Think of NFPA 72®: 2013 as a better-organized 2010 edition with updated requirements for inspection, testing and signaling precedence.
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Fire Protection Engineers, installers and code enforcers should be aware of the new smoke detection placement requirements in the 2010 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. The new requirements – applicable to one- and two-family dwellings, guest rooms of hotels, dormitories and dwelling units in apartment buildings – are intended to reduce unwanted alarms from smoke alarms or smoke detectors installed near fixed or stationary cooking appliances. If you are installing fire detection in these types of dwellings, compliance with these new requirements is essential for optimum detection performance and higher immunity to unwanted activations.
One of the more significant changes in NFPA 720: 2012 relates to sensitivity testing. The Technical Committee accepted a proposal to delete the sensitivity testing requirements for CO detectors. The Committee’s rationale is that no data has been provided at this time showing CO detectors experience a degradation of detection performance over time due to the sensitivity shifting. Furthermore, the CO sensing cell of all CO detection devices are required to be replaced after a certain period of time, usually between 6 to 10 years. Therefore, the requirement for sensitivity testing in the 2009 edition of the standard seemed to provide limited value or benefit.
The new requirements in the 2012 edition of the International Fire Code (IFC) and the International Building Code (IBC) are the result of the International Code Council (ICC) membership approving a proposal during the May 2010 Final Action Hearing to require the installation of CO detection in new and existing Group-R and Group-I occupancies, such as hotels, dormitories, apartment buildings, hospitals and nursing homes.
Jonathan R. Hart, Associate Fire Protection Engineer with the National Fire Protection Association, is responsible for documents addressing information technology equipment, telecommunication facilities, wet and dry chemical extinguishing systems, explosion protection, commercial cooking systems, fire safety and emergency symbols, and water mist fire protection systems. Hart holds a B.S. degree in Mechanical Engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute (WPI) and is finishing work toward an M.S. degree in Fire Protection Engineering.
As a relatively new concept to fire and life safety systems, intelligibility requirements will change how these systems are designed and installed. Designing for intelligibility can be complicated by a variety of factors. While the properties of the speaker have some impact on the intelligibility of a system, most factors have to do with the occupancy itself. So while important, speaker choice will not always ensure intelligibility.
Aspiration detection systems must comply with the state, local, federal and National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) codes and standards, specifically, the NFPA 72 (National Fire Alarm Code), NFPA 75 “Standard for Protection of Computer and Data Processing Equipment,” and NFPA 76 “Standard for the Fire Protection of Telecommunications Facilities.” Ultimately, the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) will dictate fire protection requirements. Although aspiration systems must comply with codes, they are not required by code.