Wisconsin Bill Protects College Students from Tragic Fires

Fire Sprinkler Systems Will be Installed in Institutions of Higher Education

MADISON, Wis., Dec. 22 /PRNewswire/ Governor Doyle signed into law a landmark bill that will protect college students living in various types of campus housing from death and injury caused by fire. Led by Senator Ron Brown (R-Eau Claire) and Representative Rob Kreibich (R-Eau Claire), Assembly Bill544 requires automatic fire sprinkler systems installed in all newconstruction residence facilities on private campuses, all residence hallsgreater than 60 feet in height, all Greek housing in private and publiccolleges and privately owned high-rise buildings that have a studentpopulation. Five years ago, a bill was passed requiring fire sprinklersystems installed in all high-rise residence halls located on public campuses.Colleges have eight years to comply.

"This legislation is groundbreaking in the national movement to reducetragic fire deaths of college students," said Dan Gengler of the National FireSprinkler Association (NFSA) and a former Deputy Fire Chief with the Milwaukee Fire Department. "Fire is non-discriminatory. This legislation will protectstudents and can ultimately save lives. As a result, Wisconsin will be one ofthe safest states when it comes to campus housing fire safety. The passage ofthis landmark legislation illustrates the commitment of these lawmakers toprotect all of our college students," Gengler said.

According to the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) an average of1,500 fires causes $9 million in damage to university residence halls andGreek housing each year. Additional studies show that deaths caused by hoteland motel fires -- the structures most similar to dorms -- were reduced by 91%when sprinklers were present. Moreover, the NFPA has never been able todocument a single instance of a multiple loss of life in a building with asprinkler system that is fully functional in more than 100 years of theirexistence.

AB 544 passed with bipartisan effort and garnered the support of theWisconsin State Firefighters' Association, the Professional Firefighters ofWisconsin, the Wisconsin State Fire Chiefs Association, the Wisconsin Alliancefor Fire Safety and the Wisconsin Association of Independent Colleges &Universities (WAICU).

SOURCE The Wisconsin Chapter of the National Fire Sprinkler Association

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