The evolution of standards: The NFPA fall meeting adopts a long list of changes, and two new codes

The evolution of standards: The NFPA fall meeting adopts a long list of changes, and two new codes

The National Fire Protection Association has added two new items to its list of standards and recommendations.

NFPA 1964, “Spray Nozzles,” specifies operational performance standards for adjustable pattern nozzles designed for fire service use. And NFPA 92A, “Smoke Control Systems,” details recommended practices for the design, installation, testing, and maintenance of new and retrofitted mechanical air conditioning and ventilation systems that control smoke.

Both documents were on a 25-item list that got membership approval at the fall meeting in Portland, Ore. Most of the rest were changes—some significant and some subtle—to existing NFPA writings.

Among several dozen changes to the Life Safety Code, known formally as NFPA 101, “Safety to Life from Fire in Buildings and Structures,” are tougher sprinkler rules for a number of occupancies. Whereas the previous version made the devices optional for new high-rise hotels and apartment buildings, they now become mandatory. (That is, the language has changed; NFPA standards are still voluntary, meaning they become law only when local and state governments adopt them as such.)

A lot of exemptions have been eliminated in the part of the code concerning assembly structures that can hold more than 300 people, says chief life safety engineer Jim Lathrop. That means the vast majority of such buildings must be sprinklered where the code is in force. The same is true of exhibition halls and special amusement buildings because of new provisions in the code.

To help fire officials and architects determine what qualifies as an equivalent compliance under the Life Safety Code, a new manual is available: NFPA 101M, Systems Approaches to Life Safety.

NFPA 1410, “Initial Fire Attack,” and NFPA 1452, “Training Fire Department Personnel to Make Dwelling Fire Safety Surveys,” have been almost completely rewritten, says fire service specialist Gary Tokle. The latter, a recommended practice, has become easier to use and more up to date, Tokle says. The initial fire attack standard now lists many more evolutions to be used in evaluating a fire department’s effectiveness, as well as appendices defining time frames against which to measure the evolutions.

NFPA 1002, “Fire Apparatus Driver/ Operator Professional Qualifications,” has become more applicable to everyday operations because of changes in it, Tokle says. And NFPA 1962, “Care, Use, and Service Testing of Fire Hose, Including Couplings and Nozzles,” has been brought in line with a revised NFPA 1961, the standard for the hose itself. [See “Under Pressure,” Fire Engineering, December 1987.]

The association has taken a first-time stand on response times for crash/fire rescue through changes to NFPA 403, “Aircraft Rescue and Fire Fighting Services at Airports and Heliports,” says fire service specialist Bruce Teele. Whereas the Federal Aviation Administration has required a three-minute maximum response to the center point of an airport’s farthest runway, NFPA 403 says crews must be able to reach any point on that same runway within two minutes. They have an additional 2 ½ minutes to reach any point in the rapid response area which surrounds the runway.

The same standard—newly converted from a recommended practice—also covers training, amounts of extinguishing agent carried, and discharge rates. In addition, it categorizes airports to determine the amount of fire protection needed.

A new, organic foam is recognized in NFPA 11, “Low Expansion Foam and Combined Agent Systems.” FFFP, or film-forming fluoroprotein, foam is very similar to the more familiar AFFF, aqueous film-forming foam, explains fire protection engineer Mark Conroy. NFPA 11 is the standard for both the foam and its applications.

Copies of the updated codes can be ordered through the NFPA’s Customer Service line, (800) 344-3555. Most are expected to be in print this month, but the Life Safety Code revisions won’t be available until March or April.

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