Fire Service Act


Published: 1978

Subscribe to a Global-Regulation Premium Membership Today!

Key Benefits:

Subscribe Now for only USD$20 per month, or Get a Day Pass for only USD$4.99.
Fire Service Act


1988 Revised Edition






C
T

FIRE SERVICE ACT

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Arrangement of Sections




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 3



C
T

FIRE SERVICE ACT

Arrangement of Sections
Section
1 Short title..........................................................................................................5

PART I. - PRELIMINARY 5
2 Interpretation....................................................................................................5

PART II. - ADMINISTRATION 6
3 Fire Area. .........................................................................................................6
4 Establishment...................................................................................................7
5 Responsibility. .................................................................................................7
6 Delegation of powers to Fire Officer. ..............................................................7
7 Delegation of powers to Officer Commanding a Police District. ....................7
8 Appointment and or secondment. ....................................................................7

PART III. - POWERS OF FIRE SERVICE 8
9 Action on alarm. ..............................................................................................8
10 Powers of Brigade Senior Fire Member at scene of fire..................................8
11 Police to assist..................................................................................................9
12 Fire outside fire area. .......................................................................................9
13 No liability to attach to Minister or member of Fire Brigade ........................10
14 Award for bravery..........................................................................................10

PART IV. - FIRE PREVENTION 10
15 Power to assess fire risk. ................................................................................10
16 Liability for cost of fire-fighting and damage................................................11

Arrangement of Sections CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 4
to



17 Setting fire to crops etc. by negligence. .........................................................12
18 Clearing fences of inflammable material in fire-risk areas. ...........................12
19 Fire-risk areas. ................................................................................................13
20 Boundaries to be kept clear of inflammable materials in fire-risk areas, .......13
21 Power to enforce clearing of land boundaries in fire-risk areas. ....................13
22 Destroying bridge or culvert. .........................................................................13
23 Fire under wooden bridge. .............................................................................13
24 Compensation.................................................................................................13
25 Authority to cease...........................................................................................14
26 Badges or distinguishing marks. ....................................................................14
27 Obstruction. ....................................................................................................14
28 False alarm. ....................................................................................................14
29 Inducement to neglect. ...................................................................................14
30 Inducement to withhold services. ...................................................................15
31 Unlawful possession of badge or uniform......................................................15
32 Unlawful wearing of uniform,........................................................................15
33 Unlawfully supplying uniform. ......................................................................15

PART V. - MISCELLANEOUS 15
34 Power to issue orders and general instructions. .............................................15
35 Power to make Regulations............................................................................16
36 Magistrate's Court to have jurisdiction...........................................................16

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Section 1




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 5



C
T

FIRE SERVICE ACT

Acts 18 of 1978 and 5 of 1981

AN ACT TO ESTABLISH A FIRE SERVICE FOR THE PROTECTION
OF LIFE AND PROPERTY FROM FIRE

Commencement [29th June 1979]

1 Short title.
This Act may be cited as the Fire Service Act.

PART I. - PRELIMINARY

2 Interpretation.
In this Act and in any Regulations made hereunder unless the context otherwise
requires —

“building” includes a building under construction;

“fire area” means a town, village or area so declared under this Act;

“fire brigade” means a self-contained unit of a Fire Service;

“fireman” means a fireman appointed under this Act;

“fire-risk area” means a fire-risk area declared under section 19 of this
Act;

Section 3 CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 6
to



“fire-service” means a Fire Service established under this Act;

“Member of a Fire Service” means an officer, or a fireman or a volunteer
fireman;

“Minister” means the Minister of Police;

“occupier” includes, in relation to land —
(a) a person who has or is entitled to have, immediate possession of the

land; and
(b) a person who is entitled, under any law in force in the Kingdom, to

remove timber, minerals, petroleum or other things on or under the
land, whether solely or jointly with another person;

“Officer or Fire Officer” means —
(a) The Minister of Police or Fire Officer or any other Officer

established by Cabinet from time to time, whose rank is equivalent
to, or higher than, an Inspector of Police; and

(b) includes a designated Police Commissioned Officer;

“owner” includes, in relation to land —
a person who, whether as a beneficial owner, executor,
administrator, trustee, mortgagee in possession, attorney, agent or
otherwise is in receipt of, or is entitled to receive, the rents and
profits of the land or would, if the land were let to a tenant, be
entitled to receive the rents and profits, whether solely or jointly
with another person,

“part-time fireman” means any person appointed to be a part-time
fireman under section 8 of this Act;

“Regulations” means the Regulations made under this Act;

“Volunteer Fireman” means any person appointed to be a volunteer
fireman under section 8 of this Act.

