Magazine article Security Management

NFPA to Revisit Standards Issue

Magazine article Security Management

NFPA to Revisit Standards Issue

Article excerpt

Four years after scrapping a controversial plan to establish voluntary standards for premises security, the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) is revisiting the issue at a meeting this month.

In anticipation of the meeting, the NFPA recently sent a mailing to those who made comments in 1995, when the issue first came up. At press time, only a handful of these players had responded, says Casey Grant, secretary of the NFPA's Standards Council.

The establishment of standards for commercial establishments is being considered at the behest of the insurance industry, which was also behind the 1995 effort. Insurers say standards would help private property owners strengthen security at such places as shopping centers and hotels. But opposition from business groups that would have been affected by the standards derailed the earlier attempt.

It is unclear whether battle lines will change this time around. Grant says that although some groups have been entrenched in their positions, others appear to have become open to discussion. In general, consumer groups have sided with the insurance industry, arguing that standards will reduce crime and payments on insurance claims. Advocates also contend that standards would clarify the legal landscape and help small business owners who are not well-versed in security.

Allan Apo, a manager in the Insurance Services Office of the American Insurance Services Group and a major proponent of standards, compares the standards issue to the struggle that has greeted the efforts of OSHA to set security guidelines in late-night establishments, where some opponents questioned the scientific basis for the specific measures put forth. …

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