Using Remote Monitoring to Comply with NFPA Standards

By Andrew Erickson

May 20, 2024

Virtually every building that ever contains people must follow the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) 72 National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code. The fire code is not just a suggestion. It's a requirement. Compliance with NFPA 72 ensures that fire alarm systems are:

  • Reliable
  • Effective
  • Capable of providing the protection that facilities require to safeguard lives and property

Here, we'll explore a few different topics together, including:

  • The big risks of non-compliance
  • How you can ensure adherence to these specific standards
  • The benefits of compliance with NFPA 72

What Happens if You Don't Comply with NFPA 72?

Non-compliance with NFPA 72 can lead to a range of issues. Some are very severe repercussions. Some of the typical consequences include:

  • Increased risk of fire damage: This one's obvious. Inadequate alarm systems may fail to detect or appropriately respond to fire incidents. This then leads to uncontrolled fires that can cause significant damage and put life safety at risk.
  • Legal and financial penalties: Facilities found in violation of NFPA 72 are at risk of more than just fires. Consequences can include hefty fines, legal penalties, and increased insurance premiums.
  • Operational disruptions: A major fire incident can disrupt business operations. This can lead to lost revenue and increased costs associated with repairs and downtime.
  • Damage to reputation: Safety lapses can negatively impact your company's reputation. This negatively affects customer trust and future business.

Why is it Challenging to Comply with NFPA 72?

Compliance challenges often stem from outdated systems, improper system design and installation, lack of regular maintenance, or the failure to update systems in line with new editions of the NFPA standards.

Many buildings still use older fire alarm systems that might not meet today's standards. These systems often lack modern technologies that improve reliability and detection.

Also, poor system design or installation can create coverage gaps or inefficiencies, lowering the fire alarm system's effectiveness.

Regular maintenance is essential to keep all components working correctly, but it can be time-consuming and expensive.

Finally, the NFPA regularly updates its codes and standards to reflect new knowledge and technological advancements, so what was once compliant may no longer meet the requirements. Keeping up with these updates requires continuous education and investment, which some facilities may struggle to maintain.

How to Ensure NFPA 72 Compliance in Your Buildings

Reliable remote monitoring technologies and accessories will ensure you comply with the code and enhance your fire alarm system as a whole. Here are some characteristics of monitoring devices you will want to consider when finding the one that best fulfills NFPA requirements:

  • Comprehensive monitoring capabilities
  • Enhanced reporting features
  • Scalability and flexibility
  • Regular compliance updates
  • Integration with existing systems
  • NFPA 72 compliant design and features

Comprehensive Monitoring Capabilities

In order to best meet code requirements, it is important that your monitoring device offers a range of modules designed to monitor various types of alarm inputs. Modules are usually either digital to analog. This wide range of modules ensures that all potential fire signals are captured and processed.

This comprehensive monitoring capability ensures that every component of a facility’s fire alarm system is under constant surveillance. Constant surveillance significantly reduces the risk of missed or unreported fires.

Enhanced Reporting Features

Good monitoring units have advanced reporting features that log and timestamp all events, from alarms to system troubles. This helps in immediate fire response and also in post-incident analysis and auditing processes.

This thorough recording of data ensures your buildings maintain ongoing compliance with NFPA 72.

Scalability and Flexibility

Having modules within your monitoring system will allow your facilities to expand or upgrade their fire alarm systems as needed.

Whether integrating with newer technologies or expanding coverage areas, the modules allow for the system to adapt to meet changing requirements without compromising on compliance or performance.

Regular Compliance Updates

Conduct scheduled checks to ensure that your system is always compliant with the latest NFPA 72 standards. Regular updates and optional enhancements mean that your facilities can stay current with minimal disruption.

Staying up to date guarantees ongoing compliance as standards evolve.

Integration with Existing Systems

A key challenge in NFPA 72 compliance is the integration of new systems with existing infrastructure. Look for devices or models designed to work with a wide range of fire alarm panels and existing building management systems.

This design will aid in seamless integration and make sure that all components communicate effectively. Clear communication is an essential requirement of NFPA 72.

DGM-32M Series
The DGM Series includes data gathering modules that monitor dry contacts

Where Can You Find NFPA 72 Compliant Designs and Features?

Digitize’s Data Gathering Module (DGM) series is an example of a remote monitoring solution designed to address and overcome NFPA 72 compliance related challenges. The DGM Series possesses all of the characteristics mentioned above, making it a wise choice.

The series includes data gathering modules that monitor dry contacts. The unit, or units, within the series communicates with a master unit, such as the System 3505 Prism LX, via a dedicated cable pair. The two communicate and record important data regarding your building or buildings.

All DGM models comply with NFPA 72's strict requirements for fire alarm systems. They are also ETL-listed.

These requirements include aspects like power backups, maintenance features, and alarm output specifications. This compliance is built into the design and functionality of the DGM series. This offers peace of mind to facility managers and compliance officers.

Real-World Application

The National Fire Protection Association has conducted a comprehensive study that has revealed that about 22 percent of the fires in 2023 were structure fires, including manufacturing and industrial sites.

Facilities equipped with compliant and properly-maintained fire alarm systems, such as those offered by Digitize, have experienced a significant reduction in fire-related incidents. Having a similar technology in place not only ensures your site is up to code, as is required, it also prevents damages and safety risks down the line.

By preventing fire incidents, you are saving on the potential costs associated with fire damage repair and restoration while also minimizing the risk of business interruption. This can have a severe impact on your business’s profitability and reputation.

Keeping this in mind, you will see how having a state-of-the-art fire alarm system is not merely a compliance measure but a strategic business decision that will save you and your business both time and money in the long run.

We Can Help You Enact a Plan

For those still navigating the complexities of NFPA 72 compliance, deploying a Digitize fire alarm monitoring system can be a part of this process. Digitize products ensure compliance, safety, and peace of mind.

For more information on how Digitize can help you meet NFPA 72 standards, visit our products page or contact our support team.

Call 1-800-523-7232 or email us at

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson

Andrew Erickson is an Application Engineer at DPS Telecom, a manufacturer of semi-custom remote alarm monitoring systems based in Fresno, California. Andrew brings more than 17 years of experience building site monitoring solutions, developing intuitive user interfaces and documentation, and...Read More