ASSEMBLY PANEL APPROVES SCHROEDER BILL TO PROTECT FIREFIGHTERS FROM DANGERS OF SOLAR PANELS

Assemblyman Bob Schroeder / 201-391-3673
Assembly Republican Press Office / 609-847-3400

March 6, 2012    

BILL WOULD REQUIRE EMBLEMS ON BUILDINGS WITH SOLAR PANELS

 Firefighters would be better protected against the dangers posed by solar panels under a bipartisan bill approved today by the Assembly Homeland Security and State Preparedness Committee. It is sponsored by Assembly Republican Bob Schroeder.

“New Jersey is one of the fastest-growing markets for solar energy and trails only California in terms of installations, but solar panels pose an unintended threat to firefighters,” Schroeder, R-Bergen and Passaic, said. “Safe firefighting requires knowledge and awareness of the situation. This bill will let emergency responders know at a glance when there’s a threat of electrocution because the building is actively harnessing power from the sun.”

The bill, A-266, would require buildings to clearly label with an exterior emblem whether they have a solar panel. The safety measure was recommended by the National Fire Protection Association, which noted buildings with solar power systems “can present a variety of significant hazards” in its report Fire Fighter Safety and Emergency Response for Solar Power Systems.

“We can have clean reliable energy without making fires any more dangerous than they already are,” said Schroeder, a volunteer firefighter in the Township of Washington since 1980 who has twice served as Fire Chief. “As a firefighter, I understand the value of knowing immediately what potential dangers await in a burning building I might have to enter. Simply putting a warning sign on the outside of a building could very well save the life of one of our brave first responders.”

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