Congressman introduces bill requiring colleges to publish fire statistics

WASHINGTON, D.C. –– In hopes of increasing public awarenessof fires on college campuses, Rep. Bill Pascrell, D-N.J., introduceda bill Feb. 6 to require colleges and universities to disclosefire safety information to the public.

HR471 would require institutions to distribute an annual reportto all current students and employees, and to applicants who requestit, detailing fire safety systems in place at each student housingfacility, the number of fires on campus each year and any injuriesresulting from campus fires.

As an amendment to the Higher Education Act, the bill wouldalso require the Secretary of Education to submit a report toCongress each year analyzing appropriate fire safety standardsfor campuses and recommending ways to improve campus fire safety.

Pascrell introduced the bill after a January 2000 fire killedthree students and injured nearly 60 others at Seton Hall Universityin South Orange, N.J.

"We require universities to publish crime statistics butthere are no similar requirements for fire statistics," saidJoe Waks, Pascrell’s press secretary. "People should know-beforethey choose a university-how safe it is."