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Hazard

Unable to gain access or entry

Hazard Knowledge

There are many reasons why personnel may not be able to gain access or entry, in order to reach the incident or event. These include building features, such as:

Gaining access or entry can also apply to contexts other than buildings, including:

  • Vehicles
  • Private land

Being unable to gain access or entry may be time-critical, especially if there is a threat to life. The nature of the incident or event will determine the necessity and justification for gaining access or entry without the consent of the owner or occupier.

Legal limitations for gaining access or entry

The powers for fire and rescue service personnel gaining access or entry are subject to legal limitations covered by:

In broad terms, the powers allow for personnel to:

  • Enter premises or a place, by force if necessary, without the consent of the owner or occupier of the premises or place
  • Move or break into a vehicle without the consent of its owner

Exceptions to these powers apply to:

  • Crown property, including Ministry of Defence sites – ’crown immunity’ provides a set of exemptions from UK laws, including those relating to the fire and rescue service
  • Diplomatic or consular premises – these are considered to be the sovereign territory of the country they represent, exempt from UK laws, including those relating to the fire and rescue service
  • Merchant vessels – these are considered to be the sovereign territory of the country they are registered in, with UK laws applying only as far as the gangway of the vessel

For any incident involving one of the above exceptions, the fire and rescue service would need to be invited to assist by the authorised person.