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6, 2013

NR # 3187

Campus Fire Safety Right-To-Know Act pushed
Lawmakers are compelling public and private learning institutions to disclose their current fire safety practices and programs to ensure students’ safety. Reps. Diosdado M. Arroyo (2nd District, Camarines Sur) and Gloria Macapagal-Arroyo (2 nd District, Pampanga) filed House Bill 310, which requires all schools to divulge their current fire safety practices and programs so that areas of improvement can be properly identified and appropriate measures adopted. “Considering the congestion of students in certain educational facilities, the hazard posed by fire cannot be discounted,” Arroyo said. According to Arroyo, “it is imperative for all schools to take concrete steps which can guarantee their capability of dealing with such potential hazards.” “By mandating the compulsory disclosure of fire safety practices, it is hoped that all concerned parties will be able to intelligibly recommend programs and preventive action with the view of keeping schools safe and equipped to handle fire incidents,” Arroyo said. The measure, to be known as the Campus Fire Safety Right-To-Know Act of 2013, requires all public and private educational institution to prepare yearly, publish and distribute through appropriate publications or mailings, to all current students and employees and to any applicant for enrollment or employment an annual Fire Safety Report containing information on their campus fire safety practices and standards. The report should include a detailed summary of all educational facilities of the institution, with a statement of whether or not the said facilities are equipped with a fire sprinkler system or any other fire safety system or both; statistics concerning the occurrence on campus of fires and false fire alarms in the facilities during the two preceding calendar years; and a statement of the human injuries or deaths, and structural damage caused by the occurrence. Each school shall also make periodic reports to the campus community on fires and false fire alarms, which are reported to local fire departments to help prevent similar occurrences. All institutions shall be required to submit to the Secretary of Education and Chairman of CHED or their duly authorized representative its annual Fire Safety Report for review. The report shall be made available to the public. Within one year after the effectivity of this Act, the Secretary of Education and/or Chairman of the CHED shall prepare and submit to Congress a report containing an analysis of the current status of fire safety systems in all educational facilities covered by this Act. The report shall also contain an estimate of the cost of bringing all non-conforming dormitories and other campus buildings up to current building codes; and recommendations concerning the best means of meeting fire safety standards in all facilities, including recommendations for methods to fund such cost. The Department of education will be the lead agency and shall issue the necessary implementing rules and regulations needed to enforce the provisions of this Act. (30) jsc