Meeting NFPA 72 Standards in 2019

Meeting NFPA 72 Standards in 2019

NFPA 72, officially known as the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, was created by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to regulate the installation, maintenance, inspection, and testing of alarms.
The code also provides guidelines on mass notification systems for nuclear, chemical, and biological emergencies, terrorist events, weather emergencies, and other emergency situations.

Major Updates to NFPA 72 for 2019

Here’s a brief rundown of the major changes and updates to the 2019 edition of NFPA 72.

Requirements for Carbon Monoxide Detection

Perhaps the biggest change in this section was the removal and integration of NFPA 720 (standards and requirements for carbon monoxide systems, detectors, and alarms) into NFPA 72. Chapter 17 covers system detection and chapter 29 standalone detectors.
Some wordings were also changed for clarity. For example, “speaker” was changed to “loudspeaker” when referring to a notification device. And “visible” became “visual” to dispel the direct observation of an alarm otification device. Among others.

Fire Alarm Control Units Protection

Fire alarm control units that are installed in non-continuously inhabited or occupied areas still require smoke detectors (section 10.4.5), however, the newly added section 10.4.6. exempts dedicated control units which don’t provide signals inside the building or to an external supervising station.
However, many building and fire codes require the sending of water flow alarm notification signals to supervising stations, which means that early detection smoke detectors might still be needed.


The rules for elevators designated for occupant evacuation operation and fire service access underwent significant changes, mostly for a more seamless coordination with the new rules introduced in the Safety Code for Elevators and Escalators.
Chapter 24 now incorporates new requirements and rules regarding communication systems in stairways, elevator landing areas, and occupant evacuation lobbies. Chapter 14 added rules for Valve-Regulated Lead-Acid​ (VRLA) batteries.
The words “visible,” “strobe,” and “light” are now “visual notification appliance” to recognize the approved use of LED lights in fire alarms. Finally, fire alarm devices within an elevator shaft must be accessible from the outside.

Visual Alarm Notification Appliances

The 2019 version of NFPA 72 allows for the use of a notification device with a light pulse of longer than 20 milliseconds (ms) and shorter than 100ms. However, it has to be demonstrated that any longer-pulse device is equal or superior to standard devices that use 20ms pulse notifications.
The decision was based on a UL study where it was found that an increased candela output in devices with a longer pulse can have the same level of alert as standard 20ms devices.


These are the biggest changes to the 2019 version of NFPA 72. The military and the federal government adopted the changes immediately, and local jurisdictions are expected to follow suit within the next couple of years.
CFC Systems is a veteran-owned company that has been serving the state of Florida since 1980. CFC specializes in the service and installation of ​ fire alarms​ , ​ fire sprinkler and ​ electronic security systems​ . CFC is laser focused on delivering the highest quality workmanship and customer service to their clients. For questions regarding the latest NFPA 72 2019 version, feel free to ​ contact us directly or ​ click here to learn more.