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Day care safety bill signed by Gov. Wolf

State-regulated day care centers in Pennsylvania will be required to have a smoke detector on each floor and in the basement, among other safety measures, according to legislation passed unanimously this week in the Pennsylvania state Legislature.

Senate Bill 934, which was introduced last year by Senator Dan Laughlin, R-Erie County, has been sent to Gov. Tom Wolf for his approval. The legislation was drafted after a day care center in Erie where children could stay overnight as their parents worked was destroyed by fire and killed five children ranging from 8 months to 7 years old.

The bill amends the Human Services Code to require family daycare homes have a smoke detector on each floor and in the basement, as well as a portable fire extinguisher, and meet occupancy and licensing requirements.

“Many of the bills introduced in the Senate are inspired by real life events that take place in our districts. Tragically, in this case, this bill was inspired by a fire in a day care facility in Erie that claimed the lives of five young children last August. La’Myhia Jones, 8; Luther Jones Jr., 6; Ava Jones, 4; Dalvin Pacley, 2; and Jaydan Augustyniak, age 9 months all died as a result of the Sunday morning fire,” Laughlin said. “What made this horrific incident even more tragic was the fact that these young lives may have been saved if the home had been properly equipped with smoke detectors.”

Senate Bill 934 requires that as part of the Human Services Department’s inspection process, daycare center operators must provide a written affirmation stating that the center or home maintains a written emergency plan, fire drill log and posted evacuation routes.

“This bill will not restore the lives that were tragically lost nor will they ease the pain those grieving families endured. However, it is government’s responsibility to learn from these tragic cases and to act to prevent them from ever occurring again in the future,” Laughlin said.

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