In November 2012, IASPC President Rich Grassie and Immediate Past President Norman Bates wrote to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) stating IAPSC’s strong opposition to the development of the NFPA 730 Guide into national code due to the substantial liability implications that a violation of their proposed code represented to every business and organization in the country.
Last month, Bates addressed the standing committee for the NFPA’s 730 Guide at their meeting in Tampa, FL. The committee members were very receptive to IAPSC’s warnings about business and municipal liability, should they decide to make the 730 Guide into a national code. Bates explained that violation of such a code in many jurisdictions could result in automatic civil liability that could include attorney’s fees and costs in addition to any jury award.
Bates also explained how some plaintiff’s security experts were already using the 730 Guide to argue that some property owners were “negligent” for not following their current Guide. Several NFPA committee members appeared to be troubled by that notion.
Following the IAPSC presentation by Bates, the committee took another vote on the issue of “code” versus “guide” and voted to keep NFPA 730 as a guideline only.
This is good news. Although NFPA will likely continue in its work to develop this guideline further, at least for now it’s a document that allows for some flexibility as a “guideline” and not the strict adherence requirements of a national code.