Assemblyman Bob Schroeder / 201-391-3673
June 21, 2012
BILL WOULD REQUIRE EMBLEMS ON NON-RESIDENTIAL BUILDINGS, REGISTRATION WITH FIRE DISPATCH
Firefighters would be better protected against the risks posed by solar panels under a bipartisan bill approved today by the General Assembly. It is sponsored by Assembly Republican Bob Schroeder, who also serves his community as a volunteer firefighter.
“Solar panels are becoming more prevalent in our communities and pose an unintended threat to the safety of firefighters,” Schroeder, R-Bergen and Passaic, said. “Safe firefighting depends on knowledge and awareness of the situation. At a glance, emergency responders will be able to determine if there’s a threat of electrocution and take the necessary steps to keep themselves safe.”
The bill, A-266, would require non-residential buildings to clearly label with an exterior emblem whether they have a solar panel, and require other safety devices in new installations when they become available.
The bill also calls for solar systems to be registered with local fire dispatchers so firefighters will have more information available to them while en route to a call.
The need for additional safety measures was affirmed 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 how important it is to know what potential dangers lie in a burning building I might have to enter.
“These simple precautionary measures could very well save lives,” Schroeder added. “Making it safer for first responders to do their jobs makes us all safer.”