OFM - FPPA Opinions - PART II - Subsection 2(1)
FPPA Opinions & Applications
Subsection 2.(1) Municipal Responsibilities
"Every municipality shall,
1. establish a program in the municipality which must include public education with respect to fire safety and certain components of fire prevention; and
2. provide such other fire protection services as it determines may be necessary in accordance with its needs and circumstances."
This establishes municipal responsibility for fire protection and makes fire prevention and public education mandatory. It serves to clarify the role of municipalities in providing fire services and establish the minimum level of fire protection without imposing significant costs on municipalities.
What are the minimum fire protection services required for any community?
As a minimum acceptable model, municipalities should provide the services listed below.
1. a smoke alarm program
2. fire safety education material distributed to residents/occupants
3. inspections upon complaint or when requested to assist with code compliance (including any necessary code enforcement)
4. simplified risk assessment
Municipalities may develop a different model for fire prevention and fire safety education services if they are able to demonstrate that their model can meet the community's needs and circumstances.
For more detailed information refer to Public Fire Safety Guideline 04-40-12 in the Guidelines On Municipal Fire Protection developed by the Office of the Fire Marshal.
Who assesses municipal fire protection requirements to mitigate an identified risk?
Municipalities are responsible for conducting a risk assessment of their jurisdiction, and in identifying what fire protection services are necessary to mitigate those risks to an acceptable level. While they are responsible to ensure that this is done, they may request assistance from the Office of the Fire Marshal, or contract the necessary consulting services to actually conduct the assessment.
How are the needs and circumstances of the community assessed and appropriate services determined?
The needs and circumstances of the community are assessed by conducting a risk assessment for that community. Once the specific risks have been identified, the appropriate services can be determined. Further details on this process can be found in the relevant municipal fire protection guidelines.
Why is fire suppression not mandatory?
The needs and circumstances for fire services vary, depending on the municipality. For this reason, it is not possible or feasible to universally mandate fire suppression. The FPPA reflects the principle that municipalities are in the best position to determine their own needs and circumstances, and to make appropriate choices about the level of fire suppression that their residents require.
Nevertheless, the FPPA does recognize that the province has an interest in public safety and provides a means to address a serious threat to public safety via the Fire Marshal's review authority.
Can community fire safety teams provide emergency and rescue services?
No. The function of a community fire safety team is established in subsection 4.(1) which refers to clause 2.(1)(a). This clause only refers to public education and fire prevention activities, not to suppression or rescue activities.