NFPA 731 support split between industry associations

Thursday, June 9, 2005

LAS VEGAS--Industry members were scheduled this week to cast their vote in support or to contest a much debated security installation standard during the NFPA World Safety Conference and Exposition here.
Industry members are divided over the National Fire Protection Association's 731, a standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems. The False Alarm Reduction Association endorsed the standard, while the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association are in opposition and developed a position paper in May on the proposed standard. As of press time for the Security Systems Newswire, NFPA members had not yet voted on the measure.
The views of these industry associations surfaced from what the NFPA 731 outlines--to develop a standard in the design and installation of electronic security systems.
The NBFAA expressed concern that the current equipment in the industry would not meet the standards proposed. The association's position paper addressed the future of what this proposition might bring to the industry and offered alternatives to the proposed standard.
"It does not take into consideration small businesses and multiple family houses not mandated to have a system installed through insurance," said Scot Colby, president of the NBFAA.
Equipment alterations could also invite expenses to the industry, noted Colby.
"There will be increased costs," he said, adding, "and with increased costs, systems would potentially not be installed."
FARA, on the other hand, favors the adoption of NFPA 731. For FARA's mission, the standard provides equipment requirements, and design and installation training standards that will help to reduce false alarms.
The NBFAA urged its members, who are also members of the NFPA and attending the conference, to vote against the standard. This association would like to have the standard be brought back to the Premises Security Technical Committee to be reworked to incorporate the position paper suggestions added Colby.
If NFPA 731 does get voted down, then it could have an opportunity to be re-examined, said Richard Bielen, chief systems and applications engineer of NFPA. However, Bielen conceded, "at this stage, we can not change the document."

For more on this story see the July issue of Security Systems News.