Legislation Proposed for School Fire Code Responsibility

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New York State Assemblyman Kenneth Zebrowski, D-New City, has proposed legislation giving the state power to force schools to conform to fire safety guidelines and verify inspections. Schools must submit annual fire safety reports to the state Department of Education, but according to Zebrowski, there aren’t any consequences for schools that don’t comply.

His new proposed legislation would give the education department the power to take action against careless schools. Current laws give schools the power to choose building inspectors but the new legislation prevents untrained people from inspecting, holds inspectors accountable and liable for errors and grants fire inspectors the ability to check schools if they perceive dangerous conditions.

This legislation also calls for an improved reporting system. The Education Department would send schools electronic forms to complete the fire code inspections and paperwork.

State Sen. David Carlucci, D-New City, is supporting Zebrowski’s bill and is looking to get similar legislation in the Senate.

“Assemblyman Zebrowski and I are determined to ensure that every child in New York has the ability to learn in a safe and secure classroom,” Carlucci said.

The State Comptroller’s Office found the state Education Department wasn’t adequately ensuring schools met fire safety requirements. The comptroller’s office visited 25 schools including Bais Trany of Monsey to check the fire safety. For the 2015-16 school year approximately 50 percent of private schools did not submit a required inspection report according to the state comptroller’s office.

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