2022 NFPA 72 Handbook - Current Edition
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  • Description

    Editors: Richard J. Roux, MSFPE, SET, FAI, FAM, and Shawn Mahoney, PE
    Contributor: Warren E Olsen, CFPS, CBO

    Fast-track the process of getting up to date and in compliance with NFPA 72 using the leading resource for guidance on understanding and applying its requirements.

    NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, is the benchmark for fire alarm systems and mass notification systems (MNS) safety criteria. A broadly used and respected document, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook offers insight into the installation, inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm systems, carbon monoxide detection and warning equipment, and emergency communication systems. The handbook includes explanations on how to comply with provisions and expands on criteria and new technology introduced since the previous edition.

    This essential guide represents an excellent value used as a companion to NFPA 72 or to access complete code content alongside the NFPA® knowledge and commentary you won't get with any other publication. The handbook is also the only printed product supporting the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code that offers a Summary of Technical Changes outlining the revisions between the previous edition and the 2022 edition.

    Fully revised for compatibility with the 2022 edition of the code, the handbook provides content on significant revisions, including:

    • New Chapter 11 providing criteria on cybersecurity of fire alarm and signaling systems and new Annex J, Guidelines for Cybersecurity
    • Changes to requirements for pathway survivability for transmitting system information during fire conditions
    • Updates to detector technologies and methods based on industry innovation and advancements
    • New provisions for remote access to fire alarm and signaling systems to manage emergency control functions and coverage on remote access performing diagnostics and software updates
    • Introduction of a color-coded tagging program for visual condition monitoring of alarms and signaling systems
    • A shift in vocabulary and operation of detectors to guard against false triggering, and more

    The NFPA 72 Handbook, 10th edition, 2022 provides the support to help you work accurately and efficiently.

    It's critical that engineers, contractors, consultants, designers, architects, and AHJs operating in jurisdictions that use NFPA 72 or who need to have an understanding of how to apply its requirements have access to the most current knowledge and information. The handbook provides clarification of the code's requirements and directions in implementing them in fire alarm design, installation, inspection, and maintenance in the office or out in the field.

    Contributed by NFPA staff and recognized subject matter experts, the Handbook's content incorporates exclusive learning aids and features, including:

    • Summary of Technical Changes - Information is presented in table format covering everything that changed from the 2019 edition to the 2022 edition. The Summary can also be used to quickly determine where in the code a change has occurred to help you understand and adjust to the updated requirements or go to the commentary in the handbook to learn more about the change.
    • NFPA 72 Code - Full text of the code is included with change indicators so revisions between editions are clearly identified.
    • Visual Aids - Hundreds of full-color photos, graphics, and detailed illustrations help to clarify concepts.
    • Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs are called out with an icon and have been updated for the 2022 edition.
    • Closer Look - Commentary for select instances delves deeper into a particular topic or explores the history of a requirement.
    • System Design Tips - Callouts and icons indicate content as helpful or important to architects and engineers.

    Give yourself an operational edge with industry-leading knowledge of fire detection and fire alarm systems, signaling, emergency communications, and mass notification systems.

    The NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook, 10th edition, 2022, is a smart investment for anyone who uses or enforces the code. Get your copy today!

  • Table of Contents (2022 Current Edition)




    About the Contributor   

    About the Editors   

    NFPA 72 Summary of Technical Changes: 2019 to 2022 

    NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®, 2022 Edition, with Commentary  

    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  

       2   Referenced Publications  

            2.1     General  

            2.2     NFPA Publications  

            2.3     Other Publications  

            2.4     References for Extracts in Mandatory Sections  

       3   Definitions  

            3.1     General  

            3.2     NFPA Official Definitions  

            3.3     General Definitions  

       4   Reserved  

       5   Reserved  

       6   Reserved  

       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 

       8   Reserved  

       9   Reserved   

    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 Carbon Monoxide (CO) Notification Appliance Deactivation  

