Top Vids recently published a blog post entitled, 25 Must See YouTube Videos About Fire Prevention.  Here is number 1: is dedicated to providing the most comprehensive guide to accredited colleges and universities which offer fire science degrees.

Disability and Fire

Annually, an estimated 1,700 residential building fires involving individuals with mental disabilities are reported to U.S. fire departments and cause an estimated 85 deaths, 250 injuries, and $61 million in total loss.  Additionally, there are an estimated 700 residential building fires involving individuals with physical disabilities that occur each year, resulting in 160 deaths, 200 injuries, and $26 million in property loss.

According to the reports, the majority of the residential building fires involving individuals with mental (62 percent) and physical (63 percent) disabilities occur in one- and two-family dwellings.  Cooking, at 22 percent, is the leading cause of residential fires where a physical disability is reported as a human factor contributing to the ignition of the fire.  This differs from the leading cause of residential fires where a mental disability is reported as a human factor contributing to ignition.  In these types of fires, intentional is the leading fire cause, at 40 percent.  Fire incidence involving individuals with disabilities occur most often in January and December.  In addition, these fires show a tendency to peak in the late afternoon to early evening hours.

The USFA has released the following two topical reports on residential building fires involving individuals with disabilities.
  1. Residential Building Fires Involving Individuals With Mental Disabilities
  2. Residential Building Fires Involving Individuals With Physical Disabilities

High Cost of Non-Compliance

I jokingly tell people that the reason I got into fire prevention is because I don't need any more friends. Everyone seems to hate it when the fire inspector comes around. People seem to be most afraid of the potential cost to correct any fire code violations that the inspector may find.  However, as fire inspectors our responsibilities in code enforcement are to, not only protect ourselves, but also the business owner.

We protect the business owner by identifying fire hazards in their business.  By identifying and correcting these hazards loss of a business property, time, and lives can be avoided.  However, fire inspections also protect the business owner, by ensuring that if an incident does occur the businesses insurance company will make any necessary payments.  Often times, insurance companies try to find a way not to pay, and if the facilities are not up to current fire codes then it is easy for the insurance company to deny the claims.

The Insurance Journal recently reported that a fire destroyed, restaurant in Massachusetts was recently denied it's insurance claim, and court ordered to repay a $15,000 insurance advance. The judge based his ruling on the fact that the restaurant had been operating with an out of date fire suppression system. You can read the entire article here, Massachusetts Judge: Obsolete Fire-Suppression Means No Claims Paid.

As fire prevention professionals it is our responsibility to educate business and industry representatives on the fact that we are not just there to hurt them, fight against them, or shut down their business, but that we are there to partner with them to ensure the continued success and longevity of there enterprise.

What in the HDPE is going on? - REVISITED

After the original post, What in the HDPE is going on?, I received several comments and some other useful information.

A practice that I have started is to make any contractor that submits plans utilizing HDPE for fire service undergrounds, to also submit cut sheets for the exact brand/type of HDPE beign utilized.  A recent submittal by Sim-Oak Mechanical produced a wealth of information. 

  • HDPE approved for fire mains is black with a red stripe.
  • HDPE approved for fire mains needs to be DR-9, as DR-9 is rated for the NFPA 24 required 200psi pressure test.
  • HDPE approved for fire mains should comply with AWWA C906 or ASTM D3035 or NSF/ANSI 61
Here are some reader comments, via Linked In:

Dominick Kasmauskas • If it meets the NFPA Standards for Fire Protection and is allowed by your local or state codes and standards, plus the underground contractors are trained and/or certified (if there exists a certification) for using the process, the item in question will generally be supported by the fire sprinkler industry.

ALBERT MIGNONE • HDPE [high density poly ethylene] can do many things but cross-linked LDPE [low density poly ethylene] might be better. It does almost everything the HDPE can do but with a better coeficient of friction. [You can bet more water through the same diameter tubing.]

Pex and/or Fire Pex are good alternatives and are making headways into sprinkler systems in the central and western parts of the country. The Pex materials carry warranties that other pipes and tubing do not have. They also are less likely to fail in some freeze situations because of how they are installed.I would like to see some data on success or failures and real cost numbers for installations.

