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Legislative committee votes to ease fire alarm rules in smaller schools

File photo.

File photo.

The Senate Commerce and Human Resources Committee approved a rule Jan. 19 that would ease fire alarm requirements in a host of buildings — including smaller schools.

Under the rule change, fire alarms would be required only in school buildings with 50 students or more, Idaho EdNews reported. The current threshold is 30 students or more.

The state’s Division of Building Safety proposed the fire alarm language, saying it would bring Idaho into compliance with the latest — but still unadopted — version of the International Building Code. The language was part of a larger rule that included, among other items, language pertaining to fire-resistant walls in townhouses.

Rep. Dan Schmid, D-Moscow.

Rep. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow.

The language on school fire alarms caught the eye, and ire, of Sen. Dan Schmidt, D-Moscow, who called the change “bizarre.”

The change wouldn’t affect existing schools; in other words, schools with 30 to 50 students would likely keep their fire alarms in place. The State Department of Education is unlikely to take a position for or against the rule, said Jeff Church, a spokesman for state superintendent Sherri Ybarra.

Generally speaking, a rule goes into effect unless it is rejected by both a House and Senate committee




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