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Standards Support Safety during Fire Prevention Week


October 4-10 marks Fire Prevention Week (FPW)—a campaign launched by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), an American National Standards Institute (ANSI) member and audited designator. Launched to commemorate the Great Chicago Fire of 1871 which destroyed miles of the city and claimed hundreds of lives, each FPW highlights a different theme, with the 2015 topic: "Hear the Beep Where You Sleep. Every Bedroom Needs a Working Smoke Alarm."

According to the NFPA, having a working smoke alarm cuts the chances of dying in a reported fire in half. Various standards support smoke alarm use, including NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. This American National Standard (ANS) covers smoke alarms, as well as building fire alarm systems and other emergency reporting and communications systems.

In addition, the International Organization for Standardization (ISO) has issued ISO 12239:2010, Smoke alarms using scattered light, transmitted light or ionization. This standard was developed by ISO Technical Committee (TC) 21, Equipment for fire protection and fire fighting, Subcommittee (SC) 3, Fire detection and alarm systems. The ANSI-accredited U.S. Technical Advisory Group (TAG) to ISO TC 21/SC 3 is administered by Underwriters Laboratories (UL). UL's own standard 268, Smoke Detectors for Fire Alarm Systems, works hand in hand with NFPA 72 to address indoor smoke detectors.

For more need-to-know information on smoke detectors, the National Electrical Manufacturer's Association's NEMA SB 11-2011, Guide for Proper Use of System Smoke Detectors, provides technical information on basic fire alarm systems with a focus on early-warning smoke detection devices. The free manual, developed by the Signaling Protection and Communication Section, covers smoke detectors connected to a control panel.

Smoke management system safety is also a fundamental part of fire prevention. The American Society of Heating, Refrigerating, and Air-Conditioning Engineers' (ASHRAE) GDL 5-1994, Commissioning Smoke Management Systems, provides methods for verifying and documenting that the performance of smoke management systems conforms with design intent. The standard covers all types of smoke management systems and covers the integration testing with other buildings that affect the performance of the smoke management system such as fire detection and alarm, HVAC, controls, power supplies and separations.

These standards are just a small representation of the various smoke management and fire safety national and international standards, many of which can be found on

ANSI salutes Fire Prevention Week and the development of national and international standards and codes supporting ongoing work to prevent fire-related fatalities and property damage residential and other settings. For more information about Fire Prevention Week 2015, visit NFPA's official Fire Prevention Week page, which provides a "Smoke Alarm Central" page with essential smoke alarm information.


Jana Zabinski

Senior Director, Communications & Public Relations


[email protected]

Beth Goodbaum

Journalist/Communications Specialist


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