Mission Belle Glade

I just spent an amazing week in Belle Glade, FL!  I was there with over 400 students and 150 adults serving this community.  The students put on a sports camp, vacation Bible school, and did several service projects includind, painting, landscaping, and feeding people.

Read all about it at

Spidey Sense Tingling?

Enjoy this guest post from Roy Poteete.

It is all the rage Light Weight Building Material. From Wood I Beams to Open Web Floor Truss. Cities and local building codes are allowing these materials to be used to save the contractor money on the front end of there cost to make a huge profit on the back end.

But what is really instore is a potential Fatal Hazard for the Firefighters, the Home Owners or anyone that might be trapped inside the structure. Open Web Floor Truss; check out the video link as you can see that there is only 2x4's top and bottom and a steel web gusset palte that is stamped/rolled into the wood. These gusset paltes only penetrate the wood about 1/4".

Firefighters you need to know where these houses are being built, subdivisions and the homes that these are built with. They have a faster burn thru time vs. a #1 Southeren 
Yellow Pine 2"x12" floor joist. 

Yes, they offer a ease of building, open floor web trusses allow for duct work, electric, plumbing to be ran thru it. But the danger of failure is the same as in any roof truss. Failure in any web member and you have a total failure in all web members and the truss system. 

Wood I beams......where to start. They should be outlawed as well. I am sold on traditional building materials of a #1 Southern Yellow Pine 2" X 12" floor joist.

Check out this video of a Wood I Beam. You can cut a hole in them allowing the threat of fire to potentially travel thru the hole to another floor joist. Allow the fire to attack the wood fibers of the OSB Board that they are made with. They are attached with a 8 penny nail. A nail that is about 2.5" in length. A 16 penny nail is about 3.5" in length. So the depth of an 8 penny nail is shorter then a 16 penny. so attachment is 1" less. 

Know where these products are being used. Make sure that the crews are aware of these building materials being used. You may want to go on a defensive attack when encountering these structures. Make sure that the home owners are aware of the potential danger of trapping a firefighter and failure of the floor systems could cause the structure to collapse.

Washed A-Shore

Enjoy this guest post from Roy Poteete.

Ever since the building boom of the housing industry since the 1980's and the ever increasing regulations of putting electrical water and sewer lines undergound for added safety we foregot one thing and it is TRENCH WORKER SAFETY AND TRECH COLLAPSE.

Having taken a Trench Collapse Rescue Course thru Missouri Fire Rescue Training Institute, ColumbiaMO; we learned one major thing.......the weight of the dirt is enough to crush your body at 5' depth and a 16" wide hole.

As a firefighter do you know the weight of a cubic yard of dirt? if not you need to do some research and learn this answer.

So why are the Fire Departments not inspecting these operations and putting in place along with the City and or County Councils to ensure worker safety with a regulation such as:


Q: So should Trench Work be inspected daily by the fire department and or the local building inspectors?
A: YES! By not having this you are only creating a problem for workers. You may have a mom and pop plumbing company that has to replace a sewer line like above. If the trench would of collapsed with the worker inside the trench it would of cost them their business and a huge fine from OSHA. 

By mandating in a regualiton that all TRENCH WORK must have a permit and the operations while in the trench has the proper shoring equipment in place while working will save the oeprations money in fines and death benefits. 

Q: So why are not Fire Departments and local building codes not enforcing this issue?
A: Money, staffing/manpower; and local mom & pop plumbing business.

Mandating a Regualtions and a permit fee you can offset the cost of manpower to inspect these work sites.

Q: What if a mom & pop does not have the money to purchase the equipment (Shoring)?
A: They can rent them from local equipment rental supply companies. 

Understanding the importance of shoring properly, using fans to help circulate air to prevent methan gas explosions in the trench and or methane gas back up and other gases. These gases are Deadly and they have no smell. 

