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NFPA-72 2022 Updates

What You Need to Know About the New National Fire Code Regulations

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) made significant revisions to the fire code for buildings and facilities. While the 2022 edition of the NFPA (NFPA-72) may not be incorporated into most local codes immediately, you should be aware of the changes in order to prepare for the implementation of new technology and devices to bring your building up to code in the near future.

At MCA, we understand the importance of complying with fire codes for the protection of those in your building and avoiding costly post-construction implementations. We will work with your local officials to determine what you need and the best and most cost-effective way to deal with these regulations.

From Public Safety DAS solutions to Emergency Alerting, we can help bring your building up to code in no time.

After reading through the NFPA-72 2022, we want to highlight some new features of the code that may be pertinent to you as a building manager, building owner, or contractor for new constructions.

Control and Fire Equipment, and Batteries

Some of the changes to the updated NFPA-72 released in 2022 relate to the protection of control equipment and battery requirements.

Protection of Control Equipment

The mandate to install smoke detectors at control units, power extender panels, and supervising station transmitting equipment has been a matter of debate at the NFPA for some time. Originally, the provision for early warning detection at control equipment included a rider that exempted buildings with full sprinkler systems, although that has since been removed.

NFPA 2022 allows for a risk assessment to be performed by your local AHJ to determine whether your building needs early detection at control equipment.

Abandoned Fire Alarm Equipment

While it has long been considered best practice to remove abandoned fire alarm equipment, the code had not specifically addressed its removal. But NFPA-72 will require abandoned fire equipment to be tagged “out of service” and removed from buildings.

Battery Capacity

In the 2022 edition of the NFPA, the amp-hour capacity of batteries as a standby power source has been increased from 20% to 25%. Additionally, the new code requires rechargeable batteries deployed as a secondary power source for control units.

Cybersecurity

NFPA-72 includes a general statement regarding cybersecurity: that it should be addressed for communication systems when required by existing laws, codes, or standards.

The Annex to NFPA-72 offers more precise language regarding cybersecurity protocols, along with guidance on compliance and certification. In particular, four documents relate to matters such as firewalls for software updates, remote software security standards, and related cybersecurity issues for the installers of systems and devices.

They are:

MCA offers guidance on cybersecurity implementation to businesses and organizations.

Circuits and Pathways

Enhanced pathway survivability has been added to the code. Circuits are now required to possess one-hour fire protection through fire-rated circuit integrity cables, one-hour cable systems, or one-hour fire-rated enclosures.

In the context of NFPA-72, survivability means survivability from fire events. Notification of individuals beyond the area of origin of the fire is required if your building was not designed for total evacuation in the event of a fire.

Safety features such as Emergency Lighting and Beacons from MCA can be deployed to address the survivability of your building’s occupants.

Testing and Inspection

Importantly, NFPA-72 makes one big addition when it comes to testing, inspection, and maintenance of warning and detection systems in buildings. Wireless communications have been added to the NFPA testing table.

In-building public safety Emergency Radio Responder Coverage was something that was only lightly enforced until recently. But the new code takes a firmer stance on in-building wireless communication. 

If you own or manage a building and find yourself wondering what you need to comply with the new code, MCA possesses the expertise when it comes to distributed antenna systems (DAS) for buildings and facilities.

Emergency Notification Signals

Earlier editions of the NFPA lacked explicit regulations and requirements surrounding evacuation signals with specific reference to the duration of their operation. Emergency notification systems had always been required, but NFPA-72 now specifies that evacuation signals and emergency digital signage must be manually silenced or reset by authorized emergency personnel.

Additionally, the language of the code makes it clear that the placement of lighting beacons and emergency signage must be clear from any obstruction. If you’re uncertain whether or not your emergency signage, lighting beacons, etc. meet the standards spelled out in NFPA-72, MCA has ample experience working with local AHJs to make sure buildings comply with codes.

Conclusion

While the above does not cover every aspect of the new code, it gives a good overview of some of the larger changes to the NFPA, which was last revised in 2019.

At MCA, we possess extensive knowledge and experience assisting building owners and managers in bringing their facilities up to code. Working alongside your local AHJ, we can deliver in-building radio and Public Safety DAS, along with Emergency Mass Notification Systems.

Learn more about how to get your building certified (and recertified) with our expert installers and professional building safety experts.

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