In a press conference at the Capitol today, the State Fire Council, the Hawaii Firefighters Association, the National Fire Protection Association applauded lawmakers for their support of fire safety.
Photo: Rep. Ryan Yamane talks to the media about five legislation that will help curb fire-related disasters.
State lawmakers, including Reps. Ryan Yamane, Angus McKelvey and Cindy Evans, announced the passage of five measures that would help better protect the state from fire and fire-related accidents.
One of the bills will require only fire-safe cigarettes to be sold in Hawaii. The modern cigarettes are made of less-porous paper that help slow down the burning of cigarettes. The paper acts as speed bumps that extinguishes the cigarette when it's not being puffed on.
"Ultimately, these bills are about saving lives," said Rep. Ryan Yamane, who introduced several of the measures. "Cigarettes are the leading cause of home fatalities in the U.S., killing between 700-900 people, smokers and non-smokers alike, per year. Public education is critical, but fire-safe cigarettes will help to avoid the loss of homes, families and pets through fire."
The following bills await approval from the Governor:
House Bill 2438 RELATING TO CIGARETTES. The bill creates the Reduced Ignition Propensity Cigarettes Law and establishes a process to ensure that only fire-safe cigarettes are sold in Hawaii. This will mean that only cigarettes that have been tested in accordance with the test method and meet the performance standard as specified in the law may be sold or offered for sale in Hawaii, effective 9/30/09. The manufacturer of the cigarettes must also file a written certification with the State Fire Council.
House Bill 2436 RELATING TO FIREWORKS. The bill amends the definition of display fireworks, clarifies prohibitions, and requires a $25 fee for consumer fireworks. Some of the new prohibitions include throwing ignited fireworks for, at, or into a vehicle, at a person or an animal, and from the first floor of any building; set off ignited fireworks within 1000 feet of a licensed convalescent home, a licensed home for the elderly, a zoo, licensed animal shelter or licensed animal hospital; or on any public beach or in any officially designated forest or wildlife preserve.
House Bill 3150 RELATING TO THE HAWAII EMERGENCY PLANNING AND COMMUNITY RIGHT TO KNOW ACT. The bill clarifies the different reporting requirements for hazardous substances and extremely hazardous substances