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NFPA 70E, NFPA 70, and NFPA 72

The NEC is divided in nine chapters. The list below gives you a brief description of each. You will be required to recite the nine chapters from memory when you return to class.

Chapter 1. General. This chapter covers regulations on general electrical systems and the regulations that pertain to all electrical installations. We like to refer to this chapter as the "catch all" chapter because regulations that do no fit into any other category end up here.

Chapter 2. Protection. This chapter covers regulations concerning the protection of conductors and equipment from over heating and over loading.

Chapter 3. Methods and Materials. This chapter covers the regulations concerning how we make general installations and the materials we use for installations. You will find articles pertaining to wire and conduit in this chapter.

Chapter 4. General Equipment. This chapter covers the regulations concerning equipment that is commonly encountered on all jobs. You will find articles pertaining to motors, light fixtures and transformers here.

Chapter 5. Special Occupancies. This chapter covers the regulations for electrical installation in buildings other than a dwelling or standard commercial/industrial building. You will find articles pertaining to airports, fuel stations, farms, hospitals and theaters in this chapter.

Chapter 6. Special Equipment. This chapter covers the regulations for equipment you may encounter but is not common to all jobs. You will find articles pertaining to welders, swimming pools, hot tubs and solar systems in this chapter.

Chapter 7. Special Conditions. This chapter covers the regulations that pertain to conditions that require special rules. You will find articles pertaining to fire alarm system wiring, emergency lighting, back up generators and fiber optic systems in this chapter.

Chapter 8. Communications. This chapter covers the wiring and installation of communication and data systems. This chapter is considered to be a separate regulation and is not subject to the other chapters of the NEC.

Chapter 9. Tables and Examples. This chapter has several tables for quick reference and information and also examples of calculations required by the NEC.


The Standard for Electrical Safety in the Workplace is divided into Three Chapters.

Chapter  1
Safety Related Work Practices

Chapter 2
Safety Related Maintenance Requirements

Chapter 3
Safety Requirements for Special Equipment

There are also several Annexes with information and examples to supplement the standards.

Chapters 1 and 3 deals primarily with the use of electrical systems in the work place. We are directly affected by this section. Regulations are provided that detail approach distances to live electrical equipment.
This section also provides detailed regulations for working on live electrical equipment. (Hot Work)

Chapter 2 deals primarily with the maintenance of electrical systems. It provides regulations for individuals that are responsible for the maintenance of electrical systems in commercial and industrial facilities.
You may be involved in this type of work during your career. I recommend you become familiar with regulations found in this section.

All electricians need to be familiar with the regulations found in this section.

The most recent editions of NFPA 70E removed the fourth Chapter which was in the original editions. The fourth Chapter was "Requirements for the Safe Installation of Electrical Systems." The decision was made to remove this chapter because this subject is covered in detail in the National Electric Code.

NFPA 72 - The NAtional Fire Alarm and Signal Code

The standards for signaling systems date back to 1898  and have changed tremendously with the technological
capabilities of fire alarm systems and the realization of the importance of adequate notification and evacuation of
personnel in the event of fire.

Prior to 1993 the NFPA had a total of six documents that regulated the installation, monitoring and use of fire alarm systems. The following is a list of those documents.

1. Standard for the Installation , Maintenance, and Use of Signaling Systems for Central Station Service. NFPA 71

2. Standard for Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Protective Signaling Systems. NFPA 72

3. Standard on Automatic Fire Detectors NFPA 72E

4. Guide for the Installation, Maintenance, and Use of Notification Appliances for Protective Signaling Systems. NFPA 72G

5. Guide for Testing  Proceed for Local, Auxiliary, Remote Station, and Proprietary Protective Signaling Systems. NFPA 72H

6. Standard for Installation, Maintenance and Use of Household Fire Warning Equipment.

Many of the requirements of these individual documents were identical and having the regulations found in six different documents created confusion. It was decided to combine the six documents into one standard. The 1993 edition of NFPA 72 was that standard.

Recent editions, following the 9/11 attack, have increased the scope of NFPA 72 to include Emergency Communications Systems.

Fire Alarm systems are usually installed by electricians and electrical contractors. It is important for electricians to be familiar with the regulations that apply to those systems.

The NFAC is divided into 14 chapters, with 11 chapters which are reserved for future expansion. We will cover the content of these chapters in greater detail in another class.. For now we are only going to discuss the basic contents of the 14 chapters.

