TITLE 23
Health and Safety

CHAPTER 23-28.1
Fire Safety Code – General Provisions

SECTION 23-28.1-2


§ 23-28.1-2 Purposes.

(a) The Fire Code (NFPA 1) and the Life Safety Code (NFPA 101) of the National Fire Protection Association, Inc., 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".

The fire safety code board of appeal and review shall consider the following when promulgating the aforementioned rules and regulations:

(1) For business, storage, mercantile, and industrial occupancies, the board shall consider alternative methods of code compliance, including, but not limited to, the use of vertical and horizontal fire separation when determining the square footage for fire alarm and sprinkler requirements; allowing non-monitored fire alarm systems to be installed in accordance with the methods outlined in NFPA 72, and shall further consider alternative methods to ensure the consistent enforcement of the code.

(2) For occupancy groups previously granted relief, including, but not limited to, existing apartments, places of worship, marinas, and the marine trade industry, funeral homes, restaurants and non-residential barns, the board shall consider the appropriateness of the reincorporation of this relief into the 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 or towns in this state; provided, however, this code shall provide reasonable standards for the installation of smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms in private dwellings occupied by one, two (2), and three (3) families; provided, further, that three-family (3) dwellings shall be equipped with smoke alarms and carbon monoxide alarms, 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 alarm and carbon monoxide alarm plan review and inspection for the installation of smoke alarm 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 (2) unit and a one-hundred seventy-five dollar ($175) fee for a three-family (3) unit for the smoke alarm and carbon monoxide alarm plan review together with any subsequent detection inspections.

(3) Except as provided in subdivision (b)(5), 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 chapters 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.

History of Section.
(P.L. 1966, ch. 216, § 1; P.L. 1968, ch. 2, § 1; P.L. 1975, ch. 165, § 1; P.L. 1981, ch. 229, § 1; P.L. 1982, ch. 269, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 354, § 1; P.L. 1994, ch. 425, § 1; P.L. 2003, ch. 106, § 3; P.L. 2003, ch. 107, § 3; P.L. 2004, ch. 220, § 1; P.L. 2004, ch. 225, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 255, § 1; P.L. 2007, ch. 291, § 1; P.L. 2012, ch. 294, § 2; P.L. 2012, ch. 337, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 468, § 2; P.L. 2016, ch. 472, § 2.)