OFM - 04-80-01
Public Fire Safety Guidelines
Fees for Services
To provide information for the consideration, development and implementation of fire department fees for services.
- Municipalities may find revenue-generating opportunities for some services they provide without compromising public fire safety.
- Costs for perpetual items such as heat, electricity, insurance, equipment replacement and personnel wages normally are not within the direct purview of fire department managers to alter.
- Fees for services have been successfully implemented by many fire departments as one viable option to help defray appropriate operating costs.
- The OFM recommends the application of user fees should be considered in light of two main principles:
- user fees should be encouraged if they have the potential to improve public fire/life safety
- user fees should not be considered if they have the potential to jeopardize fire/life safety
- programs which have directly contributed to public safety as well as high esteem for local fire departments should remain within municipal funding
There are three types of fees to be considered:
- traditional or generally accepted service fees
- services which are currently being charged to users by many fire departments and generally accepted by the public. Several of these fees should be encouraged as they have the potential to improve public fire/life safety.
- competitive or increased risk management service fees
- services which some municipalities have chosen to provide along with a charge. In evaluating the service and fee charges municipalities may want to consider the impact on private enterprise, if it exists, and the potential increase of risk or liability.
- service fees may be inappropriate if they do not meet the above principles for the following reason
- imposing a fee may cause the public to hesitate in calling for fire department assistance during a real or perceived emergency. The negligence of one resident should not have an adverse impact on another; ex. Failure to notify the fire department could lead to the fire extending to a neighbouring property.
For further information or to obtain a sample listing of charges, contact your OFM regional office or local fire protection adviser.
Codes, Standards and Best Practices:
Codes, Standards and Best Practices resources available to assist in establishing local policy on this assessment are listed below. All are available at http://www.mcscs.jus.gov.on.ca/ . Please feel free to copy and distribute this document. We ask that the document not be altered in any way, that the Office of the Fire Marshal be credited and that the documents be used for non-commercial purposes only.