As the industry moves into a more technically advanced age, there are new resources to make code compliance and project management easier to accomplish. I have always encouraged technicians to be well versed in the codes and standards applicable to fire alarm systems. At the very least, I have encouraged you to have a copy of the relevant building code for your area, NFPA 72, National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code and NFPA 70, National Electrical Code in each of your trucks. I often receive pushback on this recommendation due to the cost of buying the codes for each truck (which for larger organizations could be substantial) and primarily because the books would not last very long when buried by project materials.
It has become more common for project managers to have a tablet to allow monitoring of project status and other functions such as ensuring material is on-site and on-time. This technology allows users to purchase NFPA codes and standards in PDF format, but you generally might only afford to buy one or two of the codes you normally use, such as NFPA 72 and the NEC, so cost is still a limiting factor.
NFPA has introduced NFPA LiNK, a new tool that can be a game changer when attempting to ensure code compliance for fire alarm system projects. It’s a subscription service that provides instant digital access to all NFPA codes and standards. Once loaded on to a device, it provides on-demand access to the codes and standards and includes exclusive NFPA expert commentary where and when it’s needed.
The subscription offers access to more than 1,400 NFPA codes and standards, including all current editions and a library of legacy titles going back five editions, which could be very useful if a work area covers multiple states and jurisdictions. Subscribers will also get early access to newly released editions before the printed book is available.
Many users, including myself, expressed concern with the service because it requires internet access, which may not be available on new project sites. NFPA listened to those concerns and has just introduced the Offline Mode, which enables access to content wherever you are. Simply store relevant publications to the device so they’re available when you need them, anytime, anywhere. This new feature allows storage of your most-used publications to a device, including bookmarks and notes.
For anyone who wishes to try the service free of charge for 14 days, visit https://link.nfpa.org/sign-up/register/trial. In my estimation, and as NFPA states “it’s the simpler, faster way to get the job done right.”