PART II. - ADMINISTRATION

3 Fire Area.
The Minister may, with the consent of Cabinet, declare a town, village or area to
be a fire area.

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Section 4




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 7



4 Establishment.
The Minister may, with the consent of Cabinet, establish a fire service for a
fire area.

5 Responsibility.
The Minister shall be responsible for the organisation, management and control
of all Fire Services and for the protection of life and property in case of fire in
fire areas.

6 Delegation of powers to Fire Officer.
(1) The Minister may, by writing under his hand, delegate all or any of his

powers and functions under this Act, other than this power of delegation,
to a Fire Officer.

(2) A delegation under subsection (1) is revocable in writing at will and does
not prevent the exercise by the Minister of any power or function.

7 Delegation of powers to Officer Commanding a Police District.
The Minister may, by writing under his hand, delegate all or any of his powers
and functions under this Act, other than this power of delegation, to any Police
Officer in Command of a Police District outside the limits of Nuku'alofa for the
express purpose of protection of life and property in case of fire, if that Police
District is a fire area and there is no Fire Service in accordance with section 4 of
this Act.

8 Appointment and or secondment.
(1) The Minister may, with the consent of Cabinet, appoint persons to be

Officer, firemen, volunteer firemen or part-time firemen. Members
enrolled in the Tonga Police Force under the provisions of the Police Act
may likewise be seconded to the Fire Service for any period to be defined
by Cabinet on the recommendation of the Minister. Any member so
seconded shall not lose any pension benefits or other service privileges by
the mere fact of such secondment.

(2) All such Officers and firemen shall be vested with all the powers and
privileges of constables, Subordinate Officers and Commissioned
Officers, of equivalent rank, under the provisions of the Police Act
Regulations and other orders then in force and shall be subject to the same
discipline and orders.

Section 9 CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 8
to



(3) A volunteer fireman or part-time fireman present at a fire on authorised
duty shall have all the powers, function, duties, responsibilities and
privileges of a fireman.

PART III. - POWERS OF FIRE SERVICE

9 Action on alarm.
A fire service, upon alarm of fire shall, notwithstanding anything to the contrary
in any law in force in the Kingdom or a part of the Kingdom contained, proceed
with all speed to the place where the fire is and endeavour by all possible means
to extinguish the fire and to save such lives and property as are, or is, in danger.

10 Powers of Brigade Senior Fire Member at scene of fire.
The senior member of a fire service present at a fire —

(a) has full power to control and direct the members of all Fire
Brigades engaged at the fire and all persons who there place their
services at his disposal;

(b) may either alone or with others under his command enter and, if
necessary, break into a building, vehicle, aircraft or vessel which is
on fire or in the vicinity of the fire for the purpose of taking such
steps as he thinks necessary for extinguishing or preventing the
extension of the Fire;

(c) may remove or cause to be removed from land, or a building,
vehicle, aircraft or vessel referred to in the last preceding
paragraph, without responsibility for any consequent loss or
damage, any inflammable, explosive or dangerous material found in
or on that land, building, vehicle, aircraft or vessel;

(d) may, for the purpose of extinguishing or preventing the extension of
the fire, cause any building which is on fire on or in the vicinity of
the fire to be pulled down wholly or partially or otherwise
destroyed or damaged;

(e) may cause a street, thoroughfare or public place in the vicinity of
the fire to be closed to traffic during the continuance of the fire;

(f) may, for the purpose of extinguishing the fire, without payment, use
or cause to be used any water mains, pipes, pumps or hydrants and
all water therein or in any well, tank or stream and may cause water
to be shut off from any main or pipe in order to obtain a greater
pressure or supply of water;

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Section 11




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 9



(g) may, without responsibility for any consequent loss or damage, shut
off or disconnect or cause to be shut off or disconnected, or order a
person having the control thereof to shut off or disconnect, the
supply of electricity to a building which is on fire or in the vicinity
of the fire;

