Controversy is expected by the chairman of a task group over a proposed guide for premises security. Shane Clary, Ph.D., vice president of codes and standards compliance for Bay Alarm Co., Pacheco, Calif., expects the American Society for Industrial Security (ASIS) will make a motion to return NFPA 730 “Guide for Premises Security” to committee.

Chad Callaghan, vice president for enterprise loss prevention for Marriott International, is on the committee representing ASIS. He reported that ASIS was opposed to NFPA 730, citing areas in which the document is too simplistic, too specific or not specific enough.

Callaghan noted that ASIS had been developing premises security guidelines but that the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) went ahead with its own, which he thinks are not representative of the security industry. “They allow for comment only directly on what they have written,” he noted.

NFPA 730 is a guide based on risk assessment principles that covers the basic information necessary to make decisions about security according to a facility’s use. NFPA 731 is a standard with specific requirements for installation of intrusion detection systems, access control and CCTV. They are up for adoption at the NFPA’s 2005 World Safety Conference and Exposition June 6-9 in Las Vegas.

Clary will present a paper there titled “A Summary of NFPA’s New Standard on Installation of Electronic Security Systems - NFPA 731.” He is the chairman of the NFPA task group that wrote this new standard and recently was named to a new three-year term as the chairman of the task group.

The review of 730 and 731 marks the closing of three years of effort over 12 multi-day meetings, Clary noted.

“We took a blank piece of paper and from it created this standard,” he described. The committee was made up of representatives from ASIS, the Security Industry Association (SIA), Underwriters Laboratories (UL), the Central Station Alarm Association (CSAA), the National Electrical Contractors Association (NECA), the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), the insurance industry, the American Hotel and Lodging Association, and law enforcement officials.

“This standard does not address signals being sent to a central station – that will be covered in the second edition, which is three years away,” Clary explained. “This is local only. The committee does feel if systems are installed to minimum standards, you have less likelihood of having an unwanted alarm caused by a malfunction.

“There also is a test and specification section that mandates that the end user of the system, especially intrusion detection systems, receive some instruction in the proper use of the system,” Clary continued. “We feel the largest cause of false alarms is not system networking, but the operator not knowing how to use it properly. A lot more of that will be covered in the second edition.”