Industry Topics

Resources

Background
Basic Fire Alarm Definitions
Code Standards
Homeowner Organizations and Links
Industry Links
Standards and Approving Agencies

 
Background

Established in 1896, NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) serves as the world's leading advocate of fire prevention and is an authoritative source on public safety. In fact, NFPA's 300 codes and standards influence every building, process, service, design, and installation in the United States, as well as many of those used in other countries. NFPA's focus on true consensus has helped the association's code-development process earn accreditation from the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

Following is a list of several of the publications the NFPA is responsible for. In addition, we have added organization links for professionals and for anyone looking to further inform themselves about the fire protection industry. We have also included some fire industry definitions. Those listed are but a fraction of what can be found in the current NFPA 72, but we have listed what we believe would be the most relevant to industry and lay person alike.

At TC Life Safety we believe education is foremost in preventing loss of life and property related to fire incidents. Please let us know if there is any additional information you would wish to see or have access to.

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Basic Fire Alarm Definitions

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

Addressable Device: A fire alarm system component with discrete identification that can have its status individually identified or that is used to individually control other functions.

Alarm: A warning of fire danger.

Alarm Verification Feature: A feature of automatic fire detection and alarm systems to reduce unwanted alarms where in smoke detectors report alarm conditions for a minimum period of time, or confirm alarm conditions within a given time period after being reset, in order to be accepted as a valid alarm initiation signal.

Analog Initiating Device: An initiating device that transmits a signal indicating varying degrees of condition as contrasted with a conventional initiating device, which can only indicate an on–off condition.

Annunciator: A unit containing one or more indicator lamps, alphanumeric displays, or other equivalent means in which each indication provides status information about a circuit, condition, or location.

Approved: Acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction.

Audible Notification Appliance: A notification appliance that alerts by the sense of hearing.

Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ): The organization, office or individual responsible for approving equipment, materials, an installation or a procedure.

Automatic Fire Detectors: Either individual devices or prescribed combinations of devices designed to detect flame, heat, smoke, or combustion gases resulting from fire.

Auxiliary Fire Alarm System: A system connected to a municipal fire alarm system for transmitting an alarm of fire to the public fire service communications center. Fire alarms from an auxiliary fire alarm system are received at the public fire service communications center on the same equipment and by the same methods as alarms transmitted manually from municipal fire alarm boxes located on streets.

Central Station: A supervising station that is listed for central station service.

Central Station Fire Alarm System: A system or group of systems in which the operations of circuits and devices are transmitted automatically to, recorded in, maintained by, and supervised from a listed central station that has competent and experienced servers and operators who, upon receipt of a signal, take such action as required by this Code. Such service is to be controlled and operated by a person, firm, or corporation whose business is the furnishing, maintaining, or monitoring of supervised fire alarm systems.

Certification: A systematic program that uses randomly selected follow-up inspections of the certificated systems installed under the program that allows the listing organization to verify that a fire alarm system complies with all the requirements of this Code. A system installed under such a program is identified by the issuance of a certificate and is designated as a certificated system.

Code: A standard that is an extensive compilation of provisions covering broad subject matter or that is suitable for adoption into law independently of other codes and standards.

Coded: An audible or visible signal that conveys several discrete bits or units of information. Notification signal examples are numbered strokes of an impact-type appliance and numbered flashes of a visible appliance.

Combination Detector: A device that either responds to more than one of the fire phenomenon or employs more than one operating principle to sense one of these phenomenon. Typical examples are a combination of a heat detector with a smoke detector or a combination rate-of-rise and fixed-temperature heat detector.

Combination System: A fire alarm system in which components are used, in whole or in part, in common with a non-fire signaling system.

Compatibility Listed: A specific listing process that applies only to two-wire devices, such as smoke detectors, that are designed to operate with certain control equipment.

Detector: A device suitable for connection to a circuit that has a sensor that responds to physical stimulus such as heat or smoke.

Detector Examples:

Air Sampling Type Detector: A detector that consists of a piping or tubing distribution network that runs from the detector to the area(s) to be protected. An aspiration fan in the detector housing draws air from the protected area back to the detector through air sampling ports, piping, or tubing. At the detector, the air is analyzed for fire products.

Combination Detector: A device that either responds to more than one of the fire phenomenon or employs more than one operating principle to sense one of these phenomenon. Typical examples are a combination of a heat detector with a smoke detector or a
combination rate-of-rise and fixed-temperature heat detector.

Fire-Gas Detector: A device that detects gases produced by a fire.

Fixed Temperature Detector: A device that responds when its operating element becomes heated to a predetermined level.

Flame Detector: A radiant energy–sensing fire detector that detects the radiant energy emitted by a flame.

Heat Detector: A fire detector that detects either abnormally high temperature or rate of temperature rise, or both.

Ionization Smoke Detection: The principle of using a small amount of radioactive material to ionize the air between two differentially charged electrodes to sense the presence of smoke particles. Smoke particles entering the ionization volume decrease the conductance of the air by reducing ion mobility. The reduced conductance signal is processed and used to convey an alarm condition when it meets preset criteria.

Photoelectric Light Obscuration Smoke Detection: The principle of using a light source and a photosensitive sensor onto which the
principal portion of the source emissions is focused. When smoke particles enter the light path, some of the light is scattered and some is absorbed, thereby reducing the light reaching the receiving sensor. The light reduction signal is processed and used to convey an alarm condition when it meets preset criteria.