            10.14 Supervisory Signals  

            10.15 Trouble Signals  

            10.16 Emergency Control Function Status Indicators  

            10.17 Notification Appliance Circuits and Supervised Notification Appliance Control Circuits  

            10.18 Annunciation and Annunciation Zoning  

            10.19 Monitoring Integrity of In-Building Fire Emergency Voice/Alarm Communications Systems  

            10.20 Documentation and Notification  

            10.21 Impairments  

            10.22 Unwanted Alarms  

    11    Cybersecurity  

    11.1 Cybersecurity  

    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  

    13    Reserved   

    14    Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance  

            14.1   Application  

            14.2   General  

            14.3   Inspection  

            14.4   Testing  

            14.5   Maintenance  

            14.6   Records  

    15    Reserved  

    16    Reserved  

    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 Carbon Monoxide Detectors  

            17.13 Sprinkler Waterflow Alarm-Initiating Devices  

            17.14 Detection of Operation of Other Automatic Extinguishing Systems  

            17.15 Manually Actuated Alarm-Initiating Devices  

            17.16 Fire Extinguisher Electronic Monitoring Device  

            17.17 Supervisory Signal–Initiating Devices  

    18    Notification Appliances   

            18.1   Application  

            18.2   Purpose  

            18.3   General  

            18.4   Audible Characteristics  

            18.5   Visual Characteristics — Public Mode  

            18.6   Visual Characteristics — Private Mode  

            18.7   Supplementary Visual Signaling Method  

            18.8   Textual Audible Appliances  

            18.9   Textual and Graphical Visual Appliances  

            18.10 Tactile Appliances         

    19    Reserved  

    20    Reserved  

    21    Emergency Control Function Interfaces  

            21.1   Application  

            21.2   General  

            21.3   Elevator Phase I Emergency Recall Operation  

            21.4   Elevator Power Shutdown  

            21.5   Fire Service Access Elevators  

            21.6   Occupant Evacuation Elevators (OEE)  

            21.7   Heating, Ventilating and Air-Conditioning (HVAC) Systems  

            21.8   High Volume Low Speed (HVLS) Fans  

            21.9   Door and Shutter Release 

            21.10 Electrically Locked Doors  

            21.11 Exit Marking Audible Notification Systems  

    22    Reserved   

    23    Protected Premises Alarm and Signaling 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 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  

    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 Two-Way Emergency Communications Systems for Rescue Assistance

            24.11 Information, Command, and Control  

            24.12 Performance-Based Design of Mass Notification Systems  

            24.13 Documentation for Emergency Communications Systems  

    25    Reserved  

    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 

    27    Public Emergency Alarm Reporting Systems  

            27.1   Application  

            27.2   General   

            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)  

    28    Reserved  

    29    Single- and Multiple-Station Alarms and Household Signaling Systems  

            29.1   Application  

            29.2   Purpose  

            29.3   Basic Requirements  

            29.4   Remote Annunciation  

            29.5   Notification  

            29.6   Assumptions  

            29.7   Carbon Monoxide Detection  

            29.8   Detection and Notification  

            29.9   Power Supplies  

            29.10 Equipment Performance  

            29.11 Installation  

            29.12 Optional Functions  

            29.13 Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance  

            29.14 Markings and Instructions 


    A      Explanatory Material  

    B      Engineering Guide for Automatic Fire Detector Spacing  

    C     System Performance and Design Guide  

    D     Speech Intelligibility  

    E      Sample Ordinance Adopting NFPA 72  

    F      Wiring Diagrams and Guide for Testing Fire Alarm Circuits  

    G     Guidelines for Emergency Communication Strategies for Buildings and Campuses  

    H     Carbon Monoxide  

    I       Color-Coded Tagging Program

    J      Guidelines for Cybersecurity

    K      Informational References       


    Important Notices and Legal Disclaimers

  • Sample Pages (2022 Edition)

    Important information about NFPA codes and standards available

    NFPA® Handbooks are your 'Roadmap to the Codes' with insights and graphics that answer code questions. View these sample pages for a preview of the valuable information you'll access including complete code or standard text; explanatory commentary highlighted in a second color; hundreds of full-color photos, charts, tables and illustrations to clarify concepts; and much more.

    Preview the 2022 NFPA 72®, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code® Handbook

  • Prior Editions

    2019 Edition

    Editors: Richard J. Roux, Barry D. Chase and Christopher D. Coache

    Apply NFPA 72® correctly from the start. Be first with the 2019 edition of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code® Handbook.

