How do buildings manage to get away with non-temporal code?

I am aware that systems installed previous to July 1, 1996 are exempt from having to comply with the modern temporal (aka code-3) standard. However, my elementary school, a public school, had its current system installed in late 2006/2007 with Truealert Smartsync (maybe even addressable) horn/strobes (so not a single-stroke bell or chime). I know that it was inspected by the Fire Marshall once at the very least, and at this time, it was on continuous. How did my school manage to get away with this if, according to NFPA 72 (I’m referencing a 1999 edition):


In addition, beginning the following school year (August 2007), the signal coding was switched from continuous, but to Simplex’s 60 BPM “march time” (aka pulse), and it remained that way until the start of the 2010-2011 school year, when it was finally switched to temporal/code 3.

This also may be the case in my high school, whose system was presumably installed during a major renovation some time between 1994 and 1997 (the signals are from around that time). It is still on continuous, but I will give it the benefit of the doubt and assume that its system was installed before July 1, 1996, and that the Simplex technicians that installed it merely ignored the recommendation of temporal code.

There’s chance that I’m wrong (of course), but I believe that a new system installed after July 1, 1996 that replaced an older system could keep using whatever coding that the previous system was using. For example, I’m pretty sure my school’s current system was installed in 1998, but the alarms are coded to continuous since the previous system (probably) was.

I guess that makes sense, seeing as how the previous system had (IIRC they sounded like 120v) 4050s and 7004Ts on continuous (shudder) with 4050-8X lights on march time (it was an old Simplex system, Wilek209 guessed it to be a 4208). However, that still doesn’t explain why they changed it to “march time.”

I once went to a school that had loud fire alarms in code 3. They replace one of the horn/strobes at the end of one of the hallways. The new horn/strobe that they replaced in with sounded in continuous. While in a classroom in that hallway, you could just hear that alarm in the background while the code 3 alarms were at the pause.

The panel was probably set on continuous and had the alarms coding themselves to code 3. So whoever installed that alarm didn’t know about that or just forgot to set the alarm to the appropriate setting. That’s similar to the alarms at my school: some of the Commander’s that have replaced the GOS’s over the years are set on Code 3, rather than the continuous setting that a majority of the alarms are on.

When it comes to enforcing NFPA recommendations, some localities are stricter than others. For example, Pittsburgh (where I live) has let a lot of things slide since the 1980’s. The high school I went to had a system installed in 1997 and was set on continuous. I think a lot of inspectors around here have a “as long as it works, it passes” mentality. I helped with the inspection of a hospital’s system and saw this first-hand. The fact that I was even allowed to proves my point. :lol:



Some places such as New York, New Jersey, D.C., Chicago, and California not only have some of the strictest interpretation of NFPA 72 in the US, but also add their own local requirements.

Not sure how strict New Jersey is. During my time as an undergrad, a number of Rutgers dorms had systems installed in 2000 or later (they had TrueAlerts) where the horn/strobes sounded in 90 BPM (I think) March Time, and the room smoke detectors sounded continuously. Not sure if this was the case with non-residential buildings that have had systems installed in more recent years, or with brand-new buildings since then, but this may be a case of staying consistent with older coding as most older systems I’ve heard also did fast March Time. Seems like, at least in the past, this was the standard pattern at Rutgers. The most recent time I witnessed dorm fire drills at Rutgers, one dorm’s system had changed to code 3 (albeit with the smoke detector sounders still in continuous), while another still did March Time.



I’ve also heard a few cases where schools were added on to, and the new wing would have alarms in code 3 while the ones in the old wing would still do continuous.