Tampering with fire protection systems and equipment poses a serious threat to life and property. There has been an increase in violations such as covering or removing smoke detectors, discharging fire extinguishers and hanging items on sprinkler heads.
Anyone caught tampering with these devices will be charged under the guidance of the Uniform Code of Military Justice.
In accordance with National Fire Protection Association 1, Fire Code, any person who willfully disables a fire protection system or device is in violation of the Fire Code.
XVIII Airborne Corps Fort Bragg Regulation 420-1 section 8 references misuse and tampering with fire protection systems and equipment. Offenders can be charged by the UCMJ, under Article 108 — Damage, Destroying or Losing Government Property, Article 92 — Failure to Obey a Lawful Order, or Article 134 — General Article (Tampering).
Additionally, Soldiers who give an order to tamper with or disable a fire protection system may be charged with Article 134 — General Article (Aiding and Abetting).
These system are installed to save lives and notify occupants of a fire. Tampering with these devices not only endangers individual life and safety, but the lives of every other person residing in that building if a fire were to occur.
Fort Bragg, Fire and Emergency Services Division has responded to multiple incidents in the barracks and dorms where the occupants have been removing or covering smoke detectors or accidental activation of sprinkler heads.
We have received a variety of excuses trying to justify why the smoke detector was removed or covered by the occupant. Whatever the reason, it is still a violation and will no longer be tolerated by Fort Bragg leadership.
When these violations are found, Fort Bragg Law Enforcement will be notified and the personnel responsible will be charged. In the past few months, 19 Soldiers have been charged with tampering of the life safety devices under Article 134.
Fort Bragg is no different than a city or municipality. Where there are laws, ordinances or general statutes governing this offense, Fort Bragg and all other military installations have regulations, codes and laws that govern our actions.
Those who tamper with fire safety equipment off post, in North Carolina, face Class 2 misdemeanor charges, which could result in a fine of up to $1,000.
On Fort Bragg, this offense is punishable under the UCMJ, which could result in you being discharged from the military service.
So, next time you think you’re going to cover or remove your smoke detector or hang your clothes from the sprinkler head, keep in mind, your actions could prove costly.
You could end up hurt or killed, personnel in your building could end up hurt or killed, or you may just have ended your military career, which could also greatly affect your civilian career.
Ask yourself… “Is it worth it?” In addition you senior leadership will be charged if they direct and/or order you to remove or cover any life safety devices.
For additional information on this article, contact the Fort Bragg Fire and Emergency Services Fire Prevention Office at 432-6727 or the Fort Bragg Law Enforcement Center at 396-0391.