NFPA 101 HDBK
Life Safety Code Handbook
|Publication Date:||1 January 2009|
For more than 80 years, the National Fire Protection Association
has been the developer and publisher of the Life Safety
Code®. Formerly known as the Building Exits
Code, the Code is prepared by the NFPA Committees on Safety to
Life - 14 of the more than 200 technical committees operating
within the framework of NFPA's consensus standardsdevelopment
The Life Safety Code is a unique document; its contents address specific requirements that have a direct influence on safety to life in both new construction and existing buildings - not new construction alone. Moreover, although the Code's paramount concern is life safety and not protection of property per se, there are also - by observance of the Code's requirements - ancillary benefits to mission continuity and property protection.
The impact that application of the Code can have on saving lives is difficult to measure; however, it is reasonable to assume that its influence is extremely significant. For example, of the many fatal public building fires investigated by NFPA, invariably one or more of the building features contributing to loss of life from fire were in violation of the requirements of the Code.
NFPA recognizes that a code suitable for enforcement must, by the nature of its purpose, be concise and without explanatory text. In addition, a code cannot be written to cover every situation that will be encountered; thus, it must be applied with judgment and used with good sense and with an awareness of the rationale for the requirements to be enforced. A little help and counsel along the way can make the job a lot easier; hence, NFPA has also developed this Life Safety Code Handbook.
This handbook gives users of the Life Safety Code background information on the reasons for certain Code provisions. It also provides some suggestions, through its text and illustrations, on how some Code requirements can be implemented effectively. This kind of information is intended to provide users of the Code with a better understanding of, and appreciation for, the requirements contained in the Code. The net result should be buildings and structures that are increasingly more fire safe. The reader is cautioned, however, to look upon the commentary that appears in the handbook as the views of the editors and - where commentary reads relatively the same as in earlier editions - the contributors to earlier editions of the handbook. The commentary does not necessarily reflect the official position of NFPA.
Where a pair of occupancy chapters addresses a given occupancy (for example, Chapter 12 for new assembly occupancies and Chapter 13 for existing assembly occupancies), the Code text for both chapters is presented in side-by-side columns to permit easy comparison. Further, the accompanying commentary points out differences between the provisions applicable to new construction and to existing buildings.
Annex B, Elevators for Occupant-Controlled Evacuation Prior to Phase I Emergency Recall Operations, and Annex C, Supplemental Evacuation Equipment, are new to the 2009 edition of the Code. The Code text and accompanying commentary are new to this handbook. David de Vries of Firetech Engineering Inc. drafted the commentary, and tracked down the associated photographs, for Annex C.