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HomeTips & GuidesFPLP Cable Meaning: A Detailed Guide to Fire Alarm Cables

FPLP Cable Meaning: A Detailed Guide to Fire Alarm Cables

You must have seen fire alarm systems in schools, hospitals, offices, homes, and other facilities.  The ringing of these alarms notifies you of any potential fires on the premises. The cables used in these systems must be specific to their use. Fire alarm systems commonly use FPLP cables. What is the FPLP cable meaning

This article discusses more about the key features, applications and differences of these cables.

FPLP cables meaning

Abbreviated for “Fore protective, power-limited cables,” these cables are common in low-voltage applications requiring low resistance, such as fire alarm systems. 

Having an insulated jacket of fire resistant material like PVC (polyvinyl chloride) and FEP (Fluorinated Ethylene Polymer), these cables can restrict fire propagation and limit it up to 5 feet only. Also, the smoke emitted during a fire is less with these cables.

FPLP cable applications:

Every building has plenum space dedicated to air circulation, such as raised floors and drop ceilings. Plenum spaces need cables with fire-resistant properties, and thus, FPLP cables are common here. 

FPLP cables in emergency communication systems, fire alarm systems, and other low-voltage systems are used in offices, buildings, homes, and public facilities.

Features of FPLP cables:

Fire resistance:

As constructed with fire-resistant materials, these cables resist fire from spreading.

Smoke generation:

These cables release minimal smoke on burning, helping people in easy evacuation during the incidents and reducing the risk of excess smoke inhalation.

Code compliance:

The National Electrical Code (article 760) and The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) have set some building codes and fire safety regulations for cables used in fire risk applications. FPLP cables meet all those rules and codes.

Installation requirements:

The installation of FPLP cables needs relevant standards and codes to guarantee the right fire protection.

Installation of electric cable, smoke detector, fire alarm system

Installation of electric cable, smoke detector, fire alarm system

FPL cables, FPLP cables vs FPLR cables: what’s the difference?

Though the FPL, FPLP and FPLR cables seem the same, they have some differences.

FeatureFPLFPLPFPLR
DefinitionPower-limited fire cables for general purposeFire-protective, power-limited plenum cablesFire-protective, power-limited riser cables
ApplicationsAs the name suggests, these fire alarm cables are suitable for general purposes. It is not advisable to use them in plenums, risers, or ducts.Fire-protective, power limited riser cablesVertical riser applications include elevator shafts, vertical shafts, and other areas where cables run between floors.
Emergency power systems: suitable for connecting transfers witches, emergency generators and other emergency power systems.
Voice and data networks: with FPLR cables, you can reliably connect devices for voice and data transmission in offices.
Building automation systems: FPLR cables establish communication between sensors, control panels, and actuators in lighting, HVAC, and other automation systems.
Fire resistanceThough these cables also resist fire from spreading, their efficiency is not equivalent to FPLP and FPLR cables.Being manufactured with fire-resistant materials, these cables are efficient in restricting the spread of flames and minimizing smoke generation.These cables meet standard levels for fire resistance needed for vertical riser and non-plenum spaces and can successfully prevent fire spreading.
Smoke generation
Flame speed
Code ComplianceCables meet all fire safety regulations and building codes.
StandardArticle 760 (NEC), NFPA
Voltage300 volts, power-limited

Ventilation system and fire alarm system installed on the ceiling

Ventilation system and fire alarm system installed on the ceiling

Fire alarm cable rating:

All subtypes of fire alarm cables, be it FPL, FPLP, or FPLR, also have ratings for the following

Non-power limited fire alarm cables:

The National Electrical Code also specifies cables for non-power-limited circuits in a different part from power-limited circuits.

As the name suggests, these circuits do not have a voltage limit and can work up to 600 volts. Non-power-limited fire circuits also help limit spread, but modern buildings use them less often.

The cables in this category are NPLF (general purpose) and NPLFP (plenum-rated). Further, there are no rise-rated non-power-limited fire cables. 

The general purpose cables, NPLF, are good for conduits but unsuitable for plenums, ducts, and riser spaces. 

For such spaces, NPLFP cables are good for ensuring air circulation during the smoke.

Direct burial fire alarm cables:

Direct burial fire alarm cables can be used in the buried cable pathways. Applications requiring burial cables, such as power-limited circuits, low-voltage process control units, and power-restricted fire alarm systems, use these cables. These cables get their burial properties with a PVC jacket, which is both moisture—and sunlight-resistant.

Further, it is okay to use direct burial fire alarm cables for non-burial use. These cables are the right choice for outdoor applications and indoor trays.

Shielded Vs. Unshielded fire alarm cables

Some fire alarm cables come without a shield, such as FPL. On the contrary, you can find both shielded and unshielded options in FPLP and FPLR. 

The shield comprises a foil of aluminum polyester. So, which one should you pick: shielded or unshielded? The answer is simple: if you need protection from EMI, go for the shielded ones.

Technician checking the smoke effect on a fire alarm smoke detector.

Technician checking the smoke effect on a fire alarm smoke detector.

Conclusion:

Fire alarm cables can indeed function in high-heat applications; still, each has its own features that suit the application it is installed in. 

You need to choose the right fire alarm cable for all kinds of fire alarm systems to ensure compliance with fire safety standards and codes.

If you are looking for high-quality fire alarm cables or wiring systems that meet industry standards, Cloom has it all.

Contact us with your requirements, and we will guide you to the best cables.

Hi I am Christa, sales manager of Cloom.

I have extensive expertise and experience in wiring harnesses and I believe I can help you.

And we have a very professional technical team who can clearly understand the customer’s needs and give professional suggestions and solutions after receiving the drawings.

If you also have wiring harness needs, please send me the drawing so that we can give you our quote and start our business.

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