systems and includes requirements for the design of these systems (including the establishment of signal priorities) based on a risk analysis.
Along with the new chapter on emergency communications systems the Code has been updated as a whole so that, where applicable, requirements apply to emergency communications systems in addition to fire alarm systems. In fact, requirements relating to circuits and pathways have been relocated to a new chapter providing a common location for requirements that can be used by any type of system. Similarly, the requirements for fire safety functions have been relocated to a new chapter on emergency control functions and interfaces. With the addition of three new chapters the opportunity to reorganize the Code into a more logical order of chapters was realized and accomplished with the inclusion of reserved chapters to minimize the potential need for chapter renumbering in the future. Exhibit P. 1 shows the new Code organization with its chapters arranged within four basic groupings: front chapters, support chapters, system chapters, and usability chapters. In addition, the expanded scope of the Code is reflected in its new title: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.
The 2010 edition of the Code has also benefited in significant ways from recent research. Recent research has led to new provisions for the use of low frequency audible signaling in sleeping rooms for those with mild to severe hearing loss and for the use of tactile (vibration) appliances in addition to high intensity strobes for signaling in sleeping rooms to those with profound hearing loss. New research has been responsible for revised and new prescriptive requirements to address troublesome joist and beam ceiling applications for smoke detection. These include requirements to specifically address "waffle" ceilings, corridors, and small rooms. Provisions have also been included to address joist and beam applications for sloping ceilings in addition to level ceilings. New research on the intelligibility of fire alarm and emergency communications systems has also been responsible for the revision of the requirements for voice intelligibility and a new annex providing guidance for planning, design, installation, and testing of intelligible voice communications systems.
All of these changes have resulted from the work of over 200 technical committee members who have volunteered countless hours in the preparation and review of hundreds of proposals and comments - all evaluated through the NFPA consensus-based standards-making processes. The development of the proposals and comments processed by the technical committees represents even further countless hours contributed by members of the public and the fire protection community. The preparation of both the Code and the handbook has also been the beneficiary of very significant time and care from dedicated NFPA staff members. All of these collective efforts, along with NFPA’s rigorous public review process, have continued to make the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook one of the best documents available in the world to detail the installation requirements for fire alarm and emergency communications systems.