Consult the NFPA’s Life Safety Code for Fire Safety Guidelines – But Don’t Forget State and Local Codes

Posted on: July 26, 2017

Whether managing, building, or remodeling a structure, it pays to consult NFPA’s Life Safety Code

If you own, manage, or are otherwise responsible for a building, fire safety should be a major priority. While everyone knows that safety elements such as exit signs, fire alarms, and regularly-placed fire extinguishers are important for fire safety, these features are just the tip of the iceberg when it comes to making sure a structure is truly protected from fires.

To learn more, you’ll want to turn to the experts at the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), the largest and oldest fire safety trade organization in the United States. The NFPA publishes and regularly updates the NFPA 101: Life Safety Code, a comprehensive guide to fire safety strategies and policies designed to help protect buildings and their occupants from fires.

The NFPA Life Safety Code addresses a variety of fire safety issues

The NFPA Life Safety Code doesn’t simply issue guidelines for one or two kinds of buildings; it goes in depth to discuss all kinds of structures, and includes guidance on elements such as sprinkler systems, fire alarms, lighting for emergencies, and protection from special or unique hazards. Additionally, the code is the only document in the fire safety field that presents fire safety regulations for both new and existing buildings, making it extremely useful for a variety of construction and renovation purposes.

Many state and local governments, as well as federal agencies have adopted a version of the code

The NFPA’s Life Safety Code was designed to be easily adopted by state, local, and federal fire regulations, and many governments use it to function as their fire code. However, some governments and agencies use an older version of the code or an edited version with specific changes unique to their city, state, or government organization. To learn if the NFPA 101 code has been adopted in your area, you should contact your state fire marshal, as well as any other state or federal agencies that may need to approve your building for specific or highly-regulated uses.

For example, a hospital undergoing construction or renovations may need more than just a state fire marshal’s fire safety approval; the project may also need the go-ahead from the state’s healthcare licensing agency, the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, the hospital or healthcare company’s insurance carrier, state building officials, and potentially multiple other parties.

For basic questions, consult the NFPA Life Safety Code FAQs

While the NFPA Life Safety Code is a meticulously produced and detailed guide, it may be difficult to read through it if you have a simple question. That’s why NFPA created an FAQ section on their website to help answer a few basic, commonly-asked questions about subjects including the difference between new construction and renovation, the necessity of sprinklers in various building types and situations, and the rules involving common building elements such as doors, stairs, and hallways.

Of course, if you’re doing any serious construction or renovation, it’s essential to have a life safety expert review all your state, local, and any applicable agency building codes in detail – but if you just have a question or two, guides like NFPA’s FAQs are a great way to start.

To learn more about NFPA’s Life Safety Code and how it affects your current structure or a renovation or construction project, contact the experts at LifeSafety Management today at (800) 330-1158 or through our contact form for a free consultation.