With the new year rapidly approaching, we’re turning your attention to the top three 2020 NFPA fire safety code changes, and what these changes mean for fire-life safety contractors, facility managers, and building owners. Asurio’s CEO Top Myers has decades of experiences in NFPA codes because he has participated on NFPA committees since the NFPA 25 committee was formed decades ago. Here is a look at his perspective on the top three 2020 NFPA fire safety code changes coming in the new year.
2020 NFPA Fire Safety Code Changes 1: Recalled Sprinkler System-related Components
Code Number: 18.104.22.168.1
What Is It?: This new code paves the way for access to more information about recalled fire sprinkler system components.
The Back Story: Because of potential liability issues, there has been no formal process to identify and address recalled fire sprinkler system products. This new code changes that by setting the foundation for dealing with recalled fire sprinkler system products. It also spreads the responsibility for addressing recalled fire sprinkler products between contractors, facility managers, inspectors & building owners.
- Provides the start of a process to identify & switch out recalled products
Special Note: A missing link in dealing with recalled fire sprinkler components was the lack of a master list of recalled products. As result of this new code change, there is now a growing list of recalled products that can be accessed and reviewed through NFSA.org. This is not gated content for members only. It is available to all. Visit www.nfsa.org & click on the “Product Advisory” section on the home page. This section provides links to manufacturers, which offer more information about recalls & voluntary replacement programs.
2020 NFPA Fire Safety Code Changes 2: Automatic Testing
Code Number: 4.6.6
What Is It: This code change provides for automatic testing of fire sprinkler system components.
The Back Story: The top causes of sprinkler system failures are no water flow from the sprinkler system when needed, or minimized water flow that does not put out a fire. While there always will be a need for physical, on-site inspections and testing, electronic testing that occurs 24/7/365 is the way of the future. Going forward, there will be more and more fire sprinkler equipment that can be tested remotely. There are still a lot of unanswered questions as to how this will work. For example, who will test this new “smart” fire sprinkler equipment? What will the process of notification look like when an anomaly occurs? Where does the testing data get sent, and how is it parsed into alerts that result in action taken? This new code paves the way for the evolution of sprinkler system monitoring, as that new technology and related processes are brought on line.
- Sprinkler systems will be tested more frequently than the occasional physical inspection.
- Improved safety
2020 NFPA Fire Safety Code Changes 3: Fire Pump Testing Changes
Code Number: NFPA 25 8.3
What Is It? – This code change eliminates testing the electrical system in fire pumps.
The Back Story: There have been a number of deaths from performing inspections of fire pump electrical systems. Fire pumps are powerful machines powered by 440-volt electrical systems. When conducting inspections of the electrical systems of fire pumps, inspectors are required to wear special OSHA-approved protective suits. However, if there’s an arc flash from the electrical system, it is strong enough to kill a person and the suit doesn’t protect from that. This is a much-needed code change that will prevent further deaths – and which sets forth a common sense protocol to determine if the pump is working OK without needing to test the electrical system.
Instead of performing an electrical system test on fire pumps, inspectors will use a common sense process of elimination to make sure the fire pump is working. Here’s the common sense process:
- Step 1: First, inspectors will perform a flow test with a pass-fail designation. If the system passes the flow test, it means the mechanical and electrical systems are working.
- Step 2: If the pump fails the flow test, then inspectors will review the mechanical system for problems.
- Step 3: If the mechanical system checks out, then the fire pump electrical system is the culprit. If this proves to be the case, then inspectors will need to call in a master electrician, who has the training and equipment to work safely with 440-volt systems.
- Saves inspector’s lives
“These three 2020 NFPA fire safety code changes provide a host of improvements for 2020 and beyond,” said Top Myers, Asurio president. “These 2020 NFPA code changes accomplish a number of goals including starting the process of handling recalled fire sprinkler components, preparing for 24/7/365 automatic testing of sprinkler system components, and improving safety for field inspectors.”
Asurio, Inc. offers the BirdDog Mobile Inspection & Data Collection System, and is staffed by a team of people who live and breathe fire-life safety.
Interested in taking a test-drive of the BirdDog inspection system? Contact Asurio to schedule a demo today!