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6.17.20 – SSI- Shane Clary 

Fire and life-safety expert Shane Clary reviews additional proposed changes to NFPA 72. Topics include cybersecurity, supervising station alarm systems and more.

This article is the third and final of a review of proposed changes to NFPA 72, The National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code, which would be part of the 2022 edition.

These are still proposed changes as they still may be modified by public comments that will be acted upon during the second draft meeting that will occur in July.

Chapter 26 – Supervising Station Alarm Systems

The supervising station shall continue to retransmit subsequent signals from a protected premises to the communications center until advised otherwise by the communications center.

Subsequent signals that are suppressed by the communications center shall be permitted to be suppressed for a maximum of one hour.

This section is being added so as to minimize the traffic between a supervising station and a communications center or PSAP. The communications center may request that information is still retransmitted to the center or may request that there be no additional retransmission of signal. The maximum time allowed for this suppressing of signal would be one hour.Related:What Do You Think of These Proposed Updates to NFPA 72?

26.2.10 Cyber Security Classification.

Cyber security design standards and certification requirements shall be in accordance with Section 10.5 .

As I stated in a prior article, there will be a new Chapter 11 on cybersecurity. The reference will need to be changed from Section 10.5 to the revised paragraph in Chapter 11.

Since the first draft meeting, there is some movement for the requirements for cybersecurity to be annex material only for the 2022 edition, with “should” as opposed to “shall” being used. This will be a topic of discussion by several of the technical committees as well as the correlating committee during the second draft meetings. Remote Programming of Transmitting Technologies.

Remote programming of protected premises transmission technologies covered by 26.6.3 , 26.6.4, and 26.6.5 shall be permitted when all the conditions in through are met.

There are to be a number of proposed requirements added to NFPA 72 in regards to remote programming. A separate future article will review these in more detail.* Digital Alarm Communicator Transmitter (DACT) Used as a Signaling Interface.


A DACT can be used as a signaling interface from a fire alarm control unit to another means of signal transmission. Typically this is in either Ademco Contact ID or SIA format. In this case, the use of a DACT is not for the direct transmission of signals via a connection through a telephone line, but rather to another means of signal transport, because there are no phone lines utilized in the communication path. The other transmission means will then transmit the signal data via another listed means, which is found in 26.6.3 or 26.6.5 .

This annex material is being added to the Standard so as to hopefully end some of the confusion that some plan reviewers and AHJ’s have with the use of a “DACT” which is installed within a fire alarm control unit as an interface for the signals being generated to be transmitted by either a cellular or IP transmitter.

In a number of cases, the plan reviewer or AHJ is still seeing the “DACT” as a DACT and is requiring that a phone line be connected. This is not the intent for the use of the “DACT” and this should clear up this misconception.Related:How Fire Alarm Communications Have Evolved Over the Decades

Chapter 27 – Public Emergency Alarm Reporting Systems

A Type B system shall be permitted where the number of alarms from alarm boxes is 2500 or less per year provided the following conditions are met:

(1) Alarms from alarm boxes are automatically transmitted to an emergency response facility where approved equipment is provided for the automatic receipt, storage, and retrieval of alarms.

(2) Audible and visual alerting devices are provided at the emergency communications center and the emergency response facility.

(3) All circuits and pathways used for alarm receiving and alerting equipment are monitored for integrity between the emergency communications center and the emergency response facility.

(4) Audible and visual trouble signals are provided at both the emergency communications center and the emergency response facility to indicate the failure of the circuit or pathway.

Until the 2022 edition of 72, there was no specific requirements for the alarm processing equipment within a communications center for a Type B system. This text is being added to provide requirements. Unless you work within New England, most alarm companies do not come across auxiliary systems.

There are two flavors of public emergency alarm reporting systems, Type A and Type B. A Type A system is one in which an alarm from an alarm box is received and retransmitted to the center. A Type B system is one in which the alarm from an alarm box is transmitted to a center and if part of the system is sent to supplementary alerting devices.

Next month’s article will be on fire sprinkler systems.

About the Author

SHANE CLARY, SSI Contributor


Shane Clary, Ph.D., is Security Sales & Integration’s “Fire Side Chat” columnist. He has more than 37 years of security and fire alarm industry experience. He serves on a number of NFPA technical committees, and is vice president of Codes and Standards Compliance for Pancheco, Calif.-based Bay Alarm Co.