Commercial Security Is Finding Its Way Home

Technology and Standards are Migrating to Foster Residential Security The application of technology in residential security has gone through several convolutions over its relatively short history. In its early years, equipment and technology available to...

Now another group, the National Fire Protection Agency (NFPA), is setting out to tackle some of these issues. The NFPA is a consensus driven code writing organization. It the source for many standards and codes which are used to guide other technologies. The NEC National Electrical Code), for instance, is the single most important standard for electricians.

The NFPA Life Safety Code and NFPA 72 are very familiar to dealers and serve as the bible for designers and installers of access control, fire and related systems. Municipalities and their AHJs (Authorities Having Jurisdiction), as well as insurers, use these documents as the basis for inspections and qualifying buildings and systems. These codes take the mystery out of specifying things such as fire alarms by offering recommendations for occupancies and applications, and providing a glossary of terms so that there is little ambiguity when interpreting specifications and performance.

NFPA has created and posted drafts for two new standards for the security industry:

  • NFPA 730. The Electronic Premises Security Guide. It describes construction, protection, and occupancy features and practices, intended to reduce security vulnerabilities to life and of property. The guide also addresses other considerations that are essential to protection of occupants from crime security systems and their components. The purpose is to define the means of signal initiation, transmission, notification, and annunciation; the levels of performance; and the reliability of electronic security systems. Although 731 establishes minimum required levels of performance, extent of redundancy, and quality of installation, it does not establish the only methods by which these requirements are to be achieved.

Security Dealer Technical Editor Tim O'Leary is a 30-year veteran in the security industry and a 10-year contributor to the magazine. O'Leary's background encompasses having been a security consultant since 1986 and an independent security company owner/operator, in addition to his research and evaluation of new technologies and products introduced to the physical and electronic security fields. He is a member of the VBFAA (Virginia Burglar and Fire Alarm Association); certified for Electronic Security Technician and Sales by the VADCJS (Virginia Department of Criminal Justice Services); and has served as a judge for the SIA New Product Showcase. Send your integration questions to