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Public Safety Codes Explained

As Technology Advisors and Designers, we get asked a lot about the continuous code changes for public safety systems in new and existing buildings and the importance of Emergency Responder Radio Coverage (ERRC) Testing.

With a fire occurring in a structure every 63 seconds and property loss in structure fires totaled up to $15.9 billion in the United States alone in 2021, we wanted to educate our audience on the latest codes and what they mean for you.

Some not so fun fire statistics:

  • In U.S. hospitals and hospices, fire departments respond to an estimated average of 1,130 fires each year.

  • In U.S. hotels and motels, fire departments respond to an estimated average of 3,520

  • structure fires.

  • U.S. fire departments respond to an estimated average of 14,500 reported structure fires in high-rise buildings per year, which include apartment buildings, hotels, dormitories, and office buildings.

Key National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Codes:

  • NFPA 72 - 2013 The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code®.

  • NFPA 1221 - 2016 The standard for the installation, maintenance, and use of emergency services communications systems.

  • NFPA 1221 - 2019 The standard for the installation, performance, operation and maintenance of public emergency services, communication systems and facilities.

What do these codes mean for your building?

  • Isolation of the donor antenna is required for codes NFPA 72 and 1221 - 2016/2019.

  • NFPA codes 72-2013, 1221 - 2016, and 1221 - 2019 require 90% signal strength across general areas and 99% signal strength in critical areas.

  • Monitoring by fire alarm is required for NFPA 72 and 1221 - 2016/2019.

  • A battery backup of 12 hours is required for NFPA 72 and 1221 - 2016/2019.

More on the codes and standards can be found on the NFPA website.



More code changes coming in 2025 that are being implemented for Section 27 53 19. We have the expertise to help on your projects!


We are public safety system experts, with access to resources that will prepare and keep your building and people safe.


Want some more education on the subject of Building and Life Safety? Here's some great resources.

***This is simply informational and you should rely on your local Authority Having Jurisdiction (AHJ) for exact compliance and regulations.***


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