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As we move closer to the end of 2020, some folks’ thoughts turn to the holidays – while those working in the world of facility inspection will be thinking about what types of NFPA 2021 changes are on the horizon. In this article, we interview Asurio’s president Top Myers, who has served on the NFPA 25 committee since the day it was started, to glean insights on changes that are in the works for NFPA codes & standards.
What Are the biggest NFPA 2021 Changes That Are Coming?
Automatic Inspection & Testing
“In the last couple of cycles of discussions of code changes, NFPA committee members have gradually added language that allows & facilitates automatic inspection & testing,” said Mr. Myers. “This means that the equipment will self test and provide an alert if it’s got an operational problem,” he said. The benefit to this approach is that, instead of just inspecting a device once a year (or longer), the device would be tested once an hour, once a day, once a week. “Facility managers & life safety contractors can look forward to more automatic inspection and testing across all areas of life safety inspections: NFPA 10, NFPA 25, and NFPA72,” he said.
A New Standard for a New Type of Inspection: NFPA 915
“NFPA has created a brand new standard designated as NFPA 915,” said Mr. Myers. “What this is going to do is open the doors to deploy remote inspection. This includes the use of drones that shoot video in the inspection area and send that video to someone who’s responsible for reviewing the video. This standard is being developed right now, and it will result in a major change in the inspection industry,” he said. (NFPA 915 is slated for completion by 2024.)
Using “Big Data” & AI To Analyze Trends & Patterns
The offshoot of automated testing & remote testing trends are that there will be vast amounts of data that become available that can be used to modify inspection standards, according to Mr. Myers. “The data that’s gathered from thousands of devices will help set the mandated frequency of inspections based on good, solid data,” he said. “This could ultimately result in mandating more frequent inspections or less frequent inspections of specific devices, depending on what the data shows.”
What Are the Challenges Involved With These NFPA 2021 Changes?
“One of the biggest questions, for which there’s not yet an answer, is: Where does the information emitted from a device that’s automatically monitored actually go?,” he said.
For example, with current technology, a flow switch sends a signal to an alarm panel. If water is flowing and the sensors detect it, the alarm panel alerts the fire department. But when sprinkler heads, fire pumps, fire extinguishers etc. come on line that are automatically monitored, there’s no answer yet as to where that information would be sent for review. The NFPA Research Foundation has been funded to work on figuring this out.
How Does The BirdDog Mobile Inspection & Data Collection System Account For These Changes?
Asurio is one of the few inspection system companies that has a dedicated team devoted to developing and maintaining inspection forms – and staying on top of code changes that occur.
“The bottom line is that, for the first time in history, these technological advances in the inspection industry are going to give us that tools to work through and generate more concrete guidelines for inspection intervals and much more,” said Mr. Myers.
Interested in a demo of the BirdDog Inspection & Data Collection System? Contact Asurio & schedule a free demo.