Douglas Krantz - Technical Writer - Describing How It Works
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Is the NFPA Code a List of Laws?

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.

Is the NFPA Code a List of Laws?


Greetings Douglas,

I was reading where you referred to the NFPA Code as a List of Laws.

NFPA is not "laws". And although I can't afford their material, I believe inside the cover or first page used to be a disclaimer stating as such.

It once went something like this, "The NFPA has no power, nor does it undertake, to police or enforce compliance with the contents of NFPA Standards. Nor does the NFPA list, certify, test, or inspect products, designs, or installations for compliance with this document. Any certification or other statement of compliance with the requirements of this document shall not be attributable to the NFPA and is solely the responsibility of the certifier or maker of the statement."

Perhaps it has changed.

Thank you, JM

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.

Difference

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".

Douglas Krantz
Mr. Krantz

Thanks, and the local AHJ (Authority Having Jurisdiction) uses the NFPA as engraved in stone.

Thank you, JM


facpdoug@douglaskrantz.com
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