Penalties for breaking fire code regulations include fines and prosecution for significant violations, as of 2015. Penalties vary depending on the area and the violation. Repeated violations often result in larger penalties.
While fire code regulations sometimes include fine amount information, others allow the fire marshal to determine the amount of the fine. Factors that determine the fine amount vary depending on the fire marshal. For example, the Travis County, Texas, fire marshal bases fines on the amount of harm or damage the violation could cause, and the extent of deviation from the fire code. The extent of deviation encompasses several factors, including the person's actions before and after the violation, and any past non-compliance issues.
Fines are often ineffective in the long run because they reduce the business owner's available funds, making him less likely to improve the facilities. In some areas, the fire marshal allows business owners to purchase improved fire protection as a substitute for fines. With this method, the fire marshal makes the business owner comply with fire code regulations and the business becomes safer. Since making improvements to buildings is expensive, this method works well for business owners who have accumulated a large amount of fines.