CSAA Supports IAFC’s NFPA Code Change Proposals

The International Association of Fire Chiefs (IAFC), in coordination with the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA) Board of Directors, recently submitted a number of proposals to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) to modernize the NFPA Life Safety Code and help reduce false dispatches. The intent of the proposals is to provide solutions to the problems caused by the number of false alarms in commercial facilities to which fire departments respond annually.

Since the submission of these proposals, however, CSAA and IAFC have encountered considerable misinformation and distortion of the facts at issue, as well as a seemingly concerted effort on the part of a few to thwart the good faith efforts of both the central station monitoring community and vast majority of the nation’s fire chiefs to help reduce false dispatches.

In response to the misinformation that has been circulating in the industry, the IAFC has produced a “Fact Sheet” that dispels the myths surrounding the intent and application of these proposals. Visit the IAFC website to view the IAFC Fact Sheet and the NFPA code change proposals, and to stay up-to-date on NFPA’s proceedings on this issue. Go to http://www.IAFC.org and click on "Resources" to access the IAFC Fact Sheet.

How did it begin? A little over a year ago, the CSAA Board of Directors met with the leadership of the IAFC to discuss ways to reduce false dispatches. It was becoming clear to the IAFC leadership that the problem was becoming more acute due to very tight budgets and the fact that often two or three principal pieces of apparatus were often dispatched on calls and could not be recalled. This presents a hazard for many responding units, as one of the major causes of firefighter injuries is due to traffic accidents during runs.

A joint committee between CSAA and the IAFC was formed at the highest levels to determine the best practices and code changes that would be necessary to enact some of the false alarm reduction techniques that had been successful on the burglar alarm issue. Over time, it became clear to all that with some quite moderate modifications of the current NFPA Life Safety Code:

  • Response times would not be materially affected.
  • Life safety would not be affected.
  • False dispatches could be significantly reduced.

The IAFC proposals aim to address both the root cause of the issue (reducing false alarms) and the protocols for response to such calls. The proposals -- in total -- reflect a comprehensive approach to leverage existing and new technologies, current IAFC policies and NFPA code, and the need for local fire departments to gain efficiencies that are safe for the public and responders.

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