NFPA Code Change Will Allow Electronic Monitoring of Fire Extinguishers

The National Fire Protection Association NFPA has voted to amend its codes on monitoring of fire extinguishers. The codes in question were NFPA 10 and NFPA 72, which required that fire extinguishers have inspections every 30 days to ensure working order. Now, following the vote, the fire protection/prevention industry can use electronically monitored fire extinguishers.

According to the NFPA, the amending of NFPA 10 and 72 stems greatly from "improved reliability and added safety" of current electronic monitoring systems for fire extinguishers.

The codes will be officially amended and place in effect in September of this year after the NFPA Standards Council ratifies the code change.

According to the NFPA, which held the vote at its conference in Florida earlier this month, support for the change had come from a variety of sources in the industry, including one end user for the University of Utah who had tested the technology on his campus. The University of Utah reportedly saw a significant decrease in the number of thefts or tampering with the extinguishers after switching to the electronic system.

The code requires that electronic systems keep an electronic log of the verifications, and must verify that the units are appropriately pressurized, are in their correct locations and can be accessed "without obstruction".

The NFPA move, while notable, is hardly new to the world of codes. A similar policy was adopted by the International Code Council approximately a year and a half ago.