#101Wednesdays: Proposed requirements for mass notification systems in NFPA 101

Blog Post created by gharrington Employee on Apr 5, 2017

The revision cycle for the upcoming 2018 edition of NFPA 101 is nearly complete. That means it's handbook writing season, and I spend just about every minute of the workday writing and revising commentary for the Life Safety Code Handbook. It also means I nearly forgot to write a #101Wednesdays blog. So here we go at 6:00 p.m. (EDT).


In this abbreviated edition, I'm highlighting one of the proposed requirements for the next edition of the Code, which will likely be discussed on the floor at the annual technical meeting (what we used to call the "tech session") at the 2017 NFPA Conference & Expo (C&E) in Boston. Proposed revisions will require certain occupancies to have a risk analysis performed to determine the need for a mass notification system, or MNS. MNSs differ from fire alarm systems in that they are used to provide warning not only to building occupants, but also larger populations, such as the students, faculty, and staff found on a university campus comprised of numerous buildings and outdoor areas. In addition, the types of emergencies reported via MNSs can include not only fire, but also weather emergencies, natural disasters, and acts of violence, such as an active-shooter on campus (more info on NFPA's project on preparedness and response to active shooter scenarios and incidents can be found here). The detailed requirements for MNS risk analyses and system design and installation are found in NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code.


To review the proposed requirements, see the NFPA 101 Second Draft Report and navigate to Chapter 9, Section 9.14. If this subject is important to you, whether you're in favor or against, you'll want to attend the C&E so your voice can be heard. Certified amending motions (CAMs) are set to be posted on April 17.


Thanks for reading, and stay safe.


Got an idea for a topic for a future #101Wednesdays? Post it in the comments below – I’d love to hear your suggestions!


Did you know NFPA 101 is available to review online for free? Head over to and click on “Free access to the 2015 edition of NFPA 101.”


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