Q: Should Fire Department give a Trench Worker Safety Class?
A: Yes, most fire departments has a training officer. He/She can be used to teach this class. Most constuction companies do not work in the cold/snowy months. This is the best time to give these classes. Go to the companies and offer the class. Use the training officer to aid in promoting your department. That is there job. To train. Yes, to train the fire department but expand your area of training to include construction workers. Go to the Union Halls. Most unions mandate some sort of training requirments for the workers. This is your time to shine and show your department off and cross train with them.

Got you interested in something about this blogspot? Then go learn TRENCH COLLAPSE RESCUE and teach the workers that are inside this potential DEATH TRAPS.

Backyard Mission

This week I have the honor to be serving with more than 400 students in Belle Glade, FL.  This has become an annual trip, looked forward to with much anticipation.  Over 400 students and 200 leaders from Christ Fellowship will be bringing the love of Jesus Christ to this community through neighborhood cleanup, house painting, food giveaways, sports camps and vacation Bible school.  You can follow the trip at:

Here's a video of what we experienced last year:

As I will be away, this will be a low blog post week. I have 2 guest posts, compliments of Roy Poteete.  If you are interested in being a guest blogger on The Code Coach, just contact me.

Butterfly Smoke Seal

Al Shaw, president of Butterfly Safety Products, invented the Butterfly Smoke Seal. Made of high-temperature cloth, it is made to slip beneath a door to keep smoke and poisonous gases out. The barrier is meant to buy time in the case someone is trapped in a blaze without a means of escape.

The product information states that this meets NFPA 105: Standard for the Installation of Smoke Door Assemblies and Other Opening Protectives.

Top 10 Changes to NFPA 25

The following post has been adapted from an article provided in the EPARADE group.

The newest edition of NFPA 25 has been released.  Below are the top 10 signifcant changes that you should be aware of:

  1. Monthly Electric Fire Pump Testing. Pumps to be run monthly, rather than weekly.
  2. New Levels of System Deficiencies. Four different levels of system readiness were created and Annex E was added to supply information as to what thes four levels of readiness might look like.
  3. Obstruction Inspections Renamed Internal Piping Inspections.
  4. Occupants Not Responsible for Valve Locations. Standard revised to simply require that the "location of shutoff valves shall be identified."
  5. No Pre-Season Check for Areas Subject to Freezing.
  6. Clean But Don't Touch. In lieu of replacing sprinklers that are loaded with a coating of dust, it ispermissible to remove the dust from the sprinkler using compressed air or a vacuum, provided the equipment does not touch the sprinkler.
  7. Sprinkler System Hazard Evaluation Form. To differentiate between a hazard evaluation required  and a normal system inspection, an Annex F was added to show an example of a sprinkler system hazard evaluation form.
  8. Owner's Section of Inspection Forms Recommended.
  9. 3-Year Preaction System Air Test Added.
  10. Heat Tape Inspection Required.

Major League Fire Protection

The below story comes from Consulting-Specifying Engineer and Notifier
An interesting article for those fire prevention officials that do not have the opportunity to work with systems/facilities of this magnitude.

Major League Fire Protection

Citi Field’s highly advanced fire protection and evacuation systems make use of both centralized and distributed intelligence.

When the New York Mets National League ballpark in Flushing, N.Y., was built in 2009, countless hours were spent on the planning, installation, and testing of the 1.2 million-sq-ft facility’s fire protection system. Citi Field, named after corporate sponsor Citigroup, comprises a contoured seating design for optimal views from all seats with a 360-deg walking path around the entire park. The system needed to meet fire codes from several different governing bodies, including NFPA 72 2007, the Americans with Disabilities Act (ADA), New York Fire Dept., and the authority having jurisdiction (AHJ).

For the system’s head-end, Citi Field management chose the ONYX Series NFS2-3030 fire alarm control panel with integrated digital voice command, manufactured by NOTIFIER. Local fire and life safety systems specialists Cross-Fire and Security Co. Inc. worked with the job’s electrical contractor to manage system design, installation, and programming. M.E. Engineers Inc., a group that has worked on several other major sports stadium projects, was the consulting engineer on record.

