Fire Alarm Cable Behind Drywall

Jon456

Senior Member
Location
Colorado
This is regarding power-limited fire alarm cable for notification appliance circuits (horns/strobes).

I'm confused about the requirements for putting the cable in conduit, specifically if the cable is concealed behind drywall above 7 ft above the floor. Specifically, the fire alarm cable will enter the room well above the suspended ceiling and be secured to the roof trusses. It will then drop down and enter the drywall at ~10 ft above the floor. It will continue — concealed behind the drywall and between the studs — straight down inside the wall cavity to the mounting junction box for the horn/strobe device. The top of the mounting junction box will be installed at 8 ft above the floor. So no part of the cable will be below 7 ft.

Do I need to run conduit from where the cable enters the drywall to the device mounting junction box?
 

gadfly56

Senior Member
Location
New Jersey
Occupation
Professional Engineer, Fire & Life Safety
This is regarding power-limited fire alarm cable for notification appliance circuits (horns/strobes).

I'm confused about the requirements for putting the cable in conduit, specifically if the cable is concealed behind drywall above 7 ft above the floor. Specifically, the fire alarm cable will enter the room well above the suspended ceiling and be secured to the roof trusses. It will then drop down and enter the drywall at ~10 ft above the floor. It will continue — concealed behind the drywall and between the studs — straight down inside the wall cavity to the mounting junction box for the horn/strobe device. The top of the mounting junction box will be installed at 8 ft above the floor. So no part of the cable will be below 7 ft.

Do I need to run conduit from where the cable enters the drywall to the device mounting junction box?
In the case you describe, the cable would not normally be considered exposed to physical damage and would not need supplemental protection. As always, check your local jurisdiction for their own requirements, but the ICC model building code and NFPA 72 would not require the notification appliance cable to be in conduit. Even if you were dropping the cable down to 48" AFF for a pull station it would not need to be in conduit.

Please advise if the notification appliances are part of a mass notification system, or if the premises are subject to partial evacuation or occupant relocation in the event of a fire, then additional requirements kick in.
 

Jon456

Senior Member
Location
Colorado
Thank you for the info.

Even if you were dropping the cable down to 48" AFF for a pull station it would not need to be in conduit.
I was wondering about this also because 760.130(B)(1) seems to indicate that the cable can be fished in concealed spaces without conduit. But when I was initially researching this topic on the internet, I found statements like the following one:
According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) regulations and National Electric Code (NEC) articles, any wiring that exists in non-accessible areas or below seven feet must be installed in metallic conduit. Non-accessible areas would include behind hard ceilings or drywall.

It seemed to me they are mixing and confusing the requirements of 760.130(B)(1) and 760.130(B)(2). But I was concerned because I found this repeated on a number of different websites & forums.

Can you explain why this claim is so prevalent?

Please advise if the notification appliances are part of a mass notification system, or if the premises are subject to partial evacuation or occupant relocation in the event of a fire, then additional requirements kick in.
I'm fairly certain these do not apply based on my understanding of what constitutes a Mass Notification System. This is just a basic fire alarm system in a small public commercial mall with office and retail spaces. There is no provision for partial evacuation or occupant relocation.
 
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