U.S. Reps. Bill Pascrell, Jr. (D-NJ), Peter King (R-NY) and Sen. Frank R. Lautenberg (D-NJ) introduced a bill that would provide college students with fire safety education and training. The Campus Fire Safety Education Act of 2013, which creates a new competitive Campus Fire Safety Education Grant Program at institutions of higher education, will increase fire safety awareness among college students and help improve their fire training.
“I am proud to reintroduce the Campus Fire Safety Education Act with Congressman King and Senator Lautenberg," said Congressman Pascrell, a member of the House Ways and Means and Budget Committees, in a statement. "This legislation creates a new competitive grant program at our institutions of higher education that will increase fire safety awareness among college students, help improve their fire training, and save lives. It gives colleges and universities the resources they need to educate their students about the importance of fire safety and help ensure fire-safe behavior during their time in college and beyond.”
Funding may be used to initiate, expand, or improve a fire safety education program on their campus. Schools can apply on their own or in collaboration with a nonprofit fire safety organization or public safety department, and may include a fraternity and sorority. Since a high proportion of student fires occur off-campus, schools will be encouraged to use these funds to educate students living both on- and off-campus.
The legislation is endorsed by a number of fire safety and campus organizations, including College and University Housing Officers International, Campus Firewatch, International Association of Fire Chiefs, International Fire Marshals Association, Kerry Rose Foundation, Michael H. Minger Foundation, National Association of State Fire Marshals, Ohio Fire Safety Coalition, International Association of Fire Fighters and National Volunteer Fire Council.
In 2008, the Higher Education Opportunity Act became law with provisions from the Campus Fire Safety Right-to-Know Act introduced by Rep. Pascrell and Sen. Lautenberg. The provisions aim to address concerns relating to fires in college dormitories and off-campus student housing by requiring schools to report fire safety statistics to the Department of Education and making this information publicly available to students and parents.