2016 NFPA 72 Code - Current Edition
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  • Description

    State-of-the-art coverage in the 2016, NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code® reflects new technologies and applications.

    The traditional role of fire alarm systems is rapidly evolving. Now, the benchmark for fire alarm systems has changed to give designers, engineers, contractors, installers, and inspectors rules that reflect the current state of the field. An industry milestone, the 2016 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code has the most advanced provisions ever developed for the application, installation, location, performance, and inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm and emergency communications systems -- including Mass Notification Systems (MNS).

    New NFPA 72 facilitates interconnections using networks.

    A special task group on networks addressed the risk analysis, design, application, installation, and performance of networks and networking equipment in fire alarm systems, fire EVACS, and MNS. As a result of their findings, NFPA 72 includes a new circuit designation called Class N pathways permitting the use of networks and Ethernet when interconnecting a fire alarm system.

    Other changes help you avoid the loss of critical coverage and ensure system interfaces function correctly, such as:

    • Significant revisions in Chapter 21, Emergency Control Function Interfaces and Chapter 24, Emergency Communications Systems
    • Revisions to Level 2 and Level 3 pathway survivability requirements revised to provide greater flexibility of use and to address other “fire-resistive” methods
    • A new Annex on Guidelines for Emergency Communication Strategies for Buildings and Campuses

    Hundreds of other revisions make the 2016 NFPA 72 indispensable.

    New and updated definitions bring the Code up-to-date and put all users on the same page. The 2016 edition of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code covers new ground from beginning to end. Order direct from NFPA®, the Code source. (Print, 369 pp., 2016) 

    Are you interested in either the 2022 or 2019 edition of NFPA 72? Find them here.
    Interested in the 2013 or previous editions of NFPA 72? Find them here.

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    • A handbook is a connector—linking requirements to application by helping you understand the reasoning behind a code or standard

    The simplest way to think about it is that codes and standards list the technical requirements while handbooks explain those requirements to clarify how to apply them.

  • Table of Contents

    NFPA 72® National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, 2016 Edition