More than 2,000 initiating devices were installed throughout Citi Field, most of which are duct- and spot-type smoke detectors. To accommodate Citi Field specs and an AHJ request, relatively few manual fire pull boxes were installed to deter bogus alarms.

A fire alarm system with a large number of field devices must react to events just as rapidly as a small system. ONYX Series panels use the FlashScan protocol, which can poll 318 devices in 2 sec and initiate a full-system response in less than 5 sec.

The ballpark is equipped with a centralized method for monitoring and control of the entire fire protection network. The ONYX network control station (NCS) is a computer with graphic user interface and detailed facility floor plans that allow users to check system status and search event history. During an event, the screen automatically zeroes in on the activated device and displays related information labels, such as nearby hazardous material storage and special occupancy areas.

When two or more strobes can be seen at the same time, they must be synchronized to flash in unison. Each strobe panel receives a sync pulse from the NFS2-3030 fire alarm control panel. This enables the system to coordinate each and every flash from one side of the facility to the other.

“You can see one side of the ballpark to the other, so we had to put in strobe panels in order to achieve synchronization throughout the park. When the fire alarm system goes off, it looks like one giant flash bulb,” Beers said.

The system protecting Citi Field is divided into four quadrants with a data gathering panel (DGP) node positioned in each section. The four panels report to the main NFS2-3030 fire alarm control panel, which issues commands as needed. Interconnection of panels, annunciators, DGPs, and other command/control devices is accomplished via NOTI-FIRE-NET, a token-style network.

Due to the system’s distributed intelligence, if connection is lost with the head-end panel, each DGP will continue to operate independently until connection is restored. Once the interruption is corrected, system operation returns to normal and data (event information, programming changes) can continue to be exchanged between each DGP and fire alarm control panel node.

“There was a lot of integration on this job. We had to integrate with the building management system on site as well as the public address system in the bowl,” Beers said. “We received the final approval from the New York Fire Dept. to use the PA system as a method of broadcasting alarm signals throughout the ballpark.”

If necessary, the fire alarm’s DVC can override the bowl’s PA system to broadcast live emergency communications throughout the ballpark. The DVC can provide up to eight channels of audio with five channels of firefighters’ telephone, plus control and supervision for up to 32 digital audio amplifier units. Additional integration to Citi Field’s fire protection system includes controls of fans, dampers, elevators, and escalators for smoke control functions.

Would love to hear other stories of people who work with these large-scale facilities and systems.

Bounce Houses and Funnel Cakes

Everyone loves a carnival, festival, or county fair. However, to ensure that everyone has a safe and fun event, NFPA 1:10.15 gives guidlines that must be followed:
  • ensure that all proper permits have been applied for and received (ensure that this is done well in advance of the event, as certain requirements may need to be met prior to the event)
  • the local fire authority has the right to require a life safety evaluation and standby fire personnel
  • each concession stand should have at least (1) fire extinguisher
  • (1) smoke alarm shall be located in all areas used for sleeping
  • concession cooking stands shall have 10' of clearance on two sides and be a minimum of 10' away from amusemnt rides or devices
  • a method of notifying the fire department in case of emergency shall be in place and available to the public

G5 Leadership

As fire service professionals we should constantly be striving to increase our leadership effectiveness.  Leadership, in its simplest form, is influence. If we are ever to be successful in our pursuits of fire/life safety we must hold the power of influence. G5 Leadership can take you there.  G5 Leadership is web based leadership training organization which offers video training for leaders, as well as, live web events.  You get unlimited access to this content for a low yearly membership fee.  I strongly encourage any one desiring to lead to check it out.

So... What Does "G5" Mean Anyway?

G5 is short for "Fifth Gear." Over the last decade, our research of over 6,493 people on 487 teams in 1,938 companies showed that people work in one of 5 different "gears:"

First Gear: The Value Suckers (2%)
Traits: Me-mentality, disconnected from the team, make things worse just by coming to work. When they call in sick, productivity and morale go up.

Second Gear: The Job-Holders (25%)
Traits: Me-mentality, one or two people they connect with, fight for the status-quo. Been to the DMV? Yes, that's them.

