By Douglas Krantz
For safety reasons, the NFPA Code (National Fire Protection Association) requires the replacement of fire alarm batteries within 5 years of manufacture date
, and that they be replaced in pairs
. The also require the new batteries to be from same manufacturer, with the same date codes stamped on both batteries. The NFPA goes on to specify that the manufacturer date codes be in plain English so anyone inspecting the system can see the date of manufacture.
Still, none of the date codes are in plain English.
So far, the manufacturers have resisted marking the batteries this way. They know that if they did mark the batteries with readable date codes, that when given the choice, people like you or me will buy only the newest batteries. The old ones would just sit on the shelf, getting older by the day.
UL (Underwriters Laboratories) would like readable date codes, but they say "Don't hold your breath" waiting for the manufacturers to change. The NFPA, on the other hand, thinks that manufactures "will get over it" and start using plain English on the date codes.
So far, the manufacturers haven't used plain English for the date codes.
Whether it's UL or NFPA that correctly assessed the manufacturer's use of plain English on the date codes, only time will tell.