Photo Courtesy of John McCarten/NY City Council
Councilman Joe Borelli, chairman of the Committee on Fire and Emergency Management, sponsored one of the eight measures in the package.
By Forum Staff
The City Council recently approved a package of eight bills that address fires and emergency safety.
According to Council Speaker Corey Johnson, the city’s law-making body was prompted to draft such legislation after a series of Bronx fires in late December and early January resulted in 15 deaths and 29 injuries.
The first proposed law, sponsored by Johnson, would ensure fire safety guides are distributed in apartment buildings and fire safety and prevention educational materials, as well as relevant trainings, are provided to building staff. Additionally, the City Fire Department would be required to submit annual reports on such outreach efforts.
Councilman Joe Borelli (R-Staten Island) sponsored a bill that would require that all doors in residential occupancies be self-closing by July 31, 2021; Intro. 602-A also creates a class C violation of the Housing Maintenance Code for a failure to keep and maintain self-closing doors.
“This bill will save lives,” said Borelli, chairman of the Committee on Fire and Emergency Management. “I know that this package of bills, including the education and outreach components of my colleagues’ legislation, will make our city a safer place.”
Introduction 603-A would codify the FDNY’s existing hydrant inspection practice. Additionally, the City Department of Environmental Protection would be required to report on the occurrence and results of such inspections; including information on the number of hydrants subject to inspection, the number of inspections that occurred in the prior calendar year, the number of hydrants found to be inoperable through inspection, the number of hydrants found inoperable and classified as priority hydrants, and the number of priority hydrants not subsequently repaired after being found inoperable.
The next measure, which was sponsored by Councilmen Robert Cornegy (D-Brooklyn) and Chaim Deutsch (D-Brooklyn), would require that after Jan. 1, 2021, smoke alarms in residential occupancies that are installed within 20 feet from a fixed cooking appliance must comply with standards for reduction of nuisance alarms.
Introduction 606-A would require the FDNY, in consultation with the Office of Emergency Management and the Mayor’s Office for People with Disabilities, to develop a checklist to assist individuals with disabilities or limited mobility in crafting individualized emergency evacuation plans.
“After [Superstorm] Sandy, I saw firsthand the trouble many seniors and New Yorkers with disabilities experienced while having to evacuate their homes in an emergency. It was clear that residents, landlords and the city could be doing so much more to prepare for the next storm or fire,” Councilman Donovan Richards (D-Laurelton), the measure’s co-sponsor, noted.
The final three bills in the package were sponsored by Councilman Ritchie Torres (D-Bronx). Introduction 608-A would require the posting of notices within residential buildings regarding the importance of closing doors when escaping a fire to prevent the spread of fire.
Introduction 609-A would require the FDNY, in consultation with the City Department of Education, to develop and implement a plan for educating children and parents about common fire dangers and prevention measures. Such plan will include outreach at schools, public service announcements, and information on preventative measures to be taken by parents. Additionally, the FDNY will be required to report annually on such efforts.
And Introduction 610-A would require that all landlords provide stove knob covers to tenants in units where children under the age of 6 reside to prevent the children from using the stove.