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The fire protection and life safety systems within a building play a valuable role during an emergency. This includes audible visible appliances and manual pull stations mounted on the walls; security systems and generators; smoke detectors as well as sprinkler systems installed at the ceiling; vents for the HVAC system; and the elevator recall. However, a single system isn’t exclusively capable of detecting, notifying, suppressing and ensuring the safe egress of building occupants, or allowing first responders to effectively do their jobs. All systems depend on “shaking hands” to collectively ensure life safety.


While it’s well understood that these systems need to be individually tested, integrated systems testing – that is, a process for testing all systems together to ensure that they coordinate with one another – is far less recognized or conducted. NFPA 4, Standard for Integrated Fire Protection and Life Safety System Testing, is a new standard (issued in 2015) that works to fill that gap. It defines an integrated systems test as a test performed on fire protection and life safety systems, confirming that operation, interaction, and coordination of multiple individual systems perform their intended function.

NFPA has launched a free online micro-training, explaining what integrated systems testing entails and an overview of the requirements and guidelines in NFPA 4.


In the months ahead, NFPA will be hosting instructor-led NFPA 4 trainings in select cities throughout the U.S., offering a deeper dive into integrated systems testing. Following are dates and locations of upcoming trainings:

  • Nashville, TN – May 17
  • San Francisco, CA – July 17
  • Charlotte, NC – September 13


For starters, get educated on NFPA 4 by taking our free online micro-training.

After 35 years in the fire service and then another eight helping lead NFPA's first responder efforts, our chief Ken Willette retired last month. 
For several years, Ken has been the author of NFPA Journal's First Responder column, offering his observations and timely takes on some of the most important issues facing the fire service today. His column in the  March/April issue of Journal was his last for the magazine. In it, Ken reflected on his career as a fire chief, using insightful lessons from his own career to highlight two topics he deems to be the biggest threats facing his beloved fire service today: mental health, and firefighter cancer. 
I would urge you to read Ken's farewell column and his parting advice to firefighters in the latest issue. Speaking for all of NFPA and for myself as his editor at the magazine, we miss Ken already and wish him a healthy and happy retirement!

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