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Authorities and Requirements


NFPA 70, National Electrical Code (NEC)

Fire alarm systems are electrical systems. They incorporate many components and systems that are installed and maintained in accordance with acceptable electrical standards and practices. NFPA 70 is the universally adopted reference for safe and proper electrical installations.

NFPA 70 is broken into “articles” that contain the requirements for different parts of an electrical system. Some articles deal with wiring and wiring types, for example, and others may deal with equipment construction and testing. Fire alarm systems can be supplied by electrical feeds up to 600 volts. Typically, a power supply to keep batteries charged will be 110 volts, and the fire alarm circuits in the building are "low voltage."Low voltage in terms of fire alarm systems is typically no more than 24 volts. The determination of the operating power used in the system is a function of the equipment, mainly the power supply. Many systems today will operate at 24 volts, and be electrically limited by the installation of a fuse rated for four or five amps. This equates to a normal power load of about 100 volt-amps. This power is low in relation to the ability to severely injure, or start a fire in a structure. These differences bring in different articles in the National Electrical Code.
NOTE: This is an unformatted excerpt from our online fire protection training library.

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