A Fire Code to Protect Pets

Pets need fire safety, too: Suppression and detection requirements for animal facilities.



Over centuries of civilization, mankind has formed a unique bond with dogs, cats and other animals.

From time to time these precious family members need either go in for veterinary treatments or be boarded for a while.

Depending on the state or local jurisdiction of the animal hospital or boarding facility, there may be requirements calling for the installation of an automatic fire suppression or detection system.

In 2016, California, for example, passed into law a requirement that pet boarding facilities must have either a fire alarm system or a fire suppression sprinkler system. This was a follow-up to a law in the state that required these systems in pet stores that housed animals overnight.

The bill, SB 945, was authored by state Sen. Bill Monning and passed through both the California Senate and Assembly without any negative votes.

The law includes many requirements for the protection and wellbeing of animals that are left overnight at a facility. The verbiage covering installation of a fire alarm system is very open: A fire alarm system that is connected to a central reporting station that alerts the local fire department in case of fire.

Moreover, the law contains no guidelines and to what level of detection is to be provided, where it is to be provided or what is to be provided. NFPA 72, “National Fire Alarm and Signaling Code,” does not assist, as this is an installation standard.

The two fire codes in the United States — the International Fire Code and NFPA 1 — have no requirements, nor does NFPA 101, “Life Safety Code.”

So where should an alarm dealer turn to for assistance in keeping our beloved animals safe when they’re away from home? Take a look at NFPA 150, “Fire and Life Safety in Animal Housing Facilities Code,” with the 2019 edition being the most current.

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