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Fire Alarm Guidelines

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SCOPE: The information provided herein serves as a planning tool for compliance.  It does not remove the responsibility of the owner to comply with all laws applicable to Fire Alarm Systems.

Basic Requirements:

  • Rules and Regulations adopted by the State Board of Insurance and the State Fire Marshal’s Office.
  •  2015 International Codes as Amended
  • Applicable National Fire Protection Association Standards

*Note: See manual and automatic fire alarm threshold summary below; in addition to the 2015 International Fire Code adopted amendments.  These items provide detailed information regarding fire alarm requirement thresholds in certain occupancies. City of Hurst Fire Alarm system threshold data


The Fire Marshal’s office shall be notified prior to any installation or alteration of equipment on a fire alarm system. Complete information regarding the system or system alterations, including specifications, wiring diagrams, location of equipment and floor plans shall be submitted for approval. A permit is required for most fire alarm installations or alterations.


Plans shall be standard blueprint quality and have been prepared by a State of Texas registered engineer, planning superintendent or NICET qualified designer unless otherwise approved by the fire code official. Plans shall include all information listed in the current edition of NFPA 72 and have a title box with name and address of the installation location and the name, address, and phone number of installing company.

Plans shall be signed and sealed by the designer with an original signature on one set. When a third party engineer is utilized, he shall provide a submittal letter indicating that he is working as an agent of the licensed contractor and specify their field of expertise. Plan shall bear an equipment symbol legend and relevant North indicator. Plans shall indicate occupancy classification of installation and specify the type of system being installed as defined by NFPA 72.


Group A. Amendment added to 907.2.1 of the International Fire Code requires that a manual fire alarm system that activates the occupant notification system in accordance with Section 907.5 in a Group A occupancies will cause illumination of the means of egress with light of not less than one (1) foot candle at the walking surface level and stop any conflicting or confusing sounds and visual distractions. In addition, the exception allowing no pull stations in a sprinkled building may only be used when approved by the fire marshal.

907.2.3 Group E. A manual fire alarm system that activates the occupant notification system utilizing an emergency voice/alarm communication system meeting the requirements of section 907.5.2.2 and installed in accordance with section 907.6 shall be installed in group E educational occupancies. When automatic sprinkler systems or smoke detectors are installed, such systems or detectors shall be connected to the building fire alarm system. An approved smoke detection system shall be installed in group E day care occupancies. Unless separated by a minimum of 100 feet of open space all buildings, whether portable buildings or the main building, will be considered one building for alarm occupant load consideration and interconnection of alarm systems.

The provisions of group E occupancies shall extend to group E - Day Care facilities and group I-4 Day Care with the following modifications:

  1. Smoke detection is required in each room that is or may be used for child or adult care purposes.
  2. A manual pull station is required at a location where it is readily available to the staff.
  3. Kitchen fire suppression systems shall be interconnected to and activate the fire alarm system.
  4. An emergency voice evacuation component is not required as part of the fire alarm system in group E day care or group I-4 occupancies.


1. {No change}

1.1 Residential in-home day care with not more than twelve (12) children may use single station smoke alarms in all habitable rooms. (For child care of more than five (5) children two and one-half (2-1/2) or less years of age, see section 907.2.6) {No change to remainder of exceptions}

In I-4 occupancies, fire alarm systems must be installed in accordance with 907.2.3 regardless of the age of the clients.

Water flow alarms shall not be capable of being reset while a water flow condition is occurring.

External weatherproof a/v device(s) are required at an approved location. All a/v devices shall be of an approved type and must have the word “FIRE” or approved signage on the device.

A smoke detector shall be provided at each fire alarm control unit, notification appliance circuit extender and supervisory station transmitting equipment.

All installations shall be in accordance with the State of Texas Fire Alarm Rules, the current adopted edition of the International Fire Code, appendixes and adopted amendments of the fire code, this document and the current editions of the following National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Standards and References:

  1. NFPA 70 – National Electric Code
  2. NFPA 72 – National Fire Alarm Code
  3. NFPA 13 – Installation of Sprinkler Systems
  4. NFPA 90A – Installation of Venting Systems
  5. NFPA 90B – Installation of Heating & Air Conditioning
  6. NFPA 101 – Life Safety Code

907.4.2.7: Type. Manual alarm initiating devices shall be an approved double action type.

907.6.1.1: Wiring Installation.

All fire alarm systems shall be installed in such a manner that a failure of any single initiating device or single open in an initiating circuit conductor will not interfere with the normal operation of other such devices. All signaling line circuits (SLC) shall be installed in such a way that a single open will not interfere with the operation of any addressable devices (Class A). Outgoing and return SLC conductors shall be installed in accordance with NFPA 72 requirements for Class A circuits and shall have a minimum of four feet separation horizontal and one foot vertical between supply and return circuit conductors. The initiating device circuit (IDC) from a signaling line circuit interface device may be wired Class B, provided the distance from the interface device to the initiating device is ten feet or less.

903. Protection against Freezing.

New and existing fire sprinkler systems, including risers, shall be an approved design to protect against freezing or be in a conditioned space in order to maintain a temperature above 40 degrees Fahrenheit (four degrees 98 Celsius). Areas or rooms containing risers shall be monitored for temperature conditions by the fire alarm panel and send a supervisory signal upon alarm. Heaters shall be hard wired with a maintenance disconnect in a location to be determined by the code official.

907.1.4 Design Standards.

Where a new fire alarm system is installed, the devices shall be addressable. Fire alarm systems utilizing more than 20 smoke detectors shall have analog initiating devices

1103.7.8: Fire Alarm System Design Standards.

Where an existing fire alarm system is upgraded or replaced, the devices shall be addressable. Fire alarm systems utilizing more than 20 smoke and/or heat detectors shall have analog initiating devices.

Exception: Existing systems need not comply unless the total building, or fire alarm system, remodel or expansion exceeds 30% of the building. When cumulative building, or fire alarm system, remodel or expansion initiated after the date of original fire alarm panel installation exceeds 50% of the building, or fire alarm system, the fire alarm system must comply within 18 months of permit application.


  • A fire alarm system that is upgraded or replaced includes, but is not limited to the following:
  • Replacing one single board or fire alarm control unit component with a newer model
  • Installing a new fire alarm control unit in addition to or in place of an existing one
  • Conversion from a horn system to an emergency voice/alarm communication system
  • Conversion from a conventional system to one that utilizes addressable or analog devices

The following are not considered an upgrade or replacement:

  • Firmware updates
  • Software updates
  • Replacing boards of the same model with chips utilizing the same or newer firmware System circuit disconnecting means shall be permanently identified as to its purpose in accordance with the following:

(1) “FIRE ALARM” for fire alarm systems
(2) “EMERGENCY COMMUNICATIONS” for emergency communications systems
(3) “FIRE ALARM/ECS” for combination fire alarm and emergency communications systems For fire alarm and/or signaling systems, the circuit disconnecting means shall have a red marking. Circuit Breaker Lock. Where a circuit breaker is the disconnecting means, a listed breaker locking device shall be installed. Overcurrent Protection. An overcurrent protective device of suitable current-carrying capacity that is capable of interrupting the maximum short-circuit current to which it can be subject shall be provided in each ungrounded conductor.

26.6.3 Communications Methods. The communications methods used to transmit signals to the supervising stations shall meet the requirements of for performance based technologies, or or for prescriptive based technologies. For Performance based systems, multiple transmission paths are required for communications. A single technology shall be permitted to be used to create the multiple paths if all requirements are met within NFPA 72 Section  Prescriptive based communications shall meet the requirements listed within NFPA 72 26.6.3.