Four new Illinois laws are aimed at keeping citizens safe from fires.
Senate Bill 3373 will consolidate and streamline state funds that are used to purchase trucks, ambulances, and fire station upgrades. Three state funds that are used to support loans for local emergency equipment purchases will be combined and administered by the Office of the State Fire Marshall and the Illinois Finance Authority. The goal of the law is to simplify loan programs and increase efficient use of state resources. The law will go into effect on January 1.
House Bill 5283 lowers interest rates on loans to purchase certain fire vehicles that are either partially or fully manufactured in Illinois. If the vehicle is fully built in Illinois and meets other criteria, local fire districts could qualify for a zero percent interest loan. The law, which goes into effect immediately, should encourage fire protection districts to buy locally-built equipment.
Dorms throughout the state will now be safer thanks to House Bill 4757. The law requires all post-secondary schools in the state that have dormitory housing to install sprinklers by 2014. A previous law passed in 2004 required schools to have this completed by 2013, however, some complications have prevented some schools from meeting the deadline. Schools must give a full compliance plan to the State Fire Marshall this fall that details their actions to have the sprinklers in place by September 1, 2014. If an institution does not meet the deadline, it will face a fine of $1,000 per day.
Finally, House Bill 4715 streamlines the testing and hiring process of local firefighters. Technical changes will also be made to examination procedures. The law is effective immediately.
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