    Chapter 1 Administration
    1.1 Scope
    1.2 Purpose
    1.3 Application
    1.4 Retroactivity
    1.5 Equivalency
    1.6 Units and Formulas
    1.7 Code Adoption Requirements
    Chapter 2 Referenced Publications
    2.1 General
    2.2 NFPA Publications
    2.3 Other Publications
    2.4 References for Extracts in Mandatory Sections
    Chapter 3 Definitions
    3.1 General
    3.2 NFPA Official Definitions
    3.3 General Definitions
    Chapter 4 Reserved
    Chapter 5 Reserved
    Chapter 6 Reserved
    Chapter 7 Documentation
    7.1 Application. (SIG-FUN)
    7.2 Minimum Required Documentation. (SIG-FUN)
    7.3 Design (Layout) Documentation
    7.4 Shop Drawings (Installation Documentation). (SIG-FUN)
    7.5 Completion Documentation
    7.6 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance Documentation. (SIG-TMS)
    7.7 Records, Record Retention, and Record Maintenance
    7.8 Forms
    Chapter 8 Reserved
    Chapter 9 Reserved
    Chapter 10 Fundamentals
    10.1 Application
    10.2 Purpose
    10.3 Equipment
    10.4 Design and Installation
    10.5 Personnel Qualifications
    10.6 Power Supplies
    10.7 Signal Priority
    10.8 Detection and Signaling of Conditions
    10.9 Responses
    10.10 Distinctive Signals
    10.11 Alarm Signals
    10.12 Fire Alarm Notification Appliance Deactivation
    10.13 Supervisory Signals
    10.14 Trouble Signals
    10.15 Emergency Control Function Status Indicators
    10.16 Notification Appliance Circuits and Control Circuits
    10.17 Annunciation and Annunciation Zoning
    10.18 Monitoring Integrity of In-Building Fire Emergency Voice/Alarm Communications Systems
    10.19 Documentation and Notification
    10.20 Impairments
    10.21 Unwanted Alarms
    Chapter 11 Reserved
    Chapter 12 Circuits and Pathways
    12.1 Application
    12.2 General
    12.3 Pathway Class Designations
    12.4 Pathway Survivability
    12.5 Shared Pathway Designations
    12.6 Monitoring Integrity and Circuit Performance of Installation Conductors and Other Signaling Channels
    12.7 Nomenclature
    Chapter 13 Reserved
    Chapter 14 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance
    14.1 Application
    14.2 General
    14.3 Inspection
    14.4 Testing
    14.5 Maintenance
    14.6 Records
    Chapter 15 Reserved
    Chapter 16 Reserved
    Chapter 17 Initiating Devices
    17.1 Application
    17.2 Purpose
    17.3 Performance-Based Design
    17.4 General Requirements
    17.5 Requirements for Smoke and Heat Detectors
    17.6 Heat-Sensing Fire Detectors
    17.7 Smoke-Sensing Fire Detectors
    17.8 Radiant Energy-Sensing Fire Detectors
    17.9 Combination, Multi-Criteria, and Multi-Sensor Detectors
    17.10 Gas Detection
    17.11 Other Fire Detectors
    17.12 Sprinkler Waterflow Alarm-Initiating Devices
    17.13 Detection of Operation of Other Automatic Extinguishing Systems
    17.14 Manually Actuated Alarm-Initiating Devices
    17.15 Fire Extinguisher Electronic Monitoring Device
    17.16 Supervisory Signal-Initiating Devices
    Chapter 18 Notification Appliances
    18.1 Application
    18.2 Purpose
    18.3 General
    18.4 Audible Characteristics
    18.5 Visible Characteristics - Public Mode
    18.6 Visible Characteristics - Private Mode
    18.7 Supplementary Visible Signaling Method
    18.8 Textual Audible Appliances
    18.9 Textual and Graphical Visible Appliances
    18.10 Tactile Appliances
    18.11 Standard Emergency Service Interface
    Chapter 19 Reserved
    Chapter 20 Reserved
    Chapter 21 Emergency Control Function Interfaces
    21.1 Application
    21.2 General
    21.3 Elevator Phase I Emergency Recall Operation
    21.4 Elevator Shutdown
    21.5 Fire Service Access Elevators
    21.6 Occupant Evacuation Elevators
    21.7 Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) Systems
    21.8 Door and Shutter Release
    21.9 Electrically Locked Doors
    21.10 Exit Marking Audible Notification Systems
    Chapter 22 Reserved
    Chapter 23 Protected Premises Fire Alarm Systems
    23.1 Application
    23.2 General
    23.3 System Features
    23.4 System Performance and Integrity
    23.5 Performance of Initiating Device Circuits (IDCs)
    23.6 Performance of Signaling Line Circuits (SLCs)
    23.7 Performance of Notification Appliance Circuits (NACs)
    23.8 System Requirements
    23.9 In-Building Fire Emergency Voice/Alarm Communications
    23.10 Fire Alarm Systems Using Tone
    23.11 Suppression System Actuation
    23.12 Off-Premises Signals
    23.13 Guard's Tour Supervisory Service
    23.14 Suppressed (Exception Reporting) Signal System
    23.15 Protected Premises Emergency Control Functions
    23.16 Special Requirements for Low-Power Radio (Wireless) Systems
    Chapter 24 Emergency Communications Systems (ECS)
    24.1 Application
    24.2 Purpose
    24.3 General
    24.4 In-Building Fire Emergency Voice/Alarm Communications Systems (EVACS)
    24.5 In-Building Mass Notification Systems
    24.6 Wide-Area Mass Notification Systems
    24.7 Distributed Recipient Mass Notification Systems (DRMNS)
    24.8 Two-Way, In-Building Wired Emergency Services Communications Systems
    24.9 Two-Way Radio Communications Enhancement Systems
    24.10 Area of Refuge (Area of Rescue Assistance) Emergency Communications Systems
    24.11 Elevator Emergency Communications Systems
    24.12 Stairway Communications Systems
    24.13 Information, Command, and Control
    24.14 Performance-Based Design of Mass Notification Systems
    24.15 Documentation for Emergency Communications Systems
    Chapter 25 Reserved
    Chapter 26 Supervising Station Alarm Systems
    26.1 Application
    26.2 General
    26.3 Central Station Service Alarm Systems
    26.4 Proprietary Supervising Station Alarm Systems
    26.5 Remote Supervising Station Alarm Systems
    26.6 Communications Methods for Supervising Station Alarm Systems
    Chapter 27 Public Emergency Alarm Reporting Systems
    27.1 Application
    27.2 General Fundamentals
    27.3 Management and Maintenance
    27.4 Communications Methods
    27.5 Alarm Processing Equipment
    27.6 Alarm Boxes
    27.7 Public Cable Plant
    27.8 Emergency Communications Systems (ECS)
    Chapter 28 Reserved
    Chapter 29 Single- and Multiple-Station Alarms and Household Fire Alarm Systems
    29.1 Application
    29.2 Purpose
    29.3 Basic Requirements
    29.4 Assumptions
    29.5 Detection and Notification
    29.6 Power Supplies
    29.7 Equipment Performance
    29.8 Installation
    29.9 Optional Functions
    29.10 Maintenance and Tests
    29.11 Markings and Instructions
    Annex A Explanatory Material
    Annex B Engineering Guide for Automatic Fire Detector Spacing
    Annex C System Performance and Design Guide
    Annex D Speech Intelligibility
    Annex E Sample Ordinance Adopting NFPA 72
    Annex F Wiring Diagrams and Guide for Testing Fire Alarm Circuits
    Annex G Guidelines for Emergency Communication Strategies for Buildings and Campuses
    Annex H Informational References
  • Prior Editions