    Navigate the changing world of fire alarm and signaling systems with help from the experts who know NFPA 72 best. Now in its 9th edition, this renowned full-color Handbook from NFPA® helps you answer questions, verify interpretations, and apply the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 correctly from the start. Efficient design and installation of fire alarm, carbon monoxide, and emergency communications systems require a clear understanding of provisions and the "why" behind compliance. Nothing compares to the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code Handbook for solutions and expert support.

    Updated to reflect recent changes in the Code and in the field, the Handbook puts a wealth of information at your fingertips:

    • The full text of the 2019 edition of NFPA 72 provides the latest requirements for the application, installation, location, performance, and inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire alarm, carbon monoxide, and mass notification systems and components.
    • Authoritative commentary -- written by experts -- gives you an insider perspective.
    • "Closer Look" features provide in-depth, detailed explanations.
    • Charts, tables, color photos, and other graphics clarify concepts.
    • Code changes are shaded, so they're easy to spot.
    • System Design Tips help architects and engineers avoid common errors in application that can result in costly delays or charge backs.
    • Updated FAQs answer questions from the field.
    • Code excerpts from other standards are highlighted in the commentary providing better discussion context without the need to locate other documents.
    • The "NFPA 720" icon indicates requirements added to the Code from NFPA 720, Standard for the Installation of Carbon Monoxide (CO) Detection and Warning Equipment, which has been withdrawn.
    • The "FM" icon indicates material in Chapter 14 of special interest to facility managers.
    • Annexes address performance-based design, and voice intelligibility for voice/alarm systems.
    • Technical changes from 2016 to the 2019 editions of NFPA 72 are explained, including major changes such as carbon monoxide detection incorporated from NFPA 720.
    • Greater explanation and discussion pertaining to fire service access elevators, occupant evacuation elevators (OEE), and occupant evacuation operation (OEO).
    • Changes pertaining to Ethernet wiring for fire alarm systems and mass notification systems are explained and detailed in the commentary.

    Get the facts you need to work confidently and correctly as you apply the most advanced edition of NFPA 72.

    Engineers, contractors, consultants, designers, architects, and AHJs can be more efficient and effective working with the 2019 edition of the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code® Handbook. (Print, Approx. 1,216 pp., 2019)


  • How the NFPA Handbooks Differ from Codes and Standards


    Ever wonder what the difference is between an NFPA® handbook and a code or standard? We’re glad you asked.

    NFPA codes and standards both provide requirements for achieving outcomes. Handbooks take a deeper dive, providing the full text of a code or standard as well as expert commentary and features such as graphics, decision trees, testing procedures, case studies, sample forms and checklists, and other helpful aids to give a better understanding of the reasoning behind the requirements and how to apply them.


    • A code or standard is a framework—a set of rules to follow with a goal to achieve a certain result
    • 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.

  • NFPA PDF Products

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    Effective with the annual 2020 code cycle, NFPA® will no longer offer access to the PDF format as a choice for new editions of codes and standards, handbooks, or other reference titles. Existing PDFs will remain in-market and will still be accessible in our National Fire Codes® Subscription Service (NFCSS™). For more information about the different format options available to access essential code and standard content you need, click here.

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    NFPA® makes available PDF versions of some forms originally published in earlier editions of our NFPA Standards and handbooks. These eForms allow you to fill in the form fields electronically and then save, print, or share the file. NFPA eForms are intended for use on computers and are compatible with some mobile devices and apps. An internet connection is not needed to fill in and save the forms once they are downloaded to your device.

    NFPA eForms can be used with many PDF applications. Functions of the specific PDF application will work on the forms. For example, most PDF applications include a signature feature, allowing you to use your finger, stylus, or mouse to sign a document. Note that it is recommended that the eForms be viewed and filled in through Adobe Acrobat Reader or higher, and not using the default reader of your device, for example, the iOS reader on iPhones.

    Note that NFPA eForms are not compatible with the NFPA eLibrary app.

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    • Editable fields and checkboxes that allow you to enter content
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    • Printing
    • Basic PDF markup tools, including highlighting and comment boxes
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    Additional features that may be available, depending on PDF software/app you choose:

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    Directions on how to use on a desktop or mobile device are provided on the first page of the PDF.

  • eForms Table of Contents (2016)

    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
  • Also in Fire Protection Systems