What is a Fire Code Extract?

The NFPA 1, Fire Code is often referred to as the Inspectors Handbook and was originally intended as a quick field reference guide for code officials. The Fire Code was often carried by the Authority having Jurisdiction (AHJ) or AHJ inspectors, in their pockets, but as it grew, the document migrated to the back seat of enforcement vehicles. The modern-day technologies of computers have allowed this quick reference code to be streamlined which by default continues to allow for more material to be added.

We often hear the term “extracts” when discussing Fire Code requirements and often misunderstand what that means. The word extract is not specifically defined by the code but is defined by Merriam-Wester’s dictionary as, to select (excerpts) and copy out or cite. The key word here is cite. What this means is that extracts are simply relevant language that is pulled from another document, typically a code or standard and injected into or cited into the Fire Code. They are simply placed in the code as pointers to allow for a quick reference to larger material. This seems simple enough but is only the first step in citing a larger section or utilizing additional reference material.

Extracts became a means to help reduce the overall size of the Fire Code, while still allowing for a quick reference pointer to relevant or in some cases multiple codes or standards that might apply to a single issue. This is incredibly handy for field inspectors to be able to site extracts enabling the use of the entire referenced document. The extracted material comes from current editions that are in cycle and in some cases have already been adopted in their entirety by referendum. Meaning that the inspector can site an extract from the Fire Code and then use that extraction to point to a larger more specific area of a supporting code or standard.

When the section is extracted it will have a note following the extraction directing the user to which document it’s from and the section number in that document.

Example, NFPA 1 Fire Code, Chapter 16 Safeguarding Construction, Alterations, and Demolition Operations,

Section 16.4.3.3.2.9 Top hose outlets shall not be more than one floor below the highest form, staging and similar combustibles at all times (241: 8.7.4.2.9).

The user now knows that all standpipe requirements for buildings under construction, alteration or demolition can be found in the standard that governs those requirements. NFPA 241 the Standard for Safeguarding Construction, Alteration, and Demolition Operations, in chapter 8. The user also understands that the wording is specific to another standard which is adopted and supported by Technical Expertise on that specific subject.

Guidelines and procedures for extractions can be found in the NFPA Standards Council Guideline in annex A.6.