Third Gear: The Isolators (49%)
Traits: Me-first mentality, personal project-centered. Team is for coordination/logistics, not collaboration. You vs. Me. Think "The Apprentice."

Fourth Gear: The Turf-Protectors (24%)
Traits: Team-centered, functional mentality, good team performance, but don't have the bigger company picture in mind. Us vs. Them. Think Sales vs. Marketing, not Sales and Marketing.

Fifth Gear: The Difference-Makers (2%)
Traits: Enterprise/market-first mentality. Think like connected, focused entrepreneurs. No turf wars, just killer production. Have you seen a Pixar movie lately? Those movies are brought to you by Difference-Makers.

Any of these gears sound familiar? Just remember most people don't start driving their car in top gear. It takes time and energy to get up to speed.

Interesting Image

What "gear" are you currently in? What "gear" would you like to be in?

First Gear: The Value-Suckers (2%)

Rihanna On Fire

Last night at a Rihanna show in Dallas the stage caught on fire due to a pyrotechnics malfunction.

Rihanna was rushed off stage as sparks fell on the piano and instruments around her, eventually igniting the stage curtain. The American Airlines Arena was evacuated, and firefighters were on scene immediately to extinguish the fire. There were no injuries or fatalities.

The National Fire Protection Association has several standards in place that, no doubt, contributed to the minimal property loss and complete life preservation of all the guests in the arena.

  • NFPA 101, Life Safety Code, lays out specific plans for the fire safety of stages in section 12.4.5

  • NFPA 160, Standard for the Use of Flame Effects Before an Audience, details exactly how these pyrotechnic devices are to be handled, pre-show, show, and post-show. This also includes the provision for standby firefighting personnel.

  • NFPA 1126, Standard for the Use of Pyrotechnics Before a Proximate Audience, would come into effect based on how close the audience will potentially be to the actual pyrotechnic effects.

Flame Authority

Here's an old concept being haled as a new innovation:

Deer Park, NY, July 06, 2011 -- The Flame Authority announces a new line of products that quickly combat home fires.

Since the five-year statistics on house fire rates were published by the National Fire Protection Association in 2009, the Flame Authority has been working on its line of automatic fire extinguishers. Called the Flame Defender, this new line of products uses an effective fire retardant chemical known as monoammonium phosphate to eliminate fires as they happen.

The introduction of the Flame Defender follows the NFPAs report that the 362,500 home structural fires that occurred in the United States from 2004 through 2009 caused $7.6 billion in property damage and claimed more than 2,500 civilian lives.

Heating and electrical equipment caused nearly one-fourth of the fires in the NFPA report. These types of fires are particularly destructive because they often break out in basements and utility cupboards, where they may be undetected by homeowners even if they are at home when the fire erupts.

The Flame Defender is ideal for these types of situations as it does not require a person to operate it. A special temperature sensor automatically triggers a pressure gauge to release the fire retardant material when the temperature reaches 155 degrees Fahrenheit. The unit is also rated to combat Class A, B and C fires, meaning its safe for use on everything from paper to flammable liquids to electrical equipment.

The line of Flame Defender automatic fire extinguishers features three sizes, allowing homeowners to protect an area up to 7.7 feet in diameter. Commercial and marine versions are also available for business owners and boaters to protect their investments. The product requires no special plumbing or drilling to install. Homeowners simply mount the device onto the wall and let the Flame Defender go to work to protect their homes and belongings.

Additional details are available at:

What are your thoughts? Viable product/idea or not so much?

Working Your "Calling"

This two part video from Fire Engineering features Chief Lasky discussing the "calling" of the fire service.

Three traits that must be demonstrated by the fire service professional is integrity, honor, and pride.

Chief Lasky - Part 1

"We exist to help people." -Chief Lasky

Chief Lasky - Part 2

"...learn every day." - Chief Lasky

The hero part of this job is becoming a public servant.

Why Prevention Matters

More than 150 people were displaced when this 430 room hotel was destroyed by fire.  The cause of this fire is still under investigation.  However, several news reports have found that this hotel had several long outstanding fire prevention code violations. 

