NFPA - FPCH
NFPA Fire Prevention Code Handbook
|Publication Date:||1 January 1998|
In 1925 the NFPA adopted and issued NFPA 1L, Fire Prevention Bureau Ordinance. This ordinance provided guidelines for local fire departments to establish a bureau of fire prevention, provide officers for that bureau, and define their powers and duties. With this ordinance in place, a fire department had the duty to enforce all laws and ordinances covering the prevention of fires, the storage and use of explosives and flammables, the installation and maintenance of fire alarm systems and fire-extinguishing equipment, the maintenance and regulation of fire escapes, and the means and adequacy of exits in case of fire. It was also given responsibility for the investigation of the cause, origin, and circumstances of fires. NFPA 1L remained as an NFPA document until 1973.
The NFPA Fire Prevention Code was originally developed as a result of the requests of many members of the National Fire Protection Association for a document that covered all aspects of fire protection and prevention and that supported the adoption and utilization of the other NFPA standards and codes. NFPA staff initiated work in 1971 upon a directive from the NFPA Board of Directors to develop such a document. This work was then given to a technical committee that assumed responsibility for the draft and processed the proposed Code following the NFPA Regulations Governing Committee Projects. The first edition of NFPA 1, Fire Prevention Code, was adopted and published in 1975.
The original Code served as a guide for the development of a local fire prevention code. Prerogatives of local officials were excluded from the main text of the document but were included within appendices that could then be incorporated in the local code when desired. Similarly, a list of NFPA codes and standards suitable for inclusion in a fire prevention code was included as Annex A with a recommendation that the codes and standards be adopted in their entirely as a supplement to the Code text of the NFPA Fire Prevention Code.
In the late 1980s, the Fire Marshals Association of North America (FMANA) undertook a task of developing a code that was more self-contained. The association added administrative sections, incorporated appropriate NFPA codes and standards by reference, and extracted text from many of those codes and standards that inspectors would need to reference in the field to assist them in their daily responsibilities. That draft was submitted to the NFPA Technical Committee on Fire Prevention Code. The committee examined changes in the built environment and used much of the input from FMANA to change the scope and content of the Code to provide a more comprehensive document for the protection of life and property. A special task group on hazardous materials examined technological changes in the handling, storage, and use of combustible and flammable materials. Greater emphasis was placed on protection of life and property from chemical products made and used in the environment in chapters extracting hazardous material requirements. This major rewrite resulted in the 1992 edition of the NFPA Fire Prevention Code.
The 1997 edition of the NFPA Fire Prevention Code updated the text extracted from other NFPA codes and standards and added requirements for compliance with additional NFPA codes and standards as part of the requirements of NFPA 1. Because this Code relies so heavily on extract text from other documents, the Code has the advantage of reflecting the technical knowledge and expertise of the many committees that are responsible for the codes and standards from which the text is extracted. This Code is intended to provide local and state jurisdictions with an effective local fire prevention code.
This first edition of the NFPA Fire Prevention Code Handbook is based on the 1997 edition of the Code. The explanatory material in this handbook has been developed by the editors, with the assistance of those persons mentioned in the acknowledgements. Much of the commentary text is influenced by the appendix material in the various codes and standards from which the requirements were extracted and, where available, other NFPA handbooks on specific NFPA a codes or standards. This handbook also contains several supplements that reprint chapters from the NFPA Inspection Manual and the NFPA Fire Protection Handbook. The commentary and supplements provide the person using the Code with an understanding of the provisions of the Code and a resource and reference for implementing or enforcing the provisions of the Code.
We have tried to make this first edition a complete discussion of the text in the Fire Prevention Code. It is not a substitute for the actual wording in the Code or the text of the many codes and standards that are incorporated by reference in this Code. The other codes and standards handbooks available from NFPA are also valuable sources of information on requirements in this Code.
We recognize that technology changes and so does the need for information to support the use and enforcement of this Code. Certain problems may not be addressed, or additional information may be helpful. We welcome input or suggestions from the users of this handbook on what will make the next edition even better.