California Assemblyman Ted Lampert has reintroduced a bill in the state legislature that would require California schools to install smoke detectors and automatic fire alarms.
State law requires public and private schools to have fire-warning systems and alarms, but the law refers only to the old pull-type alarms that are not activated until someone physically triggers them. There are currently no requirements for smoke detectors or any other automated systems, nor are schools required to have sprinklers.
The Lampert bill is the lawmaker’s third try at requiring schools to have smoke detectors and automatic alarms. The legislature approved both previous proposals in 1997 and 1998, only to have them vetoed by then Gov. Pete Wilson, who said the alarm systems were too expensive to require for all schools.
Lampert’s bill would require new schools to have automated fire detection and alarm systems beginning in July 2000. The proposal would also allow school districts to use money from the $9 billion school bond bill approved by voters last fall to install systems in new or remodeled schools.