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House of Representatives
Session of 2021 - 2022 Regular Session


Posted: April 5, 2021 01:36 PM
From: Representative Stephen Kinsey and Rep. Emily Kinkead
To: All House members
Subject: Fire Drill Compliance
In 2016, NBC10 reported that several schools in the Philadelphia School District were not performing enough fire drills. The law requires public schools to conduct monthly fire or emergency drills while school is in session, for a total of 10 each year, but reports showed that only 15% of Philadelphia schools performed 10 fire drills during the previous school year. Recent data from Allegheny County schools in the 2019-2020 school year show that only 3 of the 72 local education agencies (LEAs) documented full compliance at all their locations for performing fire drills, while reports from 2017 indicated some drills were held when pupils were not even on school premises.

Fire drills are very important life saving measures that ensure that students and teachers are prepared in the event that an emergency occurs, and they need to evacuate the school building. This is all the more important today as COVID-19 partitions or barriers used in mitigation strategies may have altered school layouts, while alcohol-based sanitizers have added new flammable materials to many classrooms. Therefore, we are proposing to improve the transparency, compliance, and efficiency of fire drills for all school districts by introducing legislation that will ensure that all schools across the Commonwealth are conducting and accurately documenting required fire drills, school security drills, and emergency evacuation drills.

The goal of this legislation is to improve public awareness of mandatory school fire drills, ensure that all schools are conducting drills appropriately and to provide accountability to parents and taxpayers. Please join us in co-sponsoring this much needed legislation.

Introduced as HB1787