Fire Alarm Cable Types

by | Mar 24, 2022

Fire Alarm Cable Types 

The National Electric Code, also known as NEC, recognizes 5 fundamental fire alarm cables based on the settings they’re permitted for usage.  

FPL, short for power-limited fire alarm cable, is utilized for a variety of applications. This denotes that FPL cable isn’t plenum certified and must be inserted into the conduit prior to being utilized in plenums, ducts, risers and similar settings utilized for environmental air. FPL cable, while unsusceptible to propagation of flames, are less resilient to flames in comparison to its counterparts, riser-rated and plenum cable. 

Image to display FPL Wire
Image to display FPLR Wire

FPLR, short for power-limited fire alarm riser cable, makes emphasis on the riser-rated product that is appropriate for usage in floor to floor applications inside a building. Meaning that this wire is capable of being ran upwards throughout the building to be connected in every floor. 

FPLP, short for power-limited fire alarm plenum cable, makes emphasis on the plenum-rated product that is appropriate for usage in plenums, ducts and locations designated for airflow. If a fire were to ever breakout, this plenum rated cable would be resilient and create less smoke compared to other cables. 

Image to display FPLP Wire
Image to display NPLF Wire

NPLF, short for non-power limited fire alarm cable is utilized for general purpose cabling.

NPLFP, short for non-power limited fire protective cable, is typically utilized in plenums, ducts and other settings. 

image to display nplfp cable

Distinctions among Power Limited and Non-Power Limited Cable 

The fundamental distinction among power limited and non-power limited cable is the National Electric Code regulations they must adhere to. For example, one fire alarm circuit supplied by a device that adheres with National Electric Code’s regulations 760-21 & 760-23 is classified as non-power limited cable. While another fire alarm circuit supplied by a device that adheres to 760-41 would be categorized as power limited cable. 

Ok, but you might be asking yourself, “how can I determine which type of fire alarm cable I require”?  

Well, in the fire alarm cable family, there are three types of cable which are riser, plenum and non-plenum cable. Every one of them is not only relative to a different specified group but also indicate the exact settings where these cables can effectively and reliably thrive in. 

  • FPLP, short for plenum cable, is utilized in not only ducts but also in confined air settings. 
  • FPL, considered a non-plenum cable is utilized in projects like surface wiring. 
  • FPLR, considered a type of riser cable is utilized in building settings where wire must be applied throughout every floor. 

What should I look for, when purchasing fire alarm or security cable? 

Due to the fact that the National Fire Protection Association produces the National Electric Code, it plays an essential part in the United States’ regulations. This guideline governs the assembly of electrical wiring and equipment should be reviewed thoroughly prior to beginning any project(s). 

ASTM Internation & Underwriters Laboratories not only develop evaluations but also regulations for a large variety of wire and cable, particularly for the ones utilized in fire alarm and security systems. CSA, a Canadian based Standards Association provides comparable research services and is able to assist in ensuring that there is abidance with the Canadian Electrical Code (CEC). 

When purchasing fire alarm cable, what crucial safety considerations should one keep in mind? 

When choosing wire or cable, require resistances must be regarded. Nonetheless, certain important fire prevention considerations must be kept in mind. 

Primarily, how will the fire resistance capabilities of the cable perform and how long will it hold the flame if it does? Also, a factor to keep in consideration is smoke dispersion, which refers to amount of smoke that would be produced if ignited at any moment. These factors must be taken into account when selecting any electrical cable but most importantly fire alarm cable which needs to perform in disastrous situations and under harsh environments. 

The UL, NEC and equivalent associations control the majority of safety hazards (including fire ones). The National Electrical Code establishes allowable restrictions for pollutants, while Underwriter’s Laboratories and other associations take charge of developing numerous flame evaluations that cables need to fulfill before being declared secure for utilization. 

Z-Tronix Inc.’s Electromechanical Solutions 

If you are looking for wire harness, cable assembly, custom power cords, magnetic components, pcb assembly, box build assembly, industrial control panel assembly or simply wire and cable; please do not hesitate in contacting us at 562-808-0800 today or email us directly at