CHAPTER 391

FORMERLY

HOUSE BILL NO. 291

AS AMENDED BY HOUSE AMENDMENT NOS. 1 AND 2

AN ACT TO AMEND TITLE 16 OF THE DELAWARE CODE RELATING TO SAFETY.

BE IT ENACTED BY THE GENERAL ASSEMBLY OF THE STATE OF DELAWARE (Two-thirds of all members elected to each house thereof concurring therein):

Section 1. Amend Part VI of Title 16 of the Delaware Code by enacting as a new "Chapter 88. Student Dormitories and Student Residential Housing, Fire Suppression Systems." as follows:

"Chapter 88. Student Dormitories and Student Residential Housing. Fire Suppression Systems.

§ 8801. Legislative Findings, Purpose.

The State Legislature finds and declares that:

a. Education plays a vital role in the economic development of the nation and the State, by providing the education and training of the work force of the future, and

b. The safety of students housed in dormitories at boarding schools or at institutions of higher education is a vital concern, as they represent Delaware and our country's future; and

c. Automatic fire suppression systems installed in buildings within the State have been a very effective method of preventing injury, death and widespread property damaged, and

d. It shall be deemed to be in the public interest and to have a public purpose to construct, reconstruct or renovate, develop and/or improve dormitory safety facilities, including fire prevention, smoke and fire alarms and sprinkler systems.

§ 8802 Dormitories to Have Automatic Fire Suppression Systems, Compliance Rate.

All buildings used as dormitories, in whole or in part to house students at a public or private school or public or private institution of higher education within the State shall be equipped throughout with an automatic fire suppression system in accord with the provisions of this act within seven years of enactment. This provision also requires the retrofitting of all existing buildings used as dormitories, in policy or in part, who do not have an existing automatic fire suppression system within seven years of enactment.

§ 8803. Definitions.

(1) 'Dormitories' shall mean buildings or portions thereof, containing rooms, which are provided as residences for overnight sleeping for individuals and all residential occupancies for student housing owned by the schools, colleges or universities. This definition does not apply to residential occupancies used exclusively for staff or faculty residences.

(2) 'Equipped throughout' means installed in the common areas as well as in the areas utilized for sleeping within a dormitory.

(3) 'Common areas' mean those areas within a building which are normally accessible to all residents, including the corridors, lounge or lobby areas; and areas which contain elements of fire hazards, such as boiler rooms or storage areas.

§ 8804. Rules and Regulations Promulgation by State Fire Prevention Commission.

All fire protection systems as required under the provisions of this chapter shall meet the minimum standards and specifications of the State Fire Prevention Regulations as promulgated by the State Fire Prevention Commission.

§ 8805. Office of State Fire Marshal to assist with plan review and technical assistance.

The Office of State Fire Marshal shall assist educational institutions with dormitories in their compliance with this act in accord with Title 16, Delaware Code, § 6607(g)(1)(b).

§ 8806. Automatic Fire Suppression System, Penalties for Non-Compliance.

Each owner of a dormitory required to comply under this Chapter who willfully fails to comply with the installation of automatic fire systems pursuant to this chapter, whether an individual or body corporate, shall be fined not less than $100 nor more than $500 for each offense. The Justice of the Peace Courts shall have jurisdiction over any violations of this chapter.

§ 8807. Exceptions, Claims of Negligence.

Failure to comply with this chapter shall not be considered as evidence of either contributory or comparative negligence in any civil suit or insurance claim adjudication arising out of injury or death arising from a fire or the direct consequences of a fire; nor shall failure to comply with this chapter to be admissible as evidence in any trial of any civil action or insurance claim.".

Approved July 09, 2002