Fire Protection Research Foundation Completes Report on Visual Signaling

March 30, 2006
Results support performance-based section of NFPA 72

The Fire Protection Research Foundation, an affiliate of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), today released a study on Direct Visual Signaling as a Means for Occupant Notification in Large Spaces. The project was conducted in support of the requirements of NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm Code®. NFPA 72 requires occupants be alerted by the illumination of their surroundings, not necessarily by direct viewing of the signaling appliance.

The testing that led to the current requirements in NFPA 72 was limited to classroom and office-type spaces and was not tested in large, well-lit spaces such as warehouses, super stores, and other large buildings. Nevertheless, because strobes are required by other codes in these spaces, the installation and requirements of NFPA 72 are being enforced. The committee was seeking additional data to substantiate the addition of text to the code Annex explaining possible effects in large spaces.

Tests were conducted in three different warehouse type stores. According to the study, it is possible to have effective occupant notification by strobes installed in accordance to NFPA 72. The tests also highlighted additional factors that designers, installers, and owners should consider to increase the effectiveness of these type systems in large spaces.

The Fire Protection Research Foundation plans, manages, and communicates consortium-funded research on a broad range of fire safety issues in collaboration with scientists and laboratories around the world. To download and view a copy of the report, visit

This release was reprinted with permission from the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA), a worldwide leader in providing fire, electrical, building, and life safety to the public since 1896. The mission of the international non-profit organization is to reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education. For more information, visit (

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