The Basics of Mass Notification Systems, NFPA, UL and Code Compliance 

ul2572_imageA mass notification system is a system that is required by NFPA 72 code (Fire Alarm and Signaling), a code adopted and mentioned in the IFC (International Fire Code) and IBC (International Building Code), to deliver an intelligible audio message to everyone for fire and non-fire emergencies. Having a proper system is more important today than ever. By code, a mass notification system must reach everyone. NFPA 101 (Life Safety) and NFPA 72 code states that announcements must be heard over ambient sound levels and not have conflicting signals. Further, provisions in the code are made available to override a fire system’s normal applications in the case where a fire alarm is the wrong signal or course of action.Think of active shooter situations where a fire alarm may worsen the immediate crisis.

Underwriters Laboratories (UL) and NFPA developed a standard to help facility managers, building owners and contractors, know if a product or system can connect with a fire alarm control panel and meet the standard for mass notification. This standard is the UL 2572 standard and should be required on any audio product working with a life or fire system. The UL requirements are very stringent with a battery of tests from mechanical connections to all electrical, EMI, EMC, ESD, environmental tests and even software reviews. Mass Notification systems can annunciate a fire alarm but they also need to be able to suppress the fire alarm in a non-fire emergency such as an active shooter situation.

Referenced documents are a legally enforceable part of the code; Compliance is not optional. Keep your clients safe. Learn More