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(TRENTON) – Legislation sponsored by Assembly Democrats Frederick Scalera, Upendra Chivukula, Pamela R. Lampitt and Elease Evans to help improve fire safety on campus continues moving forward.
The bill would require every public and independent institution of higher education within the state to disseminate fire safety information about their facilities to students upon initial enrollment, or, if the student is a minor, to both the student and parent or guardian.
“Sadly, even though it’s been more than 10 years now, the Seton Hall University Fire is still fresh in many minds,” said Scalera (D-Bergen/Essex/Passaic). “It’s a tragedy that we’ve continuously learned from and this is yet another example of a common sense measure that has evolved from it.”
“The beginning of school is a time of chaos and excitement,” said Chivukula (D-Middlesex/Somerset). “Students are deluged with information which may go in one ear and out the other. It’s important to provide them with this life-saving information that they can refer to.”
“It’s hard enough to watch a child go away to college for the first time,” said Lampitt (D-Camden). “Under this bill, at least parents can go home with peace of mind, knowing their children are in good hands and equipped with the proper information to deal with emergencies.”
“This is quite simply a bill that makes commonsense,” said Evans (D-Passaic/Bergen). “With a few simple moves, we can do a lot to improve fire safety for our children when they’re away at college.”
The information must include, but is not limited to, information on sprinkler systems, evacuation plans and other fire safety measures.
The bill would also require New Jersey colleges and universities to disseminate this information to all employees upon initial employment.
The Commission on Higher Education, in consultation with the Division of Fire Safety in the Department of Community Affairs, would be responsible for developing guidelines to implement this bill, including the identification of other pertinent fire safety information to be disseminated and the appropriate means of disseminating the information to students, parents or guardians, and employees.
The bill was recently approved 74-0 by the Assembly. It’s now been referred to the Senate Education Committee.