2009-09-25 / Top Stories

Council Passes Fire Safety Bill

A bill that would improve fire safety in the city was passed by the City Council late last week. Councilman James Sanders Jr. sponsored the Standpipe Bill legislation in response to the Deutsche Bank tragedy that took the lives of two New York City Firefighters, Joseph Graffagnino and Robert Beddia in August of 2007.

"Regrettably the tragedy of Deutsche Bank taught us a valuable lesson and it cost us the lives of firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino," Sanders said. "Never again will we send our firefighters into harm's way without ensuring they are protected. Today we have set a new standard of safety that should prevent incidents such as this from occurring again." Sanders' bill will require building owners to improve standpipe systems at construction, demolition, abatement sites and buildings across New York City.

Five major safety improvements will be enacted: • Establish uniform color coding of standpipe and sprinkler systems so that they are not accidently damaged and rendered inoperable. • Require that the cutting and capping of a standpipe or sprinkler system be completed by a licensed master plumber or fire suppression piping contractor who has obtained a permit for such work on a given site to ensure agency personnel know what is happening and the work is done correctly. • Installation of an air-pressurized alarm system in dry standpipes during construction and demolition operations to ensure any breech in the system is immediately detected. • Require pressure testing of new or altered sprinkler or standpipe systems. • Require site safety managers to conduct daily checks of standpipes and weekly tracing of the system at demolition sites to ensure no breech has occurred.

If our brave firefighters have the courage to rush into fires to save lives, the least we can do is ensure they have proper equipment," Sanders concluded.

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