Irving, Texas â€“ Members of the National Burglar & Fire Alarm Association (NBFAA) were on Capitol Hill visiting Congressional offices recently when the "College Life Safety and Fire Protection Act,â€ H.R.4460, supported by the NBFAA, was introduced by Rep. Vito Fossella, R-N.Y.
The new legislation, introduced at the request of the NBFAA on Dec. 7, 2005, is designed to establish a demonstration incentive program within the U.S. Department of Education to promote the professional installation of fire alarm detection systems, or other fire prevention technologies in qualified student housing, dormitories, and other university buildings. Under the provisions of the bill, the program would award matching grants to eligible institutions, including colleges, universities and tax-exempt fraternities and sororities.
â€œThis is one of the first bills introduced in Congress that promotes the installation of fire detection equipment, particularly in college settings. We are pleased to see this new direction, as our belief is that true fire safety involves both detection and suppression,â€ said Scot Colby, NBFAA president. â€œOur campaign slogan â€” Fire Detection + Suppression = Fire Safety - embodies this belief. More people are alive today because of both alarms and sprinklers. Fire alarms provide an early warning to students to evacuate the burning area and thus save lives in the process.â€
George Gunning, NBFAA vice president and president-elect, added, â€œIn the fight to save lives from fire-related deaths, there are two major tools â€“ detection and suppression. If you look at fire detection combined with fire suppression, the statistics are staggering. Sprinklers and smoke detection together cut a personâ€™s risk of dying in a home fire 82 percent compared to those who have neither kind of protection. For that reason, we will continue to focus our Government Relations efforts in 2006 on promoting this and other legislation that provides for greater protection of lives, our homes and businesses.â€
According to the non-profit Center for Campus Fire Safety, between January 2000 and April 30, 2005, 75 people have been killed in student housing fires. Two of the most common factors in these fatal fires were a lack of automatic fire sprinkler systems and missing or disabled smoke alarms. Two of the preventive measures recommended by the US Fire Administration are the installation of smoke alarms in every dormitory room and every level of housing facilities and the regular testing of smoke alarms and fire alarm systems.
NBFAA Executive Director, Merlin Guilbeau added, â€œNBFAA supports and endorses this bill, and we urge everyone who is concerned with the health and safety of students and others who live and work in colleges and universities to support it as well.â€
For more information about this bill and what you can do to support it, contact NBFAA's lobbyist and Director of Government Relations John Chwat, at Chwat & Company, Inc., 625 Slaters Lane, Suite 103, Alexandria, VA 22314. He may be reached by phone at (703) 684-7703 or by e-mail at Gov.Info@alarm.org.