Chapter 1. Administration: Contains the applicability and which units of measurement are used. Unlike the NEC, the US Customary Units (Inch-pound) are used in the NFASC. The International System (SI or Metric) system are shown in parentheses.
Chapter 2. Referenced Publications. This is a list of NFPA, ISO, ANSI and EIA documents which provide additional information cocnerning the subject of Fire Alarms and Signaling systems.  
Chapter 3. Definitions: This chapter contains the definitions of terms which are used throughout the Code. The definitions are very important to understand the requirements in the code. Often times, each of us define tha word in different ways. This can lead to misunderstandings. In this chapter, they are telling you exactly what they mean when they use a word or term.
Chapter 4, 5 and 6. Are reserved for future expansion.
Chapter 7. Documentation. This chapter contains the requirements for record documents, design documents and acceptance documents after installation and testing is completed. 
Chapter 8 and 9. These chapters are reserved for future expansion. 
Chapter 10. Fundamentals. This chapter contains the requirements for power supplies for FA systems, general rules concerning alarms and signals such as which type of alarms take priority. It also contains the qualifications for installers, inspectors and monitoring personnel for FA systems.
Chapter 11. This chapter is reserver for future expansion.
Chapter 12. Circuits and Pathways. This chapter contains the base requirments for the different types of FA circuits such as Class A or B. It also contains that requirements for survivability and intergrity. A great FA system will not be very effective if a fire destroys the system immediately.
Chapter 13. This chapter is reserved for future expansion.
Chapter 14. Inspection, Testing and Maintenance. As the name implies, this chapter contains the rules for testing FA alarm systems at installation and also the frequency and methods of testing the system after installation.
Chapter 15 and 16. These chapters are reserved for future expansion.
Chapter 17. Initiating Devices. Here we find the requirements for smoke detectors. heat detectors, manual pull stations, duct detectors and any other device that is deisgned of detect a fire and initiate an alarm.
Chapter 18. Notification Appliances. These are the requirements for strobe lights, horns, speakers, textual displays and other devices used to notify the occupants that there is a fire and direct them on what to do.
Chapter 19 and 20 . These chapters are reserved for future expansion.
Chapter 21. Emegency Control Function Interfaces. Here we find the requirements for having the fire alarm system do certain things automatically in the event of a fire, such as cause the elevators to recall to a floor so they are ready to be used by the fire department and so that occupants can not be stuck in the building.
Chapter 22: This chapter is reserved for future expansion 
Chapter 23. Protected Premises Fire Alarm Systems. Contains the requirements for general requirements for Fire Alarm systems in buildings such as zoning. alarm sequences, Fire alarm system inputs and monitoring requirements.
Chapter 24. Emergency Communication Systems. This is a new comer to the code and contains the requirements for systems which are designed to communicate emergencies to occupants for things other than fire alarms, such as earhtquakes, tornados and terrosit attacks.
Chapter 25. This chapter is reserved for future expansion
Chapter 26. Supervising Station Alarm Systems. This chapter contains the requirements for the facilities and people that monitor fire alarm systems including how fast signals must be received, how they are recorded and what is the correct response to them.
Chapter 27. Public Emergency Alarm Reporting Systems. This chapter contains the requirements for systems which are installed to report and communicate public emergencies other than fires.
Chapter 28. This chapter is reserved for future use.
Chapter 29. Single and Multiple Station Alarms and Household Alarm Systems. This chapter contains the requirements for both a full blown fire alarm system in a house and also the battery back up, 120 Volt smoke detectors required in dewllign units.

The NFASC also contains Annexs. The Annex A in the NFASC is an incredible resource and should be consulted frequently as it contains addition information and clarification of requirements and they are listed by the code reference. If there is additional information about a requirement in Annex A, an * will appear in the original code reference so that you know to go a look at the corresponding reference number in Annex A. Excellent system


I want to emphasize that the NFPA is not a government entity and nothing it publishes carries the weight of law.

Colorado and most of the rest of the 50 states have enacted laws that require all electrical installations to meet the minimum standards of the National Electric Code. It is for this reason that electricians refer to the NEC as the "bible."

It is the minimum standard by which all electrical installations must be made. You will spend a great deal of time learning the NEC during your electrical apprenticeship.

Article 250

The NEC also gives some information that is not intended to be a regulation but is for information purposes only.

The NEC refers to these as Fine Print Notes (FPN) and they are not enforceable parts of the NEC. Recently the NFPA has decided to make this more clear by changing the name of the Fine Print Note. They are now called Informational Notes.
You should be aware the the authority having jurisdiction has the right to make an Informational note enforceable, because the NEC is a minimum standard and the AHJ can increase the standards.

FPNs are always preceded by Informational Note.

They are also numbered if there is more than one FPN to a paragraph.

Find the Informational Note for 250.60

Article 90

Look up article 90.4 through 90.5

Read these paragraphs. Be sure to highlight the following sentence in 90.4

"The authority having jurisdiction for enforcement of the code has the responsibility for making interpretations of the rules, for deciding on the approval of equipment and materials, and for granting the special permission contemplated in a number of the rules."

Now look up Authority Having Jurisdiction in Article 100, Definitions
Also highlight the definition.