Residential fire topics on the table

SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, July 1, 2004

With the caveat that the information is “quite preliminary,” and some topics may be on the table to a higher or lesser degree than others, Lee Richardson, senior electrical engineer and staff liaison for NFPA 72, said the National Fire Protection Association is looking at a number of residence-related topics as it begins its code review process scheduled for completion in July 2006.

Among the issues up for discussion, he said, is the use of alarms that feature a parent’s recorded voice to get the attention of a sleeping child. Richardson said some children don’t respond to the sound of alarms, but do wake when hearing a parent’s voice.

Wells Sampson, vice president at American Alarm and Communications, said the Massachusetts-based alarm dealer was arranging to talk with KidSmart, the maker of the vocal fire alarm, to find out more about the product.

“How this product will fall into the code isn’t known,” Sampson said.

Richardson said an alarm’s sound frequency is also an issue for the elderly, so some manufacturers may be looking at using lower horn frequencies. Also under consideration, Richardson said, is the potential to develop new rules for larger homes.

Richardson said anyone can submit a proposal to NFPA. The public proposal closing date is Nov. 5, 2004. Following that, a report will be made available in mid-2005 for public comment, he said.