Fire Safety Code, Rhode Island

Fire Laws

CHAPTER 28.1

FIRE SAFETY CODE - GENERAL PROVISIONS

Section

23-28.1-1. Short title.

23-28.1-2. Purposes - Rules of construction - General application.

23-28.1-3. Codification.

23-28.1-4. Interpretations.

23-28.1-5. Definitions.

23-28.1-6. Applicability to new or existing structures.

23-28.1-7. Conformity required.

23-28.1-8. (Repealed).

23-28.1-9. (Repealed).

23-28.1-1. Short title

Chapters 28.1 - 28.39 of this title, and all codes referenced therein and adopted thereunder, shall be known and may be cited as the 'Fire Safety Code'.

23-28.1-2. Purposes - Rules of construction - General application.

(a) Effective January 1, 2004, the Uniform Fire Code (NFPA 1) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) of the National Fire Protection Association, Inc., 2003 editions, with annexes, except as updated, amended, altered or deleted and by the addition of certain provisions, as indicated in the rules and regulations adopted by the fire safety code board, is hereby adopted as the "Rhode Island Fire Safety Code". This code shall be liberally construed and applied to promote its underlying purposes and policies.

(b) The underlying purposes and policies of these chapters are:

(1) To simplify, clarify and modernize the law governing fires and fire prevention;

(2)(i) To specify reasonable minimum requirements for fire safety in new and existing buildings and facilities, except in private dwellings occupied by one, two (2) or three (3) families, in the various cities and towns in this state; provided, however, this code shall provide reasonable standards for the installation of smoke and carbon monoxide detectors in private dwellings occupied by one (1), two (2), and three (3) families; provided, further, that after July 1, 2008, three (3) family dwellings shall be equipped with hard wired or supervised interconnected UL approved wireless smoke and carbon monoxide detectors, in accordance with standards established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review; provided further that

(ii) The local fire authority that performs smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector plan review and inspection for the installation of smoke detector and/or carbon monoxide detection in any new and existing private dwelling occupied by one, two (2) and three (3) families shall charge no more than a seventy-five dollar ($75.00) fee for a one family unit, a one hundred twenty-five dollar ($125) fee for a two family unit and a one hundred seventy-five dollar ($175) fee for a three family unit for the smoke detector and carbon monoxide detector plan review together with any subsequent detection inspections.

(3) Except as provided in subdivision (b)(5) of this subsection, to permit the cities and towns to enact ordinances and orders relating to fire safety provided those ordinances and orders impose requirements equal to, additional to, or more stringent than those contained in this code which ordinances and orders shall be effective only upon the approval by rule of the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review. Any ordinance or order relating to fire safety enacted by any city or town shall be prospective in its application and shall be enacted after public hearing. The city or town shall cause printed notices of the time, place, and subject matter of the hearing to be posted in three (3) public places in the city or town, for three (3) weeks next preceding the time of the hearing, and shall advertise in a newspaper circulated in the city or town, if any there be, at least once a week for the same period of time;

(4) Jurisdiction for the interpretation of any city or town ordinance or order relating to fire safety shall be vested in the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review; provided, however, that the responsibility for the enforcement of the ordinance or order shall be with the local authorities and petitions for variations from the ordinance or order shall be heard by the state fire safety board of appeal and review in the manner prescribed in chapter 28.3 of this title; and

(5) Notwithstanding anything to the contrary contained herein, no city or town may enact any ordinance or order relating to the requirement for the handling of explosives pursuant to chapter 28.28 of this title or for the installation of, or specifications for, the fire alarm sections of this code, the fire protection systems as prescribed by chapter 28.25 of this title, or for the possession and display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics pursuant to chapter 28.11 of this title, which chapter shall exclusively govern the requirements for the installation of, and specification for, fire protection systems, the handling of explosives and possession and display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics. All such ordinances or orders relating to the requirements for the installation of and specifications for such fire protection systems, the handling of explosives, or possession and display of commercial fireworks or pyrotechnics heretofore enacted by any city or town are of no force and effect.

(c) In this code, unless the context otherwise requires:

(1) Words in the singular number include the plural, and in the plural include the singular; and

(2) Words of the masculine gender include the feminine and the neuter and, when the sense so indicates words of the neuter gender may refer to any gender.

23-28.1-3. Codification.

General subjects are regulated under chapters and to further facilitate reference each section of each chapter is titled and in numerical order.

23-28.1-4. Interpretations.

In this code:

(1) The titles and headings of chapters shall be deemed to be a part of those chapters; provided, however, that the titles and heading of sections shall not be considered a part thereof.

(2) Where in this code such terms as 'proper', 'adequate', 'sufficient', 'ample', 'suitable', 'substantial', 'necessary', 'dangerous', and the like or derivatives thereof are used, they shall be understood to mean proper, adequate, etc., to the satisfaction or in the opinion of the authority having enforcement jurisdiction; and such terms as 'where practicable', 'where required', 'as far as possible', shall have a like significance.

23-28.1-5. Definitions.

The terms used in NFPA 1 (Uniform Fire Code), in NFPA 101 (Life Safety Code) and in such other national codes as are authorized for adoption by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review shall be given the definitions established in those codes unless another meaning is provided for in this title and is essential to implementing the purposes of this title, and the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review shall have authority to resolve any conflicts among definitions in order to achieve the purposes of this title and/or provide for the efficient administration of codes.

(1) Abatement or to abate a condition. Abatement, or to abate a condition, is the reduction, decrease, or diminution of a hazardous condition that presents immediate danger to life. The term "immediate" denotes that action is or must be taken either instantly or without any considerable loss of time. The condition may be singular or may be a set of conditions that in combination present an immediate danger to life. Such conditions shall include improper management or use of flammable and combustible materials, liquids and gasses, pyrotechnics, fireworks or explosives, malfunctioning automatic sprinklers, fire alarms and emergency lighting, malfunctioning heating and electrical systems, blocked or inadequate exits or means of egress, and such other conditions as may be established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review.

