It is important to know at least some history of the development of these NFPA standards. I have left this page open to comments in the hope that additional historical information will be added to what I am putting here.

Consensus-Based Standards and Codes Development

To date the NFPA has developed more than 300 building life-safety codes and standards.

How NFPA Develops Codes and Standards


Insurance Company Interest Starts the Ball Rolling

About 17 years ago the insurance industry contact the NFPA Standards Council about the development of premises security standards. This makes sense to me as I am familiar with the CapIndex national crime trend statistics (CAP stands for Crimes Against Persons and Property), which have shown increasing national crimes nearly each time that I have run a report for a client. So if you are an insurance company, and insured properties are subject to increasing crime activity, you either have to increase the rates or decrease the number and amount of claims.

The insurance companies already had long experience with fire insurance and the role that fire codes play in reducing fire disasters small and large, and thus the number and size of fire insurance claims. So it would seem to be a logical first step to contact the NFPA’s Standards Council.

However, there was considerable opposition to the NFPA’s development of security standards from various corners of the security industry, so after a few years the idea was dropped.

When after a few more years no security industry organizations stepped forward to develop security standards, the insurance industry once again went back to the NFPA’s Standards Council to try to get the ball rolling again.

The table below lists key points in the progress of the security standards development.

2006NFPA Publishes731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems

Date Action
1896 NFPA founded in Boston to create a standard for the uniform installation of fire sprinklers. For a detailed history see the NFPA History Page.
1911 The National Conference on Standard Electrical Rules dissolved (having finished their standards development work) and transferred the work of updating the National Electrical Code to the Electrical Committee of the National Fire Protection Association.
1994 Insurance industry first contacts NFPA Standards Council. After the security industry raised concerns about a fire protection association developing security standards, the initiative was not carried out.
1999 Insurance industry again contacts NFPA Standards Council
2000 NFPA Standards Council decides to proceed with Premises Security Standard
2001 ASIS International established the Commission on Guidelines to fill the need for security guidelines in the private sector.
2004 NFPA begins work on 730 Guide for Premises Security and 731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems
2005 NFPA releases for comment the first drafts of its proposed 730 Guide for Premises Security and 731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems
2005 ASIS International responds to the NFPA work on the 730 Guide for Premises Security, by stating that the NFPA should abandon its project to create a Guide for Premises Security. Download the NFPA 730 Report on Comments for the proposed 730 guide to see the full ASIS comment and about 50 other comments from various sources.ASIS makes no official comments about the 731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems, although many individuals comment from various organizations. Download the NFPA 731 Report on Comments for the proposed 731 standard to see the comments from various sources.
2005 SDM magazine publishes short summary of arguments for and against the 730 Guideline.


2005 NFPA Publishes 730 Guide to Premises Security
2007 NFPA prepares to update 730 and 731. Acceptance within the security industry grows, in part as a result of the openness of the process and increased participation by security industry companies and groups.Read the Report on increasing acceptance of the 731 standard published by Security Systems News.
2008 NFPA Publishes 730 Guide to Premises Security, 2008 Edition and 731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems, 2008 Edition


2011 NFPA Publishes 730 Guideline to Premises Security, 2011 Edition. This is a completely revised guideline that includes a new security plan based on Department of Homeland Security (DHS) material.NFPA Publishes 731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems, 2011 Edition.
2012 NFPA proposes revisions to the 730 Guide to Premises Security and the 731 Standard for the Installation of Electronic Premises Security Systems, including the designation of 730 as a Code rather than a Guide.

Thoughts, Questions and Opinions

Go to the Thoughts, Questions and Opinions page to see what others have to say about the potential impacts from the proposed standards, and to post your own comments about the issues.

The NFPA’s National Fire Codes are developed by technical committees staffed by over 5,000 volunteers, and are adopted and enforced throughout the world. NFPA functions as a nonprofit membership organization with more than 65,000 members from around the globe, all working together to fulfill the Association’s mission.

NFPA codes and standards are developed based on an open consensus-based process. Anyone can submit a request to develop a new code or standard. The Standards Council reviews requests and directs a technical committee to review the request and reach a consensus by at least two-thirds vote to take action. Once a code or standard is approved by a technical committee it is published and a call for proposals is issued. Anyone may submit proposals regarding a new code or standard. After the completion of the proposal and comment period, the technical committee will present the new code or standard to the NFPA membership at the annual World Safety Conference and Exposition.

We have to start somewhere. No current standards-setting organization has provided an overall guide or standard encompassing all of the recommendations from ANSI, ASHRAE, ASIS, CDC, DOJ, NIOSH, OSHA, etc. NFPA guidelines and standards are living documents subject to change as improvements in technology and procedures are refined.The NFPA standards-adoption process allows for interested persons to comment on the standard/guideline by submitting proposals for consideration to the committee. The NFPA method of standard/ guideline development allows for disparate interests to voice their concerns and impact the final document. NFPA reviews standards/guidelines on a regular basis to keep the guideline or code current.

The NFPA 730 Guideline is loosely based on DOJ, OSHA, and military publications not applicable to the private sector. Premises Security Committee members have a vested interest in the adoption of security standards. Committee members include: code and standard enforcement authorities, end users, equipment manufacturers, insurance industry, and special experts. ADT, Simplex Grinnell, and Tyco were represented on the committee. Five consulting firms were represented on the committee as special experts. A minority of committee members represented end users and the security industry. Although the security industry has softened its criticism of NFPA 730, they do not feel that the NFPA should set security standards or guidelines. The problem is no security industry trade group or association has put forth any overall security guideline for consideration.

The 2008 edition has been updated and revised to include new information on critical infrastructure protection to ensure that physical plant or digital information is reasonably protected from attacks that cause debilitating loss of operations. The new revisions include changes affect criteria for electrical power, gas and oil networks, telecommunications, banking and finance, transport, government operations, emergency services, and water supply systems, including new text on water treatment facilities and a reference to NECĀ® Article 585 (Critical Operations Power Systems) in the discussion on electrical generation.

Major changes for the 2008 NFPA 731:

  • A new chapter covers transmission of signals to a supervising station.
  • A new requirement was added to make it clear as to when the battery was installed as opposed as to when it was manufactured.
  • The requirement for ground supervision was removed, as not all intrusion detection control panels can provide this supervision and not all accessories need to be monitored for integrity.
  • A new rule specifies that a holdup signal must be transmitted to a monitoring station, not at a constantly attended law enforcement center.
  • A new chapter on the receiving and notification of signals from a protected premises addresses the monitoring, handling and notification on signals received. The chapter describes three types of monitoring stations — public safety agencies, proprietary monitoring and commercial monitoring.
  • The section on testing and maintenance of electronic premises security systems to reduce unwanted alarms and verify that the system is operating as intended was moved to the Annex.

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