Photoelectric Light-Scattering Smoke Detection: The principle of using a light source and a photosensitive sensor arranged so that the rays from the light source do not normally fall onto the photosensitive sensor. When smoke particles enter the light path, some of the light is scattered by reflection and refraction onto the sensor. The light signal is processed and used to convey an alarm condition when it meets preset criteria.

Projected Beam-Type Detector: A type of photoelectric light obscuration smoke detector wherein the beam spans the protected area.

Rate Compensation Detector: A device that responds when the temperature of the air surrounding the device reaches a predetermined level, regardless of the rate of temperature rise.

Rate of Rise Detector: A device that responds when the temperature rises at a rate exceeding a predetermined value.

Smoke Detector: A device that detects visible or invisible particles of combustion.

Digital Alarm Communicator Transmitter (DACT): A system component at the protected premises to which initiating devices or groups of devices are connected. The DACT seizes the connected telephone line, dials a pre-selected number to connect to a DACR, and transmits signals indicating a status change of the initiating device.

Fire Alarm Control Unit (Panel): A system component that receives inputs from automatic and manual fire alarm devices and might supply power to detection devices and to a transponder(s) or off premises transmitter(s). The control unit might also provide transfer of power to the notification appliances and transfer of condition to relays or devices connected to the control unit. The fire alarm control unit can be a local fire alarm control unit or a master control unit.

Fire Alarm System: A system or portion of a combination system consisting of components and circuits arranged to monitor and indicate the status of fire alarm or supervisory signal initiating devices and to initiate appropriate response to these signals.

Initiating Device: A system component that originates transmission of a change-of-state condition, such as in a smoke detector, manual fire alarm box, or supervisory switch.

Labeled: Equipment or materials to which has been attached a label, symbol, or other identifying mark of an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with product evaluation, that maintains periodic inspection of production of labeled equipment or materials, and by whose labeling the manufacturer indicates compliance with appropriate standards or performance in a specified manner.

Listed: Equipment, materials, or services included in a list published by an organization that is acceptable to the authority having jurisdiction and concerned with evaluation of products or services that maintains periodic inspection of production of listed equipment or materials or periodic evaluation of services, and whose listing states that either the equipment, material, or service meets appropriate designated standards or has been tested and found suitable for a specified purpose.

Manual Fire Alarm Box: A manually operated device used to initiate an alarm signal.

Master Box: A municipal fire alarm box that can also be operated by remote means:

Municipal Fire Alarm Box (Street Box): An enclosure housing a manually operated transmitter used to send an alarm to the public fire service communications center.

Notification Appliance: A fire alarm system component such as a bell, horn, speaker, strobe, printer, and so forth, that provides an audible or visible output, or both.

Pull Station: See Manual Fire Alarm Box

Shall: Indicates a mandatory requirement.

Should: Indicates a recommendation or that which is advised, but not required.

Smoke Detector: See Detector

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Code Standards

NFPA: National Fire Protection Association: (NFPA) disseminates, develops, and publishes fire safety standards in the United States.

NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm & Signaling Code: Covers the application, installation, location, performance, and maintenance of fire alarm systems and their components.

NFPA 70: (NEC) National Electrical Code: Covers the installation of electric conductors, electric equipment, signaling and communications conductors and equipment, fiber optic cables and raceways.

NFPA 101: Life Safety Code : Document that establishes a minimum threshold of safety in all new and existing buildings.

International Fire Code (IFC) : Includes regulations governing the safeguarding of life and property from all types of fire and explosions hazards.

For more information or in depth definitions regarding the above publications and their purpose, please refer to: http://www.nfpa.org

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Homeowner Organizations and Links

BeFireSmart.com: - Tips and info for schools and homeowners (parents, children and firefighters) Site includes interactive games.
Better Business Bureau : Organization that serves consumers and business.
Carbon Monoxide Laws by State: View CO laws by state.
Contractors License Reference Site : Verify a contractors licensing information.
FireFacts.org : Informative resource focused on fire safety for families and educators.
Guide to Schools Offering Fire Science Degrees - non-profit web site with a comprehensive list of schools offering fire science educational programs
Home Hazards : Fun, interactive resource that allows kids to get a visual understanding of different hazards in the house.
Home Safety Council : Tools and tips for home safety
Smokey Signals Inc. : Fire prevention promotional material and information.
U.S Fire Administration: Division of homeland security dedicated fire safety.  Informational resource.

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Industry Organizations and Links

American Society of Safety Engineers
Automatic Fire Alarm Association
Building Owners and Manager's Association
Fire Suppression Systems Association
Institute of Electrical and Electronics Engineers
International Code Council
National Association of Fire Equipment Distributors
National Association of State Fire Marshals
National Burglar and Fire Alarm Association
National Fire Protection Association
National Institute in Certification of Engineering Technologies
National Volunteer Fire Council
Security Industry Association
Society of Fire Protection Engineers

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Standards and Approving Agencies

The American National Standards Institute: (ANSI)
The American Society for Quality
California State Fire Marshal: (CSFM)
Factory Mutual : (FM)
ISO9000 Web Directory
Materials and Equipment Acceptance (NY): (MEA)
National Electrical Manufacturers Association : (NEMA)
Underwriters Laboratories, Inc. : (UL)

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