What Exactly Is NFPA 25?
NFPA 25 is the baseline for inspection, testing, and maintenance of water-based fire protection systems. Compliance helps maximize system integrity to avoid failure and ensure fast, effective response in a fire emergency. This guide was originally written in 1992 and is updated regularly, with the 2020 edition being the most current and complete document.
Who Enforces NFPA 25 Regulations?
Enforcement of NFPA 25 regulations varies from state to state, and individual states adopt newer versions of the code at different times. Enforcement is handled by the Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ), which can be a fire marshal, city inspector, or local fire chief. In general, new construction is handled by various city and state inspectors, whereas existing buildings are typically inspected by the local fire marshal. Many cities use 3rd party software, such as Mobile Eyes, to facilitate the submission of inspection reports. When a fire system is not working properly or has deficiencies, local regulations often require contractors to report these findings to the fire department or municipality.
What Happens If You Don’t Comply With NFPA 25?
Penalties for failing to meet NFPA 25 requirements vary greatly from city to city and state to state. Penalties include verbal warnings, written warnings, loss of ability to occupy a space, and even forced business closure. If a fire protection system is not working properly, the fire department can require the owner to pay for fire watch, which is having a qualified individual monitor a facility 24/7 looking for any signs of fire until the system is back in service. Some insurance companies will even drop coverage if a building is not adequately protected or maintained. Other insurance companies will negotiate insurance pricing based on what upgrades the owner makes to protect the facility from fire loss.
In conclusion, NFPA 25 is mandatory, but the specific requirements vary depending on your location. Regardless of how severe the penalty could be, it is in a building owner or manager’s best interest to ensure the fire protection system is working properly. Not only does inspection, testing, and maintenance protect the property, it could potentially save lives.