Fire & Intrusion

Codes update: Stuck in the middle

Another kind of NFPA document is a "Guide" which may someday become a standard. I suggest you investigate an important Guide by visiting NFPA's Web site and searching for NFPA 730, the Guide for Premises Security. The Report on Proposals link will download a pdf document showing all the proposals and what the committee has accepted, rejected or modified so far and the reasons why. If you disagree or wish to encourage acceptance of alternate language, then just click on the "submit comments online" link.

The next edition of this guide comes out in 2011 and the closing date to submit a comment on any of the proposed changes was also in this month. Its companion is a standard called NFPA 731: Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems and is on the same time schedule as 730.

I strongly urge you to become involved. The industry needs your input and that of other competent and knowledgeable fire and security professionals. Because much of the process is done online, it's easy. And who among us doesn't feel compelled to put in our two cents worth now and then? I'm writing this to let you know how simple yet important it is for ICC and NFPA to hear from each of you.

Another way to be involved is to be active in your state and national alarm associations like the Electronic Security Association (ESA). They have a new Web address at

As a committee member, I can tell you we have made several significant changes to the 2010 edition of NFPA 72, as well as each and every standard and code mentioned above. So if I've failed to convince you to become involved using one of the formats above, now you know that you can always contact your alarm association and get their help in causing a change for the better. To reach the ESA or any of their committee chairpersons, visit their Web site at or telephone them at (888)447-1689.

More "new for 72" chapter 21

Three new chapters were created for the new 2010 edition of NFPA 72: Chapter 12 - Circuits and Pathways, Chapter 21 - Emergency Control Functions and Interfaces, and Chapter 24 - Emergency Communications Systems.

The vast majority of this 'new' Chapter 21 is comprised of existing rules taken from other sections of the 2007 edition of NFPA 72. However, a new section was added that covers elevators used for firefighters (21.5) and elevators used for occupant evacuation (21.6).

Section 21.9.3 now allows exits which are electrically locked to keep people in the building, to continue to keep the occupants locked in for a maximum of 10 minutes if the FACP is provided with enough standby power and control functions to ensure these exits will be operable within 10 minutes of the FACP losing its primary power.

Greg Kessinger SET CFPS is SD&I's longtime resident fire expert and regular contributor to the magazine. He holds many ESA accolades, committee positions and is an expert in fire alarm technologies as well as a trainer and educator. Reach him at