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Quijano & McKnight Bill to Improve Fire Suppression Systems in School Buildings Clears Legislature

Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Annette Quijano and Angela McKnight to help improve fire suppression systems in all school buildings statewide is headed to the Governor’s desk on Monday after receiving unanimous approval from the General Assembly.

“Many school buildings in the state were constructed decades ago and do not have adequate fire suppression systems, while others have systems that are not fully operational. This is a hazard,” said Quijano (D-Union). “We need to ensure that our students are learning in a safe environment. But we cannot properly address this serious problem without accurate information regarding the status of fire suppression systems in every school building in the state. This bill would provide the appropriate agencies with the information necessary to take appropriate action.”

The bill (A-5074) would direct the Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs to conduct a survey of fire suppression systems, which are used to extinguish or prevent the spread of fires, in all public and nonpublic school buildings in the state. The results of the survey would be provided to the Department of Education.

“Fire suppression systems are proven to prevent disasters and mitigate their scale,” said McKnight (D-Hudson). “When it comes to our schools, we need to know what we are dealing with because these systems are critical to ensuring a safe learning environment for every student in New Jersey.”

The survey required by the bill would have to include the following information:
· whether a fire suppression system is installed and operational;
· the year in which an existing fire suppression system was installed and any year in which additional piping or standpipes were added to the system or an additional system was installed in the same structure;
· the cost of curing any defect if an installed fire suppression system is not fully operational; and
· the cost of a reinstallation or annual maintenance of a fire suppression system that is inadequate or not fully operational.

The results of the survey would be published by the Division of Fire Safety and posted on its website, no later than the first day of the third January next following the effective date of this bill.