City to Finalize Ordinance for Inspection Safety at Child Care Facilities
In the wake of deadly daycare fire that claimed the lives of five children, several agencies are set to meet to finalize an ordinance the will ensure fire safety at child care facilities.
Erie Fire Chief Guy Santone says one of the alarming things about the deadly fire, is that they did not know the home was a daycare.
Child care facilities register with the Department of Human Services (DHS), who conduct annual safety inspections.
However, under the law, the DHS can’t cite a child care facility for lack of smoke detectors.
Following the fire, Santone says the DHS has provided the fire department with a list of 40 daycares throughout the city.
The investigation into the fatal Harris Family Daycare fire revealed that the building only had one smoke detector in the attic.
The fire department now wants to go to each facility to install the proper amount of smoke detectors.
In order to do that, Sen. Dan Laughlin and Santone are drafting an ordinance that would require the DHS to check for smoke detectors at each daycare throughout the state.
A separate ordinance would also allow the Erie Fire Department to check each place locally.
"It's a terrible tragedy, but sometimes in tragedies, good things come about,” said Santone. “Now that we know about this, we can fix it and I know they are willing to work with us, and we are willing to work with them, and we're going to come up with a good plan.”
The ordinance will soon be sent to Erie City Council, who must vote on it.
According to Erie City Councilwoman Kathy Schaaf, she expects it to pass.
"I think that it is a good thing,” said Schaaf. “Having worked in a daycare for 10 years myself, they need to be a safe place for our children."
Sen. Laughlin and Santone are set to meet next week, to finalize the plan.