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NFPA Standards Summary

Posted on: May 16, 2012

Most fire codes are governed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA). In fact, the organization produces over 200 standards used in building and fire codes worldwide. At Guardian Fire Protection, our Maryland fire protection technicians are well-versed and highly knowledgeable in NFPA standards, particularly as they apply to things like fire sprinkler systems, fire suppression systems, fire alarms, fire pumps, standpipes, etc.

Local building codes usually include specifications for minimum fire ratings required for certain building materials and finishes placed on floors, walls and ceilings. These ratings are based on standards put forth by NFPA testing procedures of “Fire Rated” and “Fire Retardant” materials. The actual tests are carried out by Underwriters Laboratories (UL) under the guidance of NFPA standards. Fire ratings for certain products and materials are as follows:

  • Common building materials are tested according to NFPA 251, “Methods of Tests of Fire Resistance of Building Construction and Materials.” The purpose of this test is to find out how long an assembly of materials, including studs, drywall, insulation and fasteners will resist the effects of the test fire.
  • Fire doors and frame assemblies are tested and rated in accordance with NFPA 252, titled “Methods of Fire Tests of Door Assemblies.”
  • “Fire Rated” carpeting is tested according to NFPA 253, “Method of Test for Critical Radiant Flux of Floor Covering Systems Using a Radiant Heat Energy Source.” Carpets undergo testing for ease of ignition, speed of flame spread and quantity of smoke developed. This test does not apply to carpeting used as a wall covering or surface materials for cubicles, since flames spread more rapidly when traveling in a vertical direction.
  • Products advertised as “Fire Rated” class A, B or C are tested for flame spread and smoke development according to procedures laid out in NFPA 255, “Standard Method of Test of Surface Burning Characteristics of Building Materials.” The test measures burning characteristics of surface materials on a scale of 0 to 100. Materials tested with this procedure include paint, wall coverings, ceiling tiles, etc.
  • Windows and glass block assemblies are rated according to NFPA 257, “Fire Tests for Window and Glass Block Assemblies.”

As a business owner, it’s not highly important that you know the specifics of NFPA tests – that’s what we’re here for! At Guardian Fire Protection, we know everything there is to know about NFPA requirements so we can provide the best fire protection for your building. If you need fire protection service in Maryland, call Guardian today!

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