(h) may remove, or order a member of a Fire Brigade to remove a
person, vehicle or thing who or which, by his or its presence or
otherwise, in his opinion interferes or is likely to interfere with the
operations of a Fire Brigade engaged at the fire;

(i) may, at the time of the fire, or afterwards, cause to be pulled down
or shored up a wall or building damaged or likely to be damaged by
fire which, in his opinion is, or is likely to become, dangerous to
life or property;

(j) may take possession of a vessel at or near a wharf when that vessel
or wharf is on fire or in the vicinity of the fire, and cause the vessel
to be removed or, if it is necessary for the purposes of controlling,
extinguishing or preventing the extension of the fire, sunk;

(k) without responsibility for any consequent loss or damage, may take
and keep possession for safe custody for any period not exceeding 7
days of property which is found on the land, building or vessel
where the fire has occurred;

(l) may cause the debris of the fire and any land, building, vehicle,
aircraft or vessel where the fire occurred to be searched and may
remove and keep possession of materials which, in his opinion, may
tend to prove the origin of the fire;

(m) may take such measures as appear to him to be necessary or
expedient for the protection of life and property; and

(n) generally may do all such other things as are reasonably necessary
for controlling, extinguishing or preventing the extension of
the fire.

11 Police to assist.
All members of the Police Force present at a fire shall support and assist the
senior member of a Fire Brigade there present in the maintenance of his
authority and in enforcing due obedience to his orders.

12 Fire outside fire area.
On the occurrence of a fire outside the fire area for which a Fire Brigade is
established, the senior officer on duty in that fire area may proceed with the Fire

Section 13 CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 10
to



Brigade of which he is in charge to the place where the fire has occurred and
assist in extinguishing the fire.

13 No liability to attach to Minister or member of Fire Brigade
Damage to property occasioned by a member of a Fire Brigade or any person in
the bona fide exercise of his duty at a fire shall be deemed damage by fire within
the meaning of a policy of insurance against fire covering the damaged property
and within the meaning of this Act and regulations made thereunder.

14 Award for bravery.
Awards may be recommended by the Minister to Privy Council for acts of
bravery beyond the call of duty, to be bestowed upon any member of the fire
service or, in the event of his death, to be presented to his relatives.

PART IV. - FIRE PREVENTION

15 Power to assess fire risk.
(1) The Minister or any Fire Officer so directed by him shall have, in addition

to the powers of an officer under this Act, free fire access at all reasonable
times, either alone or with others under his command, to any land or
building in a fire area, other than a private residence, for the purpose of
ascertaining whether there exists in or on that land or building any
potential danger to life or property from fire.

(2) Where the Minister or any Fire Officer so directed by him, is of the
opinion that a potential danger to life or property from fire exists in or on
any land or building in a fire area, other than a private residence, he may,
by notice in writing to the owner or occupier of that land or building,
require the owner or occupier to abate that danger within such time and in
such manner as is specified in the notice and may, for the meantime,
prohibit or restrict the occupation or use of the land or building, either
absolutely or subject to such conditions as he may think fit.

(3) A person aggrieved by a notice, prohibition or restriction under subsection
(2) may appeal to the Magistrate's Court against the requirements of the
notice or the prohibition or restriction within 7 days after its receipt or
within such further time as the court allows.

(4) On hearing an appeal under subsection (3), the court shall inquire into the
matter and may —
(a) adjourn the hearing from time to time;

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Section 16




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 11



(b) affirm, disallow or vary the notice, prohibition or restriction; or
(c) make such further or other orders as to costs or otherwise as to it

seems just.

(5) Any person who fails to comply with the requirements of a notice given
under subsection (2) within the time specified, or, on appeal, with any
variation which the Court may direct, commits an offence and is liable on
conviction to a fine not exceeding $40.

(6) Any person who occupies or uses land in contravention of the conditions
of prohibition or restriction imposed by a notice given under subsection
(2) of this section until such time as the Minister or any Fire Officer so
directed by him lifts the prohibition or restriction or an appeal under
subsection (3) is upheld, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to
a fine not exceeding $200 and, where the contravention is a continuing
offence, to a fine not exceeding $10 for each and every day the offence
continues.

(7) Where any person to whom a notice is given under subsection (2) of this
section fails to comply with the requirements of the notice within the time
specified in the said notice or, if the notice is appealed against and is
varied, within such time and in such manner as the court directs, the
Minister may cause the necessary works to be executed at the expense of
that person and all costs and expenses incurred in and about the execution
and completion of those works are recoverable by the fire service
department from that person as a debt.

16 Liability for cost of fire-fighting and damage.
(1) Subject to subsection (2), if —

(a) a person has failed to comply with the requirements of a notice
under section 15(2); and

(b) a fire occurs on the land or in the building the subject of the notice,
that person is liable to pay, in addition to any penalty to which he
may be liable under this or any other Act in force in the Kingdom:
(i) the expenses incurred in fighting or extinguishing the fire and

in saving or attempting to save lives and property endangered
by the fire; and

(ii) the amount of damage done to property by the fire.

(2) The provisions of subsection (1) do not apply if the person proves that the
fire was not a result of the failure to comply with the notice.

(3) The provisions of subsection (1) of this section apply whether or not an
appeal is made under section 15, unless a successful appeal is made.

Section 17 CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 12
to



(4) A reference in subsection (1) of this section to a notice under section 15
shall be deemed to include a reference to any such notice as varied under
that section.

17 Setting fire to crops etc. by negligence.
Any person who negligently sets fire to —

(a) a crop of cultivated produce whether standing or cut; or
(b) a crop of hay or grass whether the natural or indigenous product of

the soil or not and whether under cultivation or not and whether
standing or cut; or

(c) any standing trees, saplings or shrubs whether indigenous or
cultivated,

and thereby injures or destroys the property of any other person, commits an
offence and is liable on conviction to imprisonment not exceeding 2 years if the
value of the damage does not exceed $20 and to imprisonment not exceeding 5
years if the value of the damage exceeds $20.

18 Clearing fences of inflammable material in fire-risk areas.
(1) If —

(a) the occupier of any land in a fire-risk area clears it of inflammable
material for the space of 5 metres from a fence dividing the land
from the land of any other owner or occupier;

(b) the other owner or occupier neglects or omits so to clear his land;
and

(c) damage from the fire happens to the dividing fence through that
neglect or omission,

the owner or occupier so neglecting or omitting to clear shall at his own
cost and charges cause the fence to be repaired and re-erected within the
space of one month after it has been so damaged.

(2) If the owner or occupier so neglecting or omitting to clear, refuses or
omits to repair or re-erect the fence within the space of one month from
the date of the damage, the owner or occupier of the land contiguous to
the fence who has cleared the land of inflammable material in accordance
with subsection (1) may repair or re-erect the dividing fence, and recover
all sums of money expended thereon from the owner or occupier in
default as a debt.

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Section 19




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 13



19 Fire-risk areas.
The Minister may, with the approval of Cabinet, declare, by notice in the
Gazette, an area or areas to be known as fire-risk areas under this Act.

20 Boundaries to be kept clear of inflammable materials in fire-risk
areas,
Any person who, being the occupier or if there be no occupier, the owner, of
land in a fire-risk area fails to clear such land and keep it clean of inflammable
grass, rubbish or other such materials for the space of 5 metres from the
boundaries of such land, commits an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine
not exceeding $20.

21 Power to enforce clearing of land boundaries in fire-risk areas.
(1) Where the owner or occupier of land in a fire-risk area fails to clear land

as required by section 20, a fire officer, or commissioned officer of the
Police Force may, by force and with assistance if necessary, enter and
clear the land and keep it clear of inflammable grass, rubbish and other
such materials for the space of 5 metres from the boundaries of the land
and the expense of so doing may be recovered from the occupier, or if
there be no occupier, from the owner, as a debt.

(2) Nothing in subsection (1) affects the liability of a person under section 20.

22 Destroying bridge or culvert.
Any person who, by carelessness in the use of fire, in any way injures or
destroys a bridge or culvert (whether over a stream of water or not) or an
approach thereto, or a causeway or crossing along or over a public road, is guilty
of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20.

23 Fire under wooden bridge.
A person who lights a fire under a wooden bridge or wooden culvert over, upon
or under a road is guilty of an offence, and is liable on conviction to a fine not
exceeding $10.

24 Compensation.
Subject to section 13, this Act shall not take away or interfere with the right of a
person to sue for and recover at common law or otherwise compensation for or

Section 25 CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 14
to



in respect of any damage or injury occasioned by the reckless or negligent use of
fire.

25 Authority to cease.
When any member of a Fire Service ceases to be a member, all authority vested
in him as a member shall cease.

26 Badges or distinguishing marks.
Badges, uniforms or other distinguishing marks or articles as the Minister may
determine shall be provided for members of Fire Services, and a person who
wears or bears about him any such badge or other distinguishing mark or article
shall, unless the contrary be proved, be deemed to be a member of a Fire
Service.

27 Obstruction.
(1) Any person who wilfully or negligently hinders or obstructs any member

of a Fire Brigade in the performance of his duty is guilty of an offence and
is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50.

(2) Any person who wilfully or negligently interferes with or damages any
fire-fighting apparatus or hose being used or kept for the purpose of being
used in connection with a fire or the prevention or control of fire generally
is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding
$50.

28 False alarm.
Any person who wilfully gives a false alarm of fire is guilty of an offence and is
liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50 and/or imprisonment not
exceeding 3 months.

29 Inducement to neglect.
Any person who induces, or attempts to induce, any member of a Fire Brigade to
neglect or omit to perform any duty is guilty of an offence and is liable on
conviction to a fine not exceeding $50 or to imprisonment not exceeding
6 months.

Fire Service Act CAP. 94 Section 30




1988 Revised Edition
to

Page 15



30 Inducement to withhold services.
Any person who induces or attempts to induce or does an act calculated to
induce any member of a Fire Brigade to withhold his services or to commit a
breach of discipline is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine
not exceeding $50 or to imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.

31 Unlawful possession of badge or uniform.
Any person who, not being a member of a Fire Brigade, shall have without
lawful excuse (the proof whereof shall lie upon him) in his possession a badge or
uniform, or part of a uniform, of a member of a Fire Brigade, or shall assume the
description or designation of, or falsely pretends or represents himself to be, a
member of a Fire Brigade is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a
fine not exceeding $20 or to imprisonment not exceeding 3 months.

32 Unlawful wearing of uniform,
Any person who, not being a member of a Fire Brigade, unlawfully wears the
uniform of a member of a Fire Brigade, or a colourable imitation thereof, is
guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $20 or to
imprisonment not exceeding 3 months.

33 Unlawfully supplying uniform.
Any person who unlawfully —

(a) sell or supplies to another person; or
(b) employs or induces another person, not being a member of a Fire

Brigade, to wear the uniform of a member of a Fire Brigade, or a
colourable imitation thereof

is guilty of an offence and is liable on conviction to a fine not exceeding $50 or
to imprisonment not exceeding 6 months.

PART V. - MISCELLANEOUS

34 Power to issue orders and general instructions.
(1) The Minister may issue such Orders and General Instructions as are in his

opinion desirable in relation to the discipline and conduct of officers,
firemen, volunteer firemen and part-time firemen.

Section 35 CAP. 94 Fire Service Act




1988 Revised Edition Page 16
to



(2) Orders and General Instructions issued under subsection (1) may be of
general application or limited to a specified Fire Brigade or fire area, or to
a class of officer, fireman or volunteer fireman.

35 Power to make Regulations.
The Minister with the approval of Cabinet may make regulations, not
inconsistent with this Act, prescribing all matters which by this Act are required
or permitted to be prescribed, or which are necessary or convenient to be
prescribed, for carrying out or giving effect to this Act, and, in particular,
providing for —

(a) the enrolment of firemen and volunteer firemen;
(b) the duties of firemen and volunteer firemen;
(c) the efficiency and discipline of firemen and the punishment of

offences against discipline by firemen;
(d) the protection of life and property from fire in fire areas;
(e) the provision of specialist services in connection with fire

prevention or control to persons requiring them and the fees to be
charged for such services; and

(f) penalties not exceeding $20 or imprisonment for 3 months for
offences against or contraventions of the Regulations.

36 Magistrate's Court to have jurisdiction.
All prosecutions for offences under this Act or under the regulations shall be
tried in the Magistrate's Court for the District in which such offence is alleged to
have been committed.

Related Laws