Fire Safety Code, Rhode Island


Rhode Island Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review

The Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review is charged with the development and administrative review of a comprehensive fire safety code covering the State of Rhode Island. The Board further evaluates the proposed use of new fire-related technologies. The Board provides the State Fire Marshal, other state agencies and over 70 fire departments with legal and technical advice. Finally, the Board sits as an adjudicatory body by providing both review of code enforcement decisions made by the State and local Fire Marshal's Offices and granting variances from strict compliance with the code in cases of structural hardship.

The Fire Safety Code, developed and administered by the Fire Safety Code Board, covers specialized fire protection requirements for hazardous materials and chemicals, flammable and combustible liquids, liquefied petroleum gases, liquefied natural gases, fireworks, model rocketry, heating appliances, spray application of flammable and combustible liquids, welding, use of torches, dust explosion prevention, industrial ovens and furnaces, mechanical refrigeration, combustible fibers and airport refueling operations. In addition, the Fire Safety Code outlines the fire safety requirements of all assembly (including nightclubs, places of worship and theaters), educational, day-care, health care, ambulatory health care, detention and correctional, lodging or rooming house, hotel and dormitory, apartment (4+ units), residential board and care, mercantile, business, industrial and storage occupancies in the State of Rhode Island. In addition, the code provides standards for the installation of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide (CO) alarms in 1- and 2-family dwellings and 3-family apartment buildings. Finally, the Fire Code addresses electrical fire safety, smoking regulations, tents, outdoor fires, fire lanes, commercial cooking equipment, combustible waste, tar kettles, Christmas trees, blasting and explosives.

The original Fire Safety Code Commission was established in 1966 by Title 23 Chapter 28.3 of the Rhode Island General Laws. The statute was amended in 1975 to rename the commission as the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review. The eleven (11) board members are appointed by the Governor with the advice and consent of the Senate for six (6) year terms. The Governor further designates one member to serve as the Chairperson for a two (2) year term.

  • Chairperson: Commissioner Dana M. Newbrook, AIA (licensed architect)
  • Vice-Chairperson: Commissioner Mark J. Blackburn, P.E. (licensed professional engineer)
    • Commissioner Marion C. Filippi (public / small business representative)
    • Commissioner Stuart D. Pearson (volunteer fire chiefs representative)
    • Commissioner Robert M. Walker, Jr. (building inspectors representative)
    • Commissioner James B. Jackson (labor representative)
    • Commissioner Frank M. Sylvester (permanent fire chiefs representative)
    • Commissioner Rodger Booth (fire protection industry representative)
    • Commissioner Barbara J. Thornton, AIA (public representative)
    • Commissioner Dorothy S. Davison, Esq. (public representative)
    • VACANT (industry representative) This position is currently vacant - anyone interested in applying to serve on the Board should send a request to the Office of the Governor or you may contact the Board for further information.

As of January 2018, the Board falls under the jurisdiction of the Department of Business Regulation -- Division of Construction and Design Professionals.

Executive Director: W. Keith Burlingame, Esq.

Assistant Administrative Officer: Kathleen Hague / Administrative Assistant: Desiree M. Campanini



Application forms for appeals/variances are available from the Fire Safety Code Board**, the State Fire Marshal's Office or your local city or town fire authority. All applications must be completely filled out, signed by the Applicant (property owner or authorized representative) and the state or local fire authority and accompanied by the appropriate filing fee. Click here to view the filing fee schedule currently in effect. You can click here to see a sample of a properly completed Variance Application form.

^^^ The Board is now accepting Variance Application forms that can be downloaded here, however the completed form still must be submitted to the Board with the appropriate filing fee, any supporting documents and original signatures* - copies of signatures will not be accepted.


*N O T I C E: In accordance with Fire Safety Code Section 450-RICR-00-00-1.7.1(K), any person, other than an attorney at law, who signs an application form as an authorized representative, shall provide the Board of Appeal & Review with a letter of authorization signed by the owner of the subject property.



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