(2) Authority having jurisdiction. Unless specifically defined to the contrary in this code, the authority having jurisdiction for the enforcement of this code shall be the state fire marshal, the deputy fire marshals, and assistant deputies.

(3) Code. The term "code" means this Fire Safety Code established under the provisions of §23-28.1-1.

(4) Compliance order. For the purposes of this Code, a compliance order is defined as a command or direction authoritatively given to a building owner or occupant to provide conformance with the Fire Safety Code. A compliance order takes effect when a building owner or occupant, after proper notice, has exhausted his/her administrative appeals or has failed to avail himself/herself of appropriate administrative appeals within a reasonable period of time after receiving proper notice.

(5) Family day care home. The term "family day care home" means any home other than the child's home in which child day care in lieu of parental care and/or supervision is offered at the same time to at least four (4) but not more than eight (8) children who are not relatives of the care giver, and which is licensed by the state department of children, youth, and families and subject to the department's regulations.

(6) Nightclub. A place of public accommodation, which in general is characterized by all of the following:

(i). Provides entertainment by a live band or recorded music generating above normal sound levels.

(ii). Has as its primary source of revenue, in general, the sale of beverages of any kind for consumption on the premises and/or cover charges. Food, if served, is considered a secondary attraction.

(iii) Has an occupant load in total or in any single area or room of at least 100 patrons.

Nothing in this definition shall be construed to include any place of public accommodation or any event within a place of public accommodation, which is in its nature distinctly private.

(7) "Place of Worship" means a building or structure, or an area thereof, the occupancy of which is for the religious rites and services and communal functions of a congregation, and which shall include sanctuaries, gathering halls, meeting rooms and offices and related facilities of the congregation, which may be located in the same, in connected or in proximate structures.

23-28.1-6. Applicability to new or existing structures.

(a) All regulations contained in this code apply to all structures unless specifically exempted. Prior to a building permit being issued, all plans for buildings regulated under this code shall be submitted to the authority having jurisdiction. The authority having jurisdiction shall approve or disapprove the completed set of plans within a reasonable time not to exceed ninety (90) days. When a change of use or type of occupancy is made in an existing building, the building shall conform to the requirements established by the rehabilitation building and fire code for existing buildings and structures, or if the rehabilitation building and fire code for existing buildings or structures is not applicable, to the requirements for new structures as related to the proposed use or type of occupancy. Notwithstanding the foregoing, any completed set of plans relating to the construction or rehabilitation of a residential dwelling occupied by one, two and/or three families shall be approved or disapproved within sixty (60) days.

(b) In existing structures, since it is not always practical or efficient to strictly apply all of the provisions of the code, the authority having jurisdiction shall have the power to implement and enforce the provisions of the code as provided for in the Uniform Fire Code (NFPA 1) and the Life Safety Code (MFPA 101) with annexes, as applicable to existing structures, consistent with such rules and regulations as may be adopted and such decisions as may be rendered by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review.

(c) Application of the code to new and existing structures shall be consistent with such blanket variances, variances, and rules, as may be approved by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review, and such modifications as may be issued in writing by the authority having jurisdiction, in accordance with NFPA 101, with annexes.

23-28.1-7. Conformity required.

(a) No building shall be constructed for, used for, or converted to, any occupancy regulated by the code, and no addition shall be made to a building except in accordance with the applicable provisions of the code or the rehabilitation building and fire code for existing buildings and structures, as applicable.

(b) Any existing structure that is not in conformity with the provisions of this code is governed by the following:

(1) The authority having jurisdiction is authorized to give building owners a reasonable notice of fire safety code violations and establish a timetable for compliance or, in cases of practical difficulty, establish a time by which the owner must petition to the fire safety code board for a variation.

(2) The fire marshal, or his or her designee within the division, or a nonsalaried deputy state fire marshal in accordance with guidelines established by the fire marshal, has the authority to summarily abate any condition which presents immediate danger to life, these conditions shall include improper management or use of flammable and combustible materials, liquids and gasses, pyrotechnics, fireworks or explosives, malfunctioning automatic sprinklers, fire alarms and emergency lighting, malfunctioning heating and electrical systems, and blocked or inadequate exits or means of egress, and such other conditions as may be established by the Fire Safety Code Board of Appeal and Review. A failure to abate a condition that presents a clear and immediate danger to life shall be grounds for the person issuing the order to abate, to require that the premises be vacated, this action shall be either authorized by the fire marshal or a designee of the fire marshal who has been given advanced written authority by the fire marshal to approve such actions.

(3) All new buildings and structures, for which a building permit is issued on or after February 20, 2004, shall be subject to the provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code addressing the new occupancy. All existing buildings and structures, and those buildings and structures for which a building permit was issued prior to February 20, 2004, shall be subject to the provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code addressing the existing occupancy. Any existing building or structure, subject to the provisions of the Rehabilitation Building and Fire Code for Existing Buildings and Structures, shall also comply with the existing occupancy provisions of the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code addressing the current or proposed occupancy. All active fire protection systems, including but not limited to sprinklers, fire alarms, emergency lighting, smoke detectors and exit signs, previously required and installed in existing buildings, shall continue to be required under the Rhode Island Fire Safety Code and shall be properly maintained.

23-28.1-8. Maintenance of systems - Vacated buildings. (Repealed)

23-28.1-9. Solid fuel room heaters. (Repealed)


rhode island coat of armsA Rhode Island Government Website