Ashley Smith

"In Compliance" details code changes for meters, sprinkler myths and more

Blog Post created by Ashley Smith Employee on Apr 12, 2016

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This issue’s “In Compliance” section takes a look at electrical safety, life safety in new and existing structures, home sprinkler myths, and fire alarm considerations for industrial spaces.

 

Here’s the news you need to know, in brief. Or, visit the NFPA Journal website to read the complete section.

 

Meter Matters

When firefighters enter a building, they could be exposed to energized electrical wiring, or they could risk the well-documented hazards associated with de-energizing the building’s electrical panel and wiring system. Lack of proper training and inadequate electrical personal protective equipment have contributed to fire service personnel being injured while pulling meters.

A proposed revision of the 2017 National Electrical Code® (NEC®) would protect firefighters and other first responders from shock and and possible arc-flash hazards while responding to certain residential incidents. The revision requires all one- and two-family homes to have a service disconnecting means on the exterior of the home.

 

Look Ahead

Each new edition of NFPA 101®, Life Safety Code®, addresses state-of-the-art subjects not codified in previous editions. Proposed changes for the 2018 edition include:

  • Hazardous materials – The Chapter 4 goals are being expanded to include the provision of reasonable life safety during emergencies involving hazardous materials.
  • Integrated fire protection systems – A new provision is being added to Chapter 9 of the Life Safety Code to permit the occupancy chapters to require fire protection systems that are integrated with other building systems to be tested accorded to NFPA 4®, Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing®.
  • Risk analysis for mass notification – Another provision is being added to Chapter 9 to permit the occupancy chapters to require a risk analysis for mass notification systems in accordance with the requirements of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®.
  • Construction, alteration and demolition operations – A provision is being added to Chapter 4 of the Life Safety Code to permit the occupancy chapters to require construction, alteration, and demolition operations to be in accordance with NFPA 241®, Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations®.

 

Straight Facts

Many homebuilders, developers, and general contractors have preconceived notions about automatic sprinklers in single-family homes. Often, they’re myths based on bad information.

To help dispel those myths, the Home Fire Sprinkler Coalition (HFSC) and NFPA’s Fire Sprinkler Initiative teamed up at the recent International Builders Show to disseminate the right information through face-to-face conversations.

The main myths they wanted to debunk? That sprinklers are too expensive (the average cost is only about $1.35 per sprinklered square foot), that they’re ugly (concealed sprinkler covers can make the nearly undetectable), and that they’re complicated to install (in reality, they’re very similar to a domestic plumbing system).

 

Ambient Attention

An array of ambient conditions in industrial occupancies can affect the performance of a fire alarm system. The 2016 edition of NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, states the limits imposed on these devices based on ambient conditions, and designers must carefully consider those when choosing components for fire alarm systems in industrial spaces.

Those spaces can include conditions that can affect detector operation or initiate false alarms: mechanical vibration, electrical interference, process smoke, moisture, particulates, fumes, noise, and radiation, among others.

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