The Fire Prevention Appeals Board was created by statute (M.G.L. Chapter 22D, s. 5) and is made up of the members of the Board of Fire Prevention Regulations. Appeal hearings are conducted by a three-member panel selected by the Appeals Board Chairman. The Appeals Board has jurisdiction to accept appeals filed by those aggrieved by decisions, determinations, and orders issued by “any state or local official charged with the enforcement of the state fire code, relative to fire protection requirements for buildings and structures…”
Understanding the Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board
The BFPR Appeals Board guidance document explains the basic procedures and jurisdictional matters before the Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board.
The FPRAB Remote Hearing Memo explains how remote (video) hearings are held before the Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board.
For cases involving 527 CMR 1.00, Chapter 18 (Fire Department Access Roads), please review this memo regarding important information the Board will need prior to the scheduling of a hearing.
FPRAB Hearings and How to File Appeals
Filing FPRAB Appeals
All appeals must be filed within 45 (calendar) days after receiving service of notice of the head of the fire department's determination. All appeals require the submission of:
- the formal application form (7 color copies),
- a copy of the head of the fire department's written determination,
- a written explanation of relief request,
- and a $150.00 file fee.
FPRAB Appeal Application and Instructions
For questions about the appeals application, or the hearings process, please call the Executive Assistant to the Board at (978) 567-3181. Link to Application is below.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q: Where do I find the appeal application and is there a fee to file an appeal?
A: Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board Appeal Application and Instructions The filing fee is $150.00.
Q: How long do I have to file an appeal and how do I submit it?
A: You have 45 calendar days from the date you receive the Order from the fire department. Appeals are accepted only by mail or in person (not online). The Board uses the date the appeal package was postmarked to calculate the filing date.
Q: Can the fire department take any action against me after I file my appeal?
A: Related to the subject of the appeal, no. An appeal shall stay (pause) all proceedings in furtherance of the action, or failure to act appealed from, unless the head of the fire department presents evidence that a stay would involve imminent peril of life or property.
Q: How fast will my appeal be scheduled?
A: Hearings are usually held within 30 days after an appeal is filed, unless an extension of time is agreed upon by the appellant, or unless the Board cannot make a quorum (a majority of Board Members available to attend the meeting).
Q: Are appeals held in person or remotely (by video), and how do I know where to go?
A: Appeals are currently being held remotely (by video). Board staff send out hearing notices approximately three to four weeks before the hearing, and they will send you the video link for the hearing approximately one week before the hearing.
Q: Do I need an attorney to be with me for my appeal hearing?
A: No, you are not required to have a lawyer, but you may bring one at your own expense.
Q: What sort of information should I submit to the Board?
A: Any documentation/evidence which clearly establishes the characteristics and uses of the subject building. It is helpful to review prior written decisions of the Board to become familiar with the type of information presented to the Board and/or determine what information the Board relied upon in making its decisions. A link to recent decisions can be found at the bottom of this page.
Q: Is a hearing before the Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board like a court hearing?
A: No. Hearings are considered informal but are conducted in accordance with the provisions of Massachusetts General Law Chapter 30A and the adjudicatory hearing rules under the provisions of 801 CMR. Although the Board applies informal rules during hearings, all appellants and fire departments appearing before the Board should be well prepared to present testimony, documents and other evidence to support their positions.
Decisions of the Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board
This link will take you to a list of decisions by the Fire Prevention Regulations Appeals Board.