What are some practical examples of NFPA regulation adherence

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) works internationally to prevent injury, damage to property, environmental harm, and even death from occurring due to fire or electrical hazards. The standards are in place to guide working professionals such as firefighters, engineers, and those working in certain warehouse environments on the necessary precautions needed to protect against fire hazards. In this article, we discuss some of the key NFPA regulations to be aware of and real-life examples of how they should be used in the workplace.

NFPA 1: Fire Code

The Fire Code covers the safety of the public and the protection of properties, providing comprehensive guidance on hazard management and fire code regulation. Being the overarching fire code and one of the most widely recognized, it references a multitude of NFPA codes to cover the general needs and most crucial safety measures.

An example application of NFPA 1 which can apply to businesses across all industries is the implementation of an emergency evacuation plan. To ensure all employees know how to respond in the event of an emergency, there should be a procedure in place which defines the staff responsible for certain duties, the emergency exit routes across the site, and the frequency of fire drills.

NFPA 13: Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems

Without a sufficient sprinkler system, a fire could quickly escalate and cause catastrophic outcomes. NFPA 13 states the requirements for the installation of fire sprinkler systems to ensure that warehouses have robust systems in place, protecting the property and the safety of both employees and visitors on site.

For example, a large industrial warehouse is required to install an approved sprinkler system which will help to protect both workers and inventory. The system used should consider the type of sprinkler, the spacing between each sprinkler, the connected water supply used, and ongoing testing/maintenance.

NFPA 70: National Electrical Code

The National Electrical Code (NEC) covers everything from electrical equipment to wiring, detecting potentially hazardous conditions in the electrical system which could be creating a risk of electrical fire. NFPA 70 requires Ground Fault Circuit Interrupters (GFCIs) and Arc Fault Circuit Interrupters (AFCIs) which can detect any unstable arcs on a circuit and cut off the power.

Implementing a GFCI/AFCI into the workplace can potentially save lives. For example, if there is a spillage or a water leak which sees liquid make its way into an electrical outlet, the circuit has the risk of causing an electric shock or starting an electrical fire. By having GFCIs, the imbalance will be detected and the power shut off.

NFPA 72: National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code

To ensure that fire alarm systems function reliably, the National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code mandates the installation of sufficient systems. A workplace system should include smoke detectors, pull stations, and have alarm notifications setup so everyone on site can be made aware of the emergency and evacuate safely.

For example, if a fire breaks out from a malfunctioning piece of machinery in a warehouse, the smoke detectors can sense it and sound the alarm. Without an alarm in place, the fire may have initially gone unnoticed and quickly spread, escalating the scale of the issue.


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