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Governor Quinn Signs Legislation To Improve Fire Safety Throughout Illinois

Courtesy of the Office of Governor Pat Quinn

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn signs House Bill 5664, which requires fire sprinklers in Greek housing.

On July 27, Governor Pat Quinn signed a bill into law that requires fraternity and sorority housing in Illinois to install automatic fire sprinkler systems. Governor Quinn also highlighted a new law that requires housing units in Illinois to have a backup power supply for all smoke detectors that are wired to a building’s electrical supply.

“Fire safety starts at home. These important new laws help ensure that the smoke detectors where you live don’t fail when you need them the most, and help make our college students safer,” said Governor Quinn. “These laws will help prevent potentially tragic situations like we saw last year at Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville.”

House Bill 5664 requires fraternities and sororities built after Jan. 1, 2011, to have an automatic fire sprinkler system. Any fraternity or sorority that does not comply with the new law will not be allowed to occupy its housing facility. Fraternities and sororities built before Jan. 1, 2011, will have until Jan. 1, 2019, to install an automatic fire sprinkler system.

The local government or institution of higher education, depending upon whose jurisdiction the fraternity or sorority falls, will enforce the new law. Representative Daniel Burke (D-Chicago) and Senator Michael Frerichs (D-Champaign) sponsored the legislation.

Illinois Governor Pat Quinn

Governor Quinn also highlighted Senate Bill 3097, sponsored by Representative Jay Hoffman (D-Collinsville) and Senator William Haine (D-Alton). The new law requires houses, apartments, nursing homes and other dwelling units in Illinois to have a battery or electrical generator backup for all smoke detectors that are wired to a building’s power supply. The new law applies to all housing facilities that are newly constructed, reconstructed or substantially remodeled after Jan. 1, 2011.

The legislation was spurred by a 2009 incident at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville where a smoke detector failed to alert students to a possible fire. The building’s smoke detector system was hard-wired into its electrical system but a storm had knocked out power to the building. Without a backup power supply available at the time of the incident, the smoke detectors failed to activate and notify students to the fire.

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