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Smoke alarm bill could prevent Philadelphia fire tragedy repeats


By Rep. Anita Kulik

The terrible events that took place during a Jan. 5 townhouse fire in Philadelphia have brought to light a glaring issue that needs to be addressed.

The tragic fire at this building resulted in a dozen deaths, including eight children, and countless injuries. The tragedy may have been exacerbated by the misuse of smoke detectors.

Dead batteries or no batteries in smoke detectors result in increased injury and death when a fire sweeps through a home, a business, or multi-unit buildings.

Properly installed and maintained smoke detectors can save you and your family. According to the National Fire Protection Association, three out of five home fire deaths happen in homes without working smoke detectors.

House Bill 860 was introduced long before the tragic fire in Philadelphia and is now moving through the House for vote.

Manufacturers of smoke alarms produce 10-year tamper resistant smoke alarms. The law will require all rental properties in Pennsylvania to install these tamper-resistant smoke alarms when a new occupant takes residence, when the alarm is being replaced, or when a new alarm is being installed. There will be a two-year phase in for this requirement, but hopefully landlords and residents will start this process quickly.

The bill will also require that only the 10-year tamper-resistant models be sold in Pennsylvania starting two years after the effective date of the bill once passed.

I have been putting out periodic fire safety tips since I first took office. I work closely with all the volunteer fire companies in our district.

When we use safe practices at home, we not only protect our families but help make the work of our first responders easier and safer.

Women vets

It is always a privilege to meet with veterans from our district and it is especially nice to meet women veterans.

As a member of the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee, I appreciate the opportunity to meet with them, and discuss their particular issues and needs.

The number of women veterans across the Commonwealth is growing, and attention to their concerns must grow.

House Bill 129 will be considered by the committee to address the health needs of women veterans.

The legislation will establish the Task Force on Women Veterans’ Health Care in Pennsylvania.

The goal is to study health issues facing our female veterans and make recommendations to the administration and the general assembly. This bill will further our commitment to those who served to protect us.

Purple Star Schools

With the bases located in our area, we have a significant number of military families in our area.

We all know how the past two years have affected our students in their ability to distance learn.

From this we can all empathize with children from military families who can attend numerous schools in their primary education.

House Bill 1867 is moving through the Veterans Affairs and Emergency Preparedness Committee and will help address some of the problems faced by these students.

This bill will establish a Purple Star School Program in the Commonwealth and will recognize schools that provide strong services for educational transition issues for military families.

Schools will receive the Purple Star designation for showing support for the social and emotional well-being of military children adjusting to new schools.

Budget address

After a week away from Harrisburg, the Pennsylvania House of Representatives will return to session the week of Feb. 7, which will be the start of budget season. Gov. Tom Wolf will be presenting his budget address to a joint session of the House and Senate on Feb. 8.

An attorney and resident of Kennedy Township, Anita Kulik has served Pennsylvania’s 45th House District since 2017.


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