NFPA moves forward with 730, despite objections

Thursday, May 20, 2004

May 20, 2004

QUINCY, Mass. - Although this year’s National Fire Protection Association’s annual meeting is just gearing up, many members and industry professionals are looking to next year’s conference when NFPA 730 returns to the table.
Whether the guideline, which attempts to set a minimum amount of security in various locales such as hospitals, museums and office buildings, passes is anyone’s guess.
Many professionals who would be affected by the proposal’s implementation are voicing their opinions against it.
“The guideline is too prescriptive and too specific,” said Chad Callaghan, vice president of loss prevention at Marriott International and a member of the NFPA’s Premises Security Technical Committee. “It doesn’t take into consideration how broad our industry is and how many different applications there may be for what they are doing.”
Callaghan said the committee, a 30-member team comprised of individuals across the industry, said the proposed code was voted down twice by the Premises Committee. This and vocal criticism for the code may have propelled the NFPA to downgrade 730 from a code to a guideline before it was released for public comment.
Critics of the guideline, including Callaghan, point out that the NFPA is trying to institute codes in an area where the association has a lack of expertise. Although he commended the NFPA for taking the initiative to look into establishing the guideline, he said they are the wrong group to do it.
“They are not security professionals,” he said, “they are fire professionals.”
But Rich Bielan, the committee’s liaison to the NFPA, said the guidelines go right along with what the NFPA has been doing for more than 100 years.
“The security complements what we’re doing with the building codes and other codes and standards,” he said. “We’ve been doing it since 1896 and it’s not just fire protection.”
For more on this story see the June issue of Security Systems News.