Hillview Middle School student wants fire alarms to be installed in our schools: http://www.almanacnews.com/story.php?story_id=12575.
Many thanks to our corporate partner and law firm extraordinaire, Alston & Bird, for nominating Ring The Bell Fund for a firm-wide award to encourage, inspire, and celebrate their robust pro bono practice! Ring The Bell Fund Board member Tina Mehr was nominated for the FM Bird Award, which is “given to the Alston & Bird attorney who contributes exemplary pro bono service to non-profit organizations, associations or corporations, including without limitation, charitable, religious, civic, community, governmental, or educational organizations.”
Ring The Bell Fund was asked to produce a short video based on three words. Fortunately, we were given license to be more creative and put together three three-word groupings! Enjoy!
(Note that one requirement of the video was that it not include audio - so don't worry if you don't hear audio while it plays!)
Some might be surprised to learn that a school board would need to be asked to install fire sprinklers. But because they have been subject to different building codes than business and residential buildings, many older schools do not have fire sprinklers or alarms. Additionally, while a 2002 law mandated that all new school buildings and any school facilities undergoing significant repair or renovation would be required to install sprinklers, the law included one exemption. If a school project is paid for entirely through local funds, the installation of fire sprinklers and alarm systems is not mandatory.
You can read the full article in the March 7th issue of the Mountain View Voice.
This is a news report from NBC Bay Area (9/15/2012) that talks about this issue and the challenges faced.
You may view the full news report and more videos at nbcbayarea.com.
Menlo Park Fire District Fire Chief Harold Schapelhouman stressed that not having such an electronic alarm when no one is there - especially when fires spark during off school hours - can be detrimental. This was evidenced, he pointed out, during the 3:45 a.m. fire Thursday at the private, nonprofit Beechwood Elementary on Terminal Avenue.
The school was insured but all of the damage and items may not be able to be replaced, and the school is accepting donations. The school was not equipped with a monitored fire alarm system or sprinkler system which would have been required in newer fixed structures.
WithTheCommand has an interesting historical perspective on school fires from the past. The author covers the Lake View Elementary school fire, the Babb Switch School fire, the Cleveland Rural Grade School fire, Our Lady of the Angels, and others. Well worth a read.
You can find the full article online here.
On September 13, 2012, a fire occurred at the Beechwood School in Menlo Park, California. This is the second school fire that has occurred in the Belle Haven neighborhood of Menlo Park in just over a year (the previous being at Belle Haven Elementary School in early August of 2011.)
While the Beechwood School met all state code standards for fire safety, unfortunately its alarm system was not connected to the Menlo Park Fire Department. What most people don't know is that state law does not require monitored fire alarms in schools that were built prior to 2008.
The lack of required connectivity of school fire alarms to the fire district was the subject of one of the San Mateo County Grand Jury reports from 2008 - San Mateo County Public School Fire Alarm Systems. If Beechwood was connected to the fire district, the fire department would have known about the fire immediately, and could have responded in minutes.
You can read more about the monitored fire alarm issue and how it relates to the Beechwood School and some of our other local schools in the September 26, 2012 issue of the Menlo Park Almanac.
This is the ABC News breaking report on the Beechwood School fire that occurred on September 13th.