Gov. Andrew Cuomo this week signed into law new safety measures aimed at preventing residential fires, the latest regulations to come after a fatal fire killed three people in an off-campus fire near Marist College in 2012, reports The Democrat and Chronicle.
Cuomo signed two bills to boost fire protections in homes. One bill will require written notices to be provided to future tenants detailing whether or not an individual home has a fire sprinkler system.
The other bill would require builders of certain homes to provide buyers with details on the installation and upkeep of automatic sprinkler systems. The buyers would then have the right to request the sprinklers be installed by the builder at the buyer’s expense.
“We have witnessed far too much senseless tragedy caused by avoidable fires,” Cuomo said in a statement. “These new protections will give New Yorkers more information about the homes they choose to live in, which will allow them to make decisions on how to keep themselves and their loved ones safe.”
In January 2012, Marist College seniors Kerry Rose Fitzsimons, 21, and Eva Block, 21, and Dutchess Community College student Kevin Johnson, 21, died in a fire in an off-campus housing unit near the Poughkeepsie campus.
Fitzsimons’ family and friends later founded the “Kerry Rose Foundation” to raise awareness with college students about fire prevention and safety.
In July 2013, Cuomo signed the “Kerry Rose Fire Sprinkler Notification Act,” which required that colleges and universities give written fire safety information on whether or not their college housing facility is equipped with a fire sprinkler system.
Since 2000, 86 fatal fires have been documented on a college campus, in fraternity housing or in off-campus housing within 3 miles of a campus — claiming 123 victims, a report in February from The Center for Campus Fire Safety, a Massachusetts-based group, said.
The new law will expand the written requirement to all rental homes and require, in bold face type, that leases say whether a sprinkler system exists.
For new homes, the builder of one- and two-family dwellings that have less than three stories will need to provide buyers with information on the installation and maintenance of automatic fire sprinkler systems. The information will be prepared by the state Office of Fire Protection and Control.
The bill states that the written materials should be provided to a buyer before entering a contract and detail the benefits of “and include the factors that can affect costs associated with the installation and maintenance of an automatic fire sprinkler system.”
Then it’s up to the buyer to decide whether to pay for the system to be installed.
Both laws take effect in 120 days.
“Ensuring our homes and buildings are equipped with the necessary fire prevention safety measures is one of the single most important things we can do to dramatically reduce fatality rates,” Assembly Majority Leader Joseph Morelle, D-Irondequoit, one of the bill’s sponsors said in a statement.