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The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a United States trade association, albeit with some international members, that creates and maintains private, copyrighted, standards and codes for usage and adoption by local governments. This includes publications from model building codes to the many on equipment utilized by firefighters while engaging in hazardous material (hazmat) response, rescue response, and some firefighting.


HISTORY

The NFPA was formed in 1896 by a group of insurance firms with the stated purpose of standardizing the new and burgeoning market of fire sprinkler systems. The scope of the NFPA's influence grew from sprinklers and fire extinguishers to include building electrical systems (another new technology), and then into almost all aspects of building design and construction.

Its original membership was limited to insurance underwriting firms and there was no representation from the industries the NFPA sought to control. This changed in 1904 to allow other industries and individuals to participate in the development of the standards to be promulgated by the NFPA. The first fire department to be represented in the NFPA was theNew York City Fire Department in 1905, though their participation has declined steadily since then. Today, the NFPA includes representatives from some fire departments, many fire insurance companies, many manufacturing associations, some trade unions, many trade associations, and engineering associations.


CODES AND STANDARDS

NFPA is responsible for 300 codes and standards that are designed to minimize the risk and effects of fire by establishing criteria for building, processing, design, service, and installation in the United States, as well as many other countries. Its more than 200 technical code- and standard- development committees have over 6,000 volunteer seats. Volunteers vote on proposals and revisions in a process that is accredited by the American National Standards Institute (ANSI).

As part of its commitment to enhancing public safety through the adoption and enforcement of key ANSI codes and standards, NFPA makes all of its codes and standards available for review online by the public. The complete texts of standards documents are available on the NFPA Web site, with restrictions, for viewing, but not printing, by citizens, interested manufacturers and others with computer access. NFPA codes and standards are widely adopted, because they are developed using an open, consensus-based process. All NFPA codes and standards are developed and periodically reviewed by approximately 7,000 volunteer committee members with a wide range of professional expertise

NFPA : National Fire Protection Association

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