How will today's ever-evolving technology impact NFPA provisions related to fire alarm and signaling requirements?
NFPA Journal columnist Wayne Moore of Hughes Associates addressed this question at the Suppression, Detection and Signaling Research and Applications Conference (SUPDET) in Orlando, Florida. The use of ethernet and other non-fire and non-EMS networks has not yet made its way into NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, yet the interest to possibly include relevant requirements has been expressed to the code's committee.
In response to this interest, the NFPA 72 Correlating Committee on Signaling Systems has established a task group to develop proposals around ethernet, local area networks, and wide area networks for fire alarm systems, fire evacuations, and mass notification systems for possible inclusion in the code's 2016 edition.
Another SUPDET session focused on ANSI/UL 2572, a performance standard which was released in 2011, that complements performance requirements in NFPA 72. Larry Shudak with Underwriters Laboratories discussed UL's standard and its focus on mass notification systems in various settings. The specific areas the standard addresses are system construction, product marketing, and testing related to reliability and performance per NFPA 72. (Read the extended abstract of Shudak's presentation.)