    NFPA 72®: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code evolves to help you save lives with fire detection, signaling, and emergency communications systems that function as intended.

    NFPA 72 provides requirements for the design, application, installation, performance, testing, and maintenance of protective signaling systems and their components. The Code was expanded and renamed for the 2010 edition to include requirements for Mass Notification Systems (MNS) used for weather emergencies; terrorist events; biological, chemical, and nuclear emergencies; and other threats. Fire protection engineers, designers, installers, contractors, maintainers, electricians, Authorities Having Jurisdiction (AHJs), manufacturers, facilities operators, and anyone involved with fire alarm or emergency communications needs NFPA 72 to work confidently with these life-saving early warning systems.

    The 2013 NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code features significant revisions that clarify fire alarm and emergency communications systems rules and enhance usability. New Chapter 7 consolidates all documentation provisions into one location, helping Code users and AHJs improve efficiency and save time. Other major changes include a reorganized inspection table with specific inspection methods; a new testing table that merges two previous tables into one -- with both test methods and frequencies side by side for improved usability; revised supervising station transmission methods; and new requirements for audible and visible occupant notification.

    The 2010 NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code presents the most extensive change to the Code since the 1993 edition, with a new scope and revised organization. Besides the core focus on fire alarm systems, this edition adds requirements for Mass Notification Systems (MNS) used for weather emergencies; terrorist events; biological, chemical, and nuclear emergencies; and other threats. NFPA 72's broader coverage is reflected in a new Code title. In addition to updating rules for in-building fire emergency voice/alarm communication systems, a new Emergency Communications System chapter addresses in-building and wide-area MNSs.

    The 2007 NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm Code presents technology- and research-driven changes that offer improved egress time and system reliability. A new Mass Notification Systems Annex developed at the request of the U.S. Air Force provides guidelines to facilitate fast, safe evacuation in emergency situations such as fire, terrorist attack, biological and hazardous chemical incidents, accidents, and natural disasters. Added requirements for new technology equipment include new rules for video image smoke and flame detection, detectors that use multiple sensing inputs, fire extinguisher monitors, and directional appliances.

    The 2002 NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm Code offers comprehensive requirements to support your work with the design, application, installation, performance, testing, and maintenance of protective signaling systems and their components. This edition provides additional coverage of performance-based detection and visible signaling systems, and new requirements for integrating fire alarm systems with other building systems.

    The 1999 NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm Code is a trusted guide to the design, installation, maintenance, testing, and use of fire alarm systems. Separate groupings for system inputs, systems outputs, system functions, and general requirements enhance the Code's user-friendly design. This edition of NFPA 72 introduces a new requirement to synchronize the temporal-three standard evacuation signal within a notification zone, increased audibility requirements for emergency voice/alarm communications systems, and qualification requirements for fire alarm systems designers.

    Find previous editions of NFPA 72 here.

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  • eForms Table of Contents

    eForms Table of Contents

    • System Record of Completion
    • Emergency Communications Systems Supplementary Record of Completion
    • Power Systems Supplementary Record of Completion
    • Notification Appliance Power Panel Supplementary Record of Completion
    • Interconnected Systems Supplementary Record of Completion
    • Deviations from Adopted Codes and Standards Supplementary Record of Completion
    • System Record of Inspection and Testing
    • Notification Appliance Supplementary Record of Inspection and Testing
    • Initiating Device Supplementary Record of Inspection and Testing
    • Mass Notification System Supplementary Record of Inspection and Testing
    • Emergency Communications Systems Supplementary Record of Inspection and Testing
    • Interface Component Supplementary Record of Inspection and Testing
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  • Also in NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code