Farmington Fire Rescue conducts fire and life safety inspections of multifamily residential and commercial properties, places of assembly, as well as education and child care facilities throughout the community. Inspections are based on NFPA (National Fire Protection Association) codes that have been adopted into law pursuant to NH RSA 153:5 as part of the New Hampshire State Fire Code (N.H. Code of Administrative Rules, Saf-C-6000).
Fire and life safety inspections serve several purposes. First, inspections serve to mitigate the potential risk to loss of life and property from a fire or other event by ensuring applicable fire and life safety codes are adhered to by property owners. Secondly, inspections help to educate property owners, managers, employees, and residents of potential risks of fire, what to do in the event of a fire, and proactive measures to alleviate these risks. Lastly, inspections provide members of the fire department with an opportunity to explore the community, engage with the public, and learn about the infrastructure of various buildings within the community, allowing for a better understanding of the complex layouts, contents, and hazards of different buildings when responding to emergencies.
Multifamily residences, consisting of three or more units, and many of the other building types already mentioned are inspected on an annual basis. Inspections consist of the Fire Inspector meeting with property owners, managers, and/or designees to verify the compliance of properties with applicable codes by examining the properties. Deficiencies are noted at the time of inspection and are used to generate the inspection report which is then sent to the property owner or manager. Property owners are given time to correct the deficiencies noted in the report, and many times a follow-up inspection is scheduled to ensure the deficiencies have been corrected appropriately. Any property owner that feels compliance with a mandated code or provision will impose a reasonable hardship may apply for exemption or variance, in writing, to Farmington Fire Rescue, or may, in accordance with Saf-C-6006.03 , apply for exemption or variance from the stated code or provision, in writing, to the State Fire Marshall. Alternative methods of compliance must provide adequate protection, equal to or greater than the stated code or rule provision protection. It is the intention of Farmington Fire Rescue to work in a cooperative manner with property owners and the community to develop and execute fire safety plans of correction for compliance within a reasonable, but limited, time-frame.
Compliance with the minimum standards set forth in the New Hampshire State Fire Code (N.H. Code of Administrative Rules, Saf-C-6000) is required for all buildings. This code also grants authority and mandates obligation and responsibility to ensure the codes are met to the Fire Chief having jurisdictional authority. Fire codes cover both new and pre-existing buildings , and no building, regardless of age, ownership, or purpose, is exempt from these codes. Both the State of New Hampshire Fire Codes, and the NFPA codes, are frequently amended, modified, and expanded. Many times there are codes that may have not been in place at the time the building was constructed, or at the time of previous inspections, that become requirements as the codes are updated, requiring that the Fire Chief, or his/her designee, enforce code changes as they are adopted into law. Often times people cite that a deficiency noted in the most recent inspection report has not been noted in previous inspections, which is a direct result of these changes and requires enforcement from the fire department in subsequent years.