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The New 2012 NFPA 720 Edition

Carbon Monoxide (CO) Standards Effects the Entire Nation

Blog by Mark K Goldstein, Ph.D.

Introduction: What does the NFPA 720 requirement 75 dB at the Pillow mean?

The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is a non-profit standards writing organization established in 1896, made up of over 70,000 members of fire and other life safety experts that write standards on the installation of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms along with installation and maintenance of most life safety equipment.  NPFA headquarters is located at 1 Battery March, Quincy, MA 02169-7471 with phone 617-770-3000 and fax 617-770-0700.  NPFA’s mission is to “reduce the worldwide burden of fire and other hazards on the quality of life by providing and advocating consensus codes and standards, research, training, and education.”

Answer: You must install a carbon monoxide alarm in every sleeping area.

NFPA 720 is the standard for the installation of carbon monoxide alarms.  It calls out that there be 75 dB at the pillow.  We have determined that this cannot be obtained reliably with carbon monoxide (CO) alarms outside the bedroom.  This is because if one closes the door the sound drops to such an extent that many people do not wake up.  This has a profound impact on rental properties and home owners trying to sell their homes as the must now install CO alarms in every bedroom to meet code.