The violations include:
  • No fire extinguishers and/or extinguishers that were out of service
  • Fire hydrants that were blocked and covered by shrubbery and debris
  • Exit and emergency lights that were not operational in hallways
  • Fire sprinkler system deficiencies, including a sprinkler system that was not monitored
Add to these violations, the fact that this building was constructed in the early 1980's.  Considerable code changes have been adopted since that time that would have prevented the total loss of this structure; code changes in the construction of these facilities that would have included smoke dampers, fire stops, and fire walls.

This is why fire prevention matters, to address these violations and enforce the correction of deficiencies. And to ensure that new facilities meet current code requirements during construction.

What in the HDPE is going on?

National Fire Protection Association, Standard for Installation of Private Fire Service Mains and Their Appurtenances (NFPA 24), lists the requirements for underground piping serving fire sprinkler systems.  Typically, PVC DR-14, or ductile iron, pipe is used for fire service undergrounds.  However, it is becoming more common to see the use of HDPE pipe being utilized for fire service mains.

HDPE, high-density polyethylene, is polyethylene thermoplastic made from petroleum.  Per NFPA 24, Table 10.1.1 HDPE is permitted for use as a fire service main provided it meets AWWA C906 standard, and is specifically UL listed for use as fire service main/underground piping (this documentation should be submitted with the plans for review).

HDPE shall be tested the same as  all underground fire service mains per NFPA 24: -

All piping and attached appurtenances subjected to system working pressure shall be hydrostatically tested at 200 psi (13.8 bar) or 50 psi (3.5 bar) in excess of the system working pressure, whichever is greater, and shall maintain that pressure at ±5 psi (0.35 bar) for 2 hours.
An important observation when hydrostatically testing HDPE is that a standard 200 psi hydrostatic test will fail. If there are no leaks, the pipe stretches and will show a drop in pressure. Generally, the best way to test this pipe is to pressurize it and leave it pressurized and then come back later and bump the pressure back up to 200 psi after it has dropped to a point where the pressure holds steady. Then do the hydro. If there is a leak, the pipe pressure will continue to fall and never stabilize.

This is just a brief introduction to HDPE piping used for fire service mains.  What are some other challenges that you have found with this pipe? Where have you seen HDPE utilized successfully? How have you seen HDPE fail?

One Nation Under God

Quotes to consider this Independence Day:

"Take away a heritage of a people and they are easily persuaded."  -Karl Marx

* * * * *

"Those people who will not be ruled by God will be ruled by tyrants."  -William Penn, Founder of Pennsylvania

* * * * *

"All this is necessary for the triumph of evil is that good men do nothing."  -Edmund Burke

* * * * *

"Our laws and institutions must be based upon and embody the teaching of the Redeemer of Mankind."  -1892 Supreme Court

* * * * *

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious people.  It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other."  -John  Adams

* * * * *

"The highest glory of the American Revolution was this -  it connected in one indissoluble bond the principles of civil government and the principles of Christianity."  -John Quincy Adams

* * * * *

"The smiles of Heaven can never be expected on a nation that disregards the eternal rules of order and right, which Heaven itself has ordained."  -George Washington, Prayer at Valley Forge

* * * * *

"...Having undertaken for the glory of God, and the advancement of the Christian faith...a voyage to plant the first colony in the northern parts of Virginia..."  -Mayflower Compact

* * * * *

"Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion.  Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle."  -George Washington

* * * * *

"Providence has given to our people the choice of their rulers and it is the duty as well as the privilege and interest of a Christian nation to select and prefer Christians for their rulers."  -John Jay, First US Chief Justice

* * * * *

"It is the duty of nations, as well as of men, to own their dependence upon the overruling power of God and to recognize the sublime truth announced in the Holy Scriptures and proven by all history, that those nations only are blessed whose God is the Lord."  -Abraham Lincoln

* * * * *

"I therefore beg leave to move that, henceforth, prayers imploring the assistance of heaven and its blessing on our deliberation be held in this assembly every morning before we proceed to business."  -Benjamin Franklin

