A bill that would help prevent fires and enhance safety at public schools in Shelton and elsewhere in Connecticut received final legislative approval by the state House of Representatives today.
The measure, Senate Bill 850, was sent to Governor M. Jodi Rell to be signed into law. The legislation, which requires local fire marshals to submit reports on their inspections of school buildings to local boards of education, passed the state Senate May 27th, said Representative Perillo, who cosponsored the bill.
Perillo drafted the legislation based upon concepts developed in consultation with the State Fire Marshal’s Association and the state Department of Public Safety since January. Perillo introduced the bill following the December fire at Shelton High School in the hope it will ensure safer schools in Shelton and throughout the state.
“This legislation will help ensure that fire prevention and safety in our public schools is a top priority for both elected and appointed education officials,” Perillo said. “Requiring local fire marshals to submit their inspection reports directly to school board members underscores just how important fire safety is to the elected officials who oversee the operation of our schools.”
“Parents count on teachers, administrators, and ultimately, board of education members to ensure the safety of their children for much of the year,” Perillo said. “Requiring board members to review fire inspection reports for every school in their district places an important layer of accountability over school boards and fire marshals and will help ensure schools are free of potential fire hazards.”
“Board members, many of them parents with school-age children, will make sure administrators understand that correcting fire hazards promptly and effectively and complying with the fire code is absolutely essential,” Perillo said. “This legislation makes it clear that the primary responsibility for eliminating fire hazards detected during inspections rests with school superintendents and school board members. It removes any uncertainty about who is responsible for correcting fire hazards and makes it more likely that repairs and safety upgrades are performed in a timely manner.”
Perillo met with Shelton’s Board of Education in March, and the Board voted unanimously to support his efforts to pass the legislation.
Perillo gave credit to Senator Dan Debicella (R-Shelton), who Perillo said shepherded the bill through the Senate before the House gave it final legislative approval Wednesday. The House voted unanimously to approve the measure after Perillo spoke in favor of it on the floor of the House.
The bill now awaits the Governor’s signature. Perillo said that because the bill closes a major gap in state law, he is “confident Governor Rell will sign it.”