JUNEAU – This week, Rep. Chris Tuck (D-Anchorage) and Sen. Mia Costello (R-Anchorage) filed public safety legislation to help ensure that many of the heating systems used to warm buildings in Alaska are safe and in good working order.
House Bill 218 and Senate Bill 169 require the periodic inspection and testing of fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems in Alaska by trained professionals. Currently, fire safety equipment like sprinkler systems, fire alarms, and fire extinguishers are periodically inspected. However, other components like fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems are not clearly subject to inspection and testing requirements.
“My goal with House Bill 218 is to align Alaska law and regulations with the standards of the National Fire Protection Association. Following these standards is important to protect public safety because it takes specialized training to properly inspect and maintain the fire life safety components in many heating and ventilation systems. The successful operation of this equipment can be the difference between life and death and between a minor fire and an uncontrolled catastrophe,” said Rep. Tuck.
House Bill 218 requires fire and smoke dampers to be inspected one year after being installed and every four years thereafter, except in hospitals, which have a six-year inspection frequency. Dedicated smoke control systems would need to be inspected every six months and non-dedicated smoke control systems would need to be inspected annually. Additionally, HB 218 defines the certification requirements needed to test and inspect fire dampers, smoke dampers, and smoke control systems within heating, ventilation, and air conditioning (HVAC) systems.
“As a result of Alaska’s cold climate, nearly every commercial, industrial, and public building must be heated. The goal of Senate Bill 169 is to ensure that the fire life safety components that are part of the HVAC systems in these buildings are functioning as designed. SB 169 is a public safety bill that will protect Alaskans,” said Sen. Costello.
House Bill 218 has been referred to the House State Affairs Committee and the House Finance Committee. Senate Bill 169 has been referred to the Senate Health and Social Services Committee and the Senate Finance Committee.
For more information, please contact Mike Mason in Rep. Tuck’s office at (907) 465-3579 or Melodie Wilterdink in Sen. Costello’s office at (907) 465-4968.