Fire Code Basics

So what are Fire Codes and why are they important to you, your buildings and their occupants?

NFPA, the National Fire Protection Association, is the primary publisher Fire Codes.  There are over 350 NFPA Codes and Standards, starting with NFPA 1 – Fire Code.  NFPA is not a government agency or Authority Having Jurisdiction, it is a non-profit agency advocating consensus codes and standards as well as providing training and research.

Another prominent group relating to codes is the ICC, International Code Council.  The ICC was formed by BOCA, ICBO, and SBCCI to create a single set of model codes for construction and major renovation.  These codes are widely used for new construction and major repair and alteration.

Individual municipalities, states, and other authorities can adopt these codes, making them legally required.  Sometimes, they are adopted in part or amended to fit the particular location or situation.

Some of the most widely used Fire Codes are listed below:

  • NFPA 72 | National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code

    This code covers design standards for Fire Alarm Systems as well as recommended Testing & Inspection of Fire Alarm Systems.

  • NFPA 13 | Standard for the Installation of Sprinkler Systems

    NFPA 13 is used in designing Sprinkler Systems including different hazards and installation requirements.

  • NFPA 25 | Standard for the Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Water-Based Fire Protection Systems

    This standard outlines recommended testing and maintenance procedures for most types of Sprinkler Systems, Fire Pumps, and associated equipment.

  • UFC 3-601-02 United Facilities Criteria:  Inspection, Testing, and Maintenance of Fire Protection Systems

    This is an Operations and Maintenance guide for the Department of Defense that covers most Fire Protection Systems including Fire Alarms, Fire Sprinklers, and Special Hazards Systems.

Links to Fire Systems Codes, Associations, and more.

www.nfpa.orgNational Fire Protection Association


www.afaa.orgAutomatic Fire Alarm Association


www.sfpe.orgSociety of Fire Protection Engineers

SFPE National Fire Sprinkler Association


www.firesprinkler.orgAmerican Fire Sprinkler Association


 www.nafed.orgNational Association of Fire Equipment Distributors


www.nicet.orgNational Institute of Certification in Engineering Technologies


 www.fssa.netFire Suppression Systems Association


www.ascet.orgAmerican Society of Certified Engineering Technicians


www.boma.orgBuilding Owners and Managers Association


www.ifma.orgInternational Facility Management Association