* * * * *

"When you become entitled to exercise the right of voting for public officers, let it be impressed upon your mind that God commands you to choose for rulers, just men who will rule in the fear of God.  The preservation of a republican government depends on the faithful discharge of this duty; if the citizens neglect their duty, and place unprincipled men in office, the government will soon be corrupted;  laws will be made, not for public good, so much as for selfish or local purposes; corrupt or incompetent men will be appointed to execute the laws; the public revenues will be squandered on unworthy men; and the rights of the citizens will be violated or disregarded"  -Noah Webster, "Advice to Young Men", 1834

* * * * *

"Whereas it is the duty of all Nations to acknowledge the providence of Almighty God, to obey His will, to be grateful for His benefits, and humbly to implore His protection and favor, and whereas both Houses of Congress have by their joint committee requested to recommend to the People of the United States a day of public thanks-giving and prayer to be observed by acknowledging with grateful hearts the many single favors of Almighty God, especially by affording them an opportunity peaceably to establish a form of government for their safety and happiness."  -George Washington, Thanksgiving Proclamation, 1789

* * * * *

Learn more about our Nation's heritage from Tom Mullins and David Barton at Christ Fellowship.

Get your free copy of the Constitution and the Bill of Rights from the Heritage Foundation.

Manual Fire Notification Device

Manual Fire Alarm Box Fail

Per NFPA 101: fire alarm systems require a minimum of one fire alarm box.
For fire alarm systems using automatic fire detection or waterflow detection devices to initiate the fire alarm system in accordance with Chapters 11through 43, not less than one manual fire alarm box shall be provided to initiate a fire alarm signal. The manual fire alarm box shall be located where required by the authority having jurisdiction.

A fire alarm box must meet the definition provided in NFPA 72:3.3.8 - Auxiliary Box. 
An alarm box that can only be operated from one or more remote initiating devices or an auxiliary alarm system used to send an alarm to the communications center. (SIG-PRS) Combination Fire Alarm and Guard's Tour Box.
A manually operated box for separately transmitting a fire alarm signal and a distinctive guard patrol tour supervisory signal. (SIG-IDS) Manual Fire Alarm Box.
A manually operated device used to initiate a fire alarm signal. (SIG-IDS) Master Box.
A publicly accessible alarm box that can also be operated by one or more remote initiating devices or an auxiliary alarm system used to send an alarm to the communications center. (SIG-PRS) Publicly Accessible Alarm Box.
An enclosure, accessible to the public, housing a manually operated transmitter used to send an alarm to the communications center. (SIG-PRS)

NFPA 101:9.6.2 gives us more guidance as to the types, locations, and spacing of these manual fire alarm boxes.
Where required by other sections of this Code, actuation of the complete fire alarm system shall be initiated by, but shall not be limited to, any or all of the following means:
(1)Manual fire alarm initiation
(2)Automatic detection
(3)Extinguishing system operation
Manual fire alarm boxes shall be used only for fire-protective signaling purposes. Combination fire alarm and guard’s tour stations shall be acceptable.
A manual fire alarm box shall be provided as follows, unless modified by another section of this Code:
(1)For new alarm system installations, the manual fire alarm box shall be located within 5 ft (1.5 m) of exit doorways.
(2)For existing alarm system installations, the manual fire alarm box either shall be provided in the natural exit access path near each required exit or within 5 ft (1.5 m) of exit doorways.
Manual fire alarm boxes shall be mounted on both sides of grouped openings over 40 ft (12.2 m) in width, and within 5 ft (1.5 m) of each side of the opening.*
Additional manual fire alarm boxes shall be located so that, on any given floor in any part of the building, no horizontal distance on that floor exceeding 200 ft (60 m) shall need to be traversed to reach a manual fire alarm box.*
For fire alarm systems using automatic fire detection or waterflow detection devices to initiate the fire alarm system in accordance with Chapters 11through 43, not less than one manual fire alarm box shall be provided to initiate a fire alarm signal. The manual fire alarm box shall be located where required by the authority having jurisdiction.*
Each manual fire alarm box on a system shall be accessible, unobstructed, and visible.