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Free access to NFPA codes and standards

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About free access
Does NFPA provide free access to its codes and standards?
Yes. Even though NFPA owns those copyrights, we have offered free access to all of our codes and standards on our web site for more than 10 years.

Can the codes and standards be downloaded or printed?
This is a read-only site—documents cannot be downloaded or printed, because we rely on the revenues from people who want to own their own copies to fund the mission of NFPA. But for users who need to familiarize themselves with a code or check a requirement, this kind of access is invaluable.

More about free access.

NFPA makes important safety codes and standards available for free online

As part of its commitment to enhancing public safety, NFPA makes its codes and standards available online to the public for free. Online access to NFPA's consensus documents conveniently places important safety information on the desktops of traditional users as well as others who have a keen interest. NFPA is committed to serving the public's increasing interest in technical information, and online access to these key codes is a valuable resource.

To review codes and standards online:
  • View the list of NFPA's codes and standards.
  • Select the document you want to review.
  • Select the edition of the document you want to review.
  • Click the "Free access" link (under the document title)
  • You will be asked to "sign-in" or create a profile to access the document in read-only format.

NFPA President Jim Pauley talks about free access to NFPA codes and standards.

NFPA is proud to have been the first organization to provide free public access to privately developed codes and standards, and are pleased to see other organizations following our lead. There are some who argue that we should do more and immediately make all of our documents available online without any restrictions. It is essential that NFPA maintain copyright and the ability to charge for the codes and standards. Most of the money NFPA needs to fund our process and other vital mission activities comes from the sale of codes. We also derive funding from the sale of related products and services.

Related: NFPA joins lawsuit to stop copyright infringement (August 6, 2013).

It has been suggested that NFPA ask the industries that use our documents to pay for their development. This would create significant problems, since one of the strengths of the codes and standards development system as it has always existed is that it provides NFPA with an independent source of revenue. Nobody can influence the process by threatening to withhold funds, because they system is funded not by a few big interests, but by the thousands of users who pay for their copies of the code.

Learn more about the value of Standards Development Organizations (SDOs).

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  • About free access NFPA strives to make its codes and standards as accessible as possible.
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