Speak now or hold peace on NFPA 731

Thursday, May 25, 2006

QUINCY, Mass.--Security integrators and installers have until tomorrow, May 26, to submit a proposal telling the National Fire Protection Association what they think should be changed, omitted or added to NFPA 731.
The code is of interest to many because it's new and it regulates the installation of security systems in commercial applications. Approved last August, the code broke new ground as the "first consensus-based security installation code," said Richard Bielen, NFPA chief systems and applications engineer.
There was some initial "pushback" from some in the security industry who thought that the NFPA should stick to strictly fire codes. Those objections have dissipated, Bielen said, and many from the security industry are now involved with the process.
George Bish, the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association representative to the NFPA 731 committee, and a project manager for North America Inc, dba Advanced Technologies of Coral Gables, Fla., said he believes the industry needs this type of code. However, "since it's brand new, it does need some tweaking and in some cases a bit of wrenching, especially where new technologies are concerned," he said.
He cited the example of the use of CCTV in the security field, "We used to think that the only way to detect motion to initiate an alarm was through the use of motion detectors, whether ultrasonic, microwave or passive....well today, we have the ability to detect motion through pixels on monitors and to initiate an alarm," he said.
The codes need to recognize that CCTV can be used as a motion detector, he said.
He also said that measures, such as two-call verification, which "we know reduces false alarms," need to be expanded on in the new version of the code."
Bielen expects more than 100 proposals to arrive by Friday. The next step will be a review of all proposals to determine whether they have merit. Any areas not covered in the proposals or brought up by committee members may not be discussed as the process goes forward, Bielin noted. The newly revised code will be up for approval in 2007.