You are absolutely right, the NFPA Code is published by the non-profit organization National Fire Protection Association, Inc. By itself, the NFPA Code is as good as a reference book on a library shelf.
I do go into more detail on that in the webpage "How do You Know if a Fire Alarm is Loud Enough?" at https://www.douglaskrantz.com/QFAVShutdownInClassrooms.html
You will see that I do know why "The NFPA has no power. . ."
The reference to the NFPA 72 showing a "list of laws", however, is not a reference to the NFPA as a rulemaking authority (they definitely are not), the reference to the NFPA 72 showing a "list of laws" is a reference to the barely understandable legal-ease that is misunderstood world-wide by many fire alarm technicians.
Laws and Guidelines - A Comparison
- The government make the laws that we live by; publishers like the NFPA make guideline books
- The government makes laws written in legal-ease code; the NFPA makes guidelines written in legal-ease code
- The government doesn't show how to comply with their legal-ease code; the NFPA doesn't show how to comply with their legal-ease code (at least in the NFPA Code books)
Purpose of the NFPA's Writing in Legal-Ease Code
Governments are motivated to protect their citizens from fire. With everything needed for fire protection, governments can either write their own legal-ease code to force all the citizens to comply, or governments can use non-government publications, like the NFPA Code as their own legal-ease code.
Because the NFPA Code is written in legal-ease language, as if it was already in the law, governments world-wide "point" to the written guidelines in the NFPA Code. Because it's very difficult to do the research needed, and update the rules regularly, they make the NFPA Code to be part of their law.
With its legal-ease language, the NFPA Code is ready-made to be used as government law.
Is there a difference between the NFPA 72 Code Book and the law? Yes, absolutely. . . at least until a government makes the NFPA 72 Code Book to be part of their law. Then the NFPA 72 Code becomes a "list of laws".