NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code®, Prior Years

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NFPA 101

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NFPA 101 Handbook

2015 NFPA 101 Current Edition & Handbook


NFPA 101®: Life Safety Code® is the most widely used source for strategies for occupant safety throughout the life cycle of a building.

Make decisions that impact lives with strategies for occupant safety in NFPA 101: Life Safety Code. Unique in the field, it is the only Code that covers life safety in both new and existing structures. Requirements address building construction, protection, and occupancy features that minimize the effects of fire and related hazards. Each edition builds on important new information about life safety in the built environment, with consensus-based changes that reflect innovative designs, technologies, materials, and construction practices. When tragedies do occur, investigations invariably reveal serious Life Safety Code violations.

The 2012 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code evolves to address new building safety challenges and important lessons learned about occupant safety. For this edition of the Code, all new high-rise buildings must meet the requirements of Chapter 11's high-rise building package. Other major changes involve rules for CO alarms and detection systems in certain residential living units, exit stair enclosure path markings, and egress provisions for safe use of elevators for occupant evacuation. Provisions for health care occupancies include compliance options that give patients and residents a more comfortable, home-like environment.

The 2009 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code builds on the groundbreaking sprinkler mandates in the previous edition, with added requirements for automatic sprinklers in all existing high-rise health care occupancies and all new apartment buildings without exception. New evacuation strategies and technologies facilitate faster movement of more people in an emergency, including new egress capacity criteria for stairs that are more than 44 inches in width. The 2009 edition of NFPA 101 enhances safety with health care occupancy door locking for patient protective needs, and 2-way communication systems in areas of refuge -- even where the building is sprinklered -- to let people notify responders of their location.

The 2006 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code expands requirements for automatic fire sprinkler protection with added sprinkler mandates for all new one- and two-family dwellings, new and existing nursing homes, existing nightclub assembly occupancies where occupant load exceeds 100 people, and new nightclub assembly occupancies regardless of occupant load. This important Code edition also presents a chapter on existing building rehabilitation that provides greater flexibility to encourage adaptive reuse without sacrificing life safety. Previously, modifications to existing buildings had to comply with provisions for new construction. Now, Chapter 43 introduces specific requirements for repairs, renovations, reconstruction, additions, change of use or occupancy classification, and work on historic buildings.

The 2003 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code is a complete safety system that includes rules for the full range of occupancies; egress requirements, stair markings, and emergency lighting; provisions concerning features of fire protection; and a sophisticated performance-based option for code compliance. Code users will find revised illumination levels for new stairs, a section addressing written emergency plans, revised requirements for testing of mattresses and upholstered furniture, and a section with "analytical methods" for determining the fire resistance of building assemblies. Other changes address subdivision of building space in apartment buildings, new hotels, and dormitories; and safe egress requirements in industrial occupancies.

The 2000 NFPA 101: Life Safety Code references nearly 50 other important codes and standards -- including the NFPA 70: National Electrical Code (NEC), NFPA 13, and NFPA 72. Only NFPA 101 links all these critical codes and standards together to cover all the bases for life safety in any occupancy. Renumbered chapters facilitate referencing. Expanded definitions and an informative primer for new users help you guide workers and educate clients. This edition introduces first-time Chapter 5: Performance-Based Option, with critical guidance for engineers and AHJs working with performance-based design.


Interested in other editions of NFPA 101? Use the drop down menu above to select the edition year you need.

NFPA®'s Redline PDF contains both the current NFPA document and a Redline version of the document which shows changes from the previous edition marked in color. With the Redline you can quickly spot changed sections and tell specifically what has been changed from the previous edition, saving time and confusion.

  • Changed sections are marked with a vertical rule.
  • Deleted material is shown in red strikethrough type.
  • New material appears in blue underscored type.


Sample (NEC® 2014)

411.2411.3 Definition. Low-Voltage Lighting Systems.


(A) General. Lighting Ssystems Ooperating at 30 Volts- volts or  Less. A lighting system consisting less shall consist of an isolating power supply, the low-voltage luminaires, and associated equipment that are all identified for the use. The output circuits of the power supply are shall be rated for not more than 25 amperes and  operate at 30 volts (42.4 volts peak) or lessmaximum under all load conditions.


(B) Class 2. Listed Class 2 lighting equipment shall be rated in conformance with Chapter 9, Table 11(A) or Table 11(B).


411.3411.4 Listing Required. Lighting systems operating at 30 volts or less shall comply with 411.3(A)411.4(A) or 

411.3(B).411.4(B). Class 2 power sources and lighting equipment connected to Class 2 power sources shall be llisted.