NFPA Approves 2010 Fire Code With Notification Chapter

QUINCY, Mass.

As expected, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) approved the 2010 national fire code at its World Safety Conference and Exposition in Chicago earlier this month.

The new notification section, known as Chapter 24, spells out guidelines for installing emergency communications systems that allow hospitals, universities, cities and other organizations to send updates during an incident. At the conference, the NFPA renamed the notification section, which had been known as Chapter 12.

Ideally, campuses and hospitals installing emergency notification systems would follow the code, now called the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, according to Beth Welch, public relations manager at Honeywell Fire Systems.

The organization should seek guidance from the local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), a fire or city building official with the AHJ designation who inspects systems to ensure compliance.

“The last thing you want to do is install a system based on your interpretation of the code,” Welch said.

The 2010 version of the national fire code – formerly known as NFPA 72 – was approved by the Technical Correlating Committee in early June. It will be given a final review by the NFPA’s standards council for typos and clarity; a printed version will be available later in the year. It will go into effect on Jan. 1.

The new guidelines require notifications systems to provide pre-recorded messages as well as real-time instructions to occupants of a building during an emergency. The systems also must be integrated with fire alarm systems as the primary notification method at schools and hospitals.

The new code is expected to increase the number of installations of combo systems that provide fire alarm and notification capabilities.

“When you see a standard that’s being adopted, you have to consider the strength that’s held within a combo fire alarm, emergency communications system,” Welch said. “There are a lot of robust features that make that system work in various disaster incidents.”

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