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NFPA 232: Standard for the Protection of Records
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What is NFPA 232?
NFPA 232: Document Scope

1.1* Scope.
A.1.1 Businesses have been forced to close due to the insurmountable task of replacing organizational and operational records. Although accurate nationwide statistics are needed, it is known that the losses sustained in fires by such businesses have had the adverse effect of lowering their credit ratings and that some went out of business because of the destruction of their records.
  Since the early 1900s, the volume of records, especially of business records, has increased rapidly. These records have to be stored. This need, stimulated by competition among manufacturers, led to the development of better records containers, especially that of lighter weight containers with greater capacity and higher fire resistance ratings. The heavy, old-line safes of uncertain fire resistance rating could no longer meet the needs of business and have been replaced largely by modern fire-resistive containers. Newer techniques of record keeping (e.g., microfilm and electronic computers) are creating new problems and new demands.
The issues facing the records protection field today are better acknowledgment and increased study of the records protection problem. Technically, the equipment needed to provide the necessary protection has been produced and rigorously tested. It is now the responsibility of records owners and custodians to learn how to estimate the protection needed and the responsibility of architects, contractors, and builders, as well as custodians, to understand how to provide this protection.
  Archives are intended for the permanent retention of records specifically selected by the responsible party, typically the owner of the records, because of their legal, historical, or intrinsic value. The responsible party should also consider environmental conditions that impact records protection.
  Although fire is the ultimate risk to the records, other factors such as high temperatures [in excess of 76°F (24.4°C)], rapid fluctuation in temperatures, excessively high or low humidity, exposure to volatile organic chemicals (VOCs), particulates, and pests can, over time, lead to the destruction of the records. The records medium is a major factor in determining the degree of environmental controls necessary in an archive storage area. Audiovisual and magnetic media require the highest levels of environmental control.
1.1.1* This standard provides minimum requirements for protection of records, records protection equipment and facilities, and the types of records specified within this standard from the hazards of fire.
A.1.1.1 This standard does not provide any requirements to prevent forcible entry.
1.1.2 This standard provides requirements for the following categories of records storage environments in ascending order of increasing risk tolerance and descending protection requirements:
(1) Vaults
(2) Archives
(3) File rooms
(4) Compartmented records centers
(5) Noncompartmented records centers
1.1.3 This standard also provides the requirements for the application of the types of records protection equipment specified within this standard.
1.1.4* This standard does not provide any requirements for the protection of cellulose nitrate film records. NFPA 40 shall be followed for protection requirements for cellulose nitrate film.
A.1.1.4 See NFPA 40. NFPA 40 does not currently apply to cellulose nitrate still-film negatives.
1.1.5 This standard does not provide any requirements for the storage and handling of useful records.
1.1.6 The responsible party, typically the owner of the records and not the authority having jurisdiction, shall determine classification of the records in accordance with this standard.
1.1.7* The responsible party, typically the owner of the records and not the authority having jurisdiction, shall determine which records justify the application of this standard.
A.1.1.7 Those charged with planning, inspecting, approving, operating, and maintaining the types of records facilities, equipment, and techniques covered by this standard can choose to consult with an experienced and competent fire protection professional or records protection consultant.

This standard provides requirements for records protection equipment and facilities and records-handling techniques that safeguard records in a variety of media forms from the hazards of fire and its associated effects.

Official document scope
What does NFPA 232 address?

Criteria cover the following categories of records storage environments in ascending order of risk tolerance: (1) vaults, (2) archives. (3) file rooms, (4) compartmented records centers, and (5) records centers. This document also includes provisions for the application of records protection equipment.

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