28 Functions, duties, and powers of Chief Fire Officer
  • (1) Subject to this Act, the Chief Fire Officer shall be charged with the direction of all technical matters and with the operation of all fire brigades in the Fire District for which the Chief Fire Officer is appointed, and the Chief Fire Officer shall carry out those responsibilities in accordance with the policy of the Commission and the operational instructions of the National Commander under section 27A, so as to provide protection for that Fire District and within any area or concerning any property which the fire brigade of the Fire District is under an obligation to protect pursuant to section 38 or section 39.

    (2) In the event of any alarm of fire or any fire happening, the Chief Fire Officer of the Fire District, or in his or her absence, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, or, in the absence of both of them, the person for the time being in charge of the fire brigade, shall forthwith proceed, or direct some other member of the brigade to proceed forthwith, to the place to which the brigade has been called, and endeavour by all practicable means to extinguish and prevent the spread of the fire (if any), and to save lives and property in danger.

    (3) If, in the event of any emergency occurring, other than an emergency involving fire or hazardous substances, at which the Chief Fire Officer of the Fire District, or, in the absence of the Chief Fire Officer, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, or, in the absence of both of them, the person for the time being in charge of the fire brigade, considers that the brigade could render assistance, that officer or other person may proceed, or direct some other member of the brigade to proceed, forthwith to the emergency and shall take whatever action is necessary to save lives and property in danger.

    (3A) If, in the event of any hazardous substance emergency occurring, the Chief Fire Officer of the Fire District, or in the absence of the Chief Fire Officer, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, or in the absence of both of them, the person for the time being in charge of the fire brigade, considers that the fire brigade could render assistance, that officer or other person may proceed, or direct some other person to proceed, forthwith to the place to which the brigade has been called, and endeavour by all practicable means to cause the stabilising or rendering safe of the hazardous substance emergency, and save lives and property in danger.

    (3B) For the purposes of subsection (3A), in the event of the attendance of the brigade, the Chief Fire Officer of the Fire District, or in the absence of the Chief Fire Officer, the Deputy Chief Fire Officer, or, in the absence of both of them, the person for the time being in charge of the fire brigade shall have the powers of an enforcement officer under the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 pertaining to that emergency until the arrival of such an enforcement officer.

    (4) In the event of fire or other emergency, the person for the time being in charge of the fire brigade so engaged—

    • (a) shall control and direct all fire brigades and defence fire brigades and industrial fire brigades and all persons there who place their services at his disposal:

    • (b) may enter upon any land, building, or structure and, if necessary, break into any building or structure which may be on fire or otherwise endangered or which is in the near neighbourhood of the emergency, for the purpose of taking any steps which he deems necessary in order to carry out his duties:

    • (c) may take any equipment required to be used into, through, or upon any land, building, or structure where he deems it necessary for the purpose of carrying out his duties:

    • (d) may remove from any building or structure which is on fire or otherwise endangered or which is in the near neighbourhood of the fire or emergency, without responsibility for any consequent loss or damage, any flammable, combustible, explosive, or dangerous material found therein:

    • (e) may, for the purpose of extinguishing or preventing the spread of fire, cause any building or structure which is on fire or otherwise endangered, or which is adjacent to or in the vicinity of any building or structure which is on fire, to be pulled down, either wholly or partially, or otherwise:

    • (f) may, for the purpose of extinguishing or preventing the spread of fire or for the purpose of reducing danger from any emergency, cause any tree or other plant which is on fire or otherwise endangered, or which is adjacent to or in the vicinity of any building or structure or tree or other plant which is on fire or otherwise endangered, to be cut or pulled down, either wholly or partially and removed if he considers it necessary:

    • (g) may, subject to section 30(1), cause water to be shut off from, or turned into, any main or pipe in order to obtain a greater pressure and supply of water:

    • (h) may cause any motorway, highway, road, street, private road, right of way, service lane, access way, thoroughfare, railway, or tramway in the vicinity of the fire or other emergency to be closed for traffic during the continuance of the emergency:

    • (i) may remove any vehicle impeding the operation of the fire brigades, and, where reasonably necessary for that purpose, he may use force or break into any such vehicle:

    • (j) may remove, using reasonable force if necessary, any person who, by his presence or otherwise, interferes with operations to deal with the fire or emergency or who, in his opinion, is in danger:

    • (k) may shut off or disconnect, or order any person having the control thereof to shut off or disconnect, the supply of gas, fuel oil, or electricity to any building which is on fire or otherwise endangered or which is in the vicinity of the emergency, or the supply of electricity to any electric tramway or trolley omnibus route in the vicinity of the emergency:

    • (l) may, at the time of the fire or emergency or within a reasonable time thereafter, pull down or shore up any building or structure or any portion of any building or structure which, in his opinion, has been so damaged as to be or likely to become dangerous to life or property, after, in his discretion, first removing the contents thereof, and the expense of any such operation, so far as it relates to the pulling down or shoring up, shall be borne by the owner of the building or structure and, so far as it relates to the removal of the contents, shall be borne by the owner of the contents, and shall in either case be paid to the Commission:

    • (m) may, at the time of the fire or emergency or within a reasonable time thereafter, cut or pull down any tree or other plant or any part of any tree or other plant which, in his opinion, has been so damaged as to be or likely to become dangerous to life or property and the expense of the operation shall be borne by the owner of the land on which the tree or other plant is or was situated, and shall be paid to the Commission:

    • (n) may generally do all other things that are reasonably necessary for protecting life or property in dealing with the fire or other emergency:

    • (na) may require the owner of the property, or the owner's agent, to provide such information pertaining to that incident as the person in charge of the fire brigade so engaged deems necessary in order to carry out that person's duties.

    (5) In the event of an emergency not involving fire or the risk of fire, the powers referred to in subsection (4) shall not be exercised by the person for the time being in charge of the fire brigade without the authorisation of the person in charge of the operations at the scene of the emergency:

    provided that, where the person in charge of the fire brigade is of the opinion that lives or property are in imminent danger, he may exercise any of those powers notwithstanding that he has not been authorised to do so.

    (6) The fact that any person performs any function or duty or exercises any power under subsection (4) shall be conclusive evidence of his authority to do so, and no person shall be concerned to enquire whether the occasion requiring or authorising him to do so has arisen or has ceased.

    (6A) This section shall be read subject to the Diplomatic Privileges and Immunities Act 1968 and to any regulations made pursuant to section 93(1) of the Defence Act 1990.

    (7) [Repealed]

    Compare: 1972 No 119 s 41(2)–(5)

    Section 28(1): substituted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(1) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(2): substituted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(1) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(3): substituted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(1) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(3A): inserted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(1) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(3B): inserted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(1) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(3B): amended, on 17 May 2005, by section 9 of the Fire Service Amendment Act 2005 (2005 No 52).

    Section 28(3B): amended, on 2 July 2001, by section 149 of the Hazardous Substances and New Organisms Act 1996 (1996 No 30).

    Section 28(4)(a): amended, on 20 October 1978, by section 8 of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1978 (1978 No 49).

    Section 28(4)(h): substituted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(2) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(4)(na): added, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(3) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(6A): inserted, on 1 January 1991, by section 21(4) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).

    Section 28(7): repealed, on 1 January 1991, by section 3(2) of the Fire Service Amendment Act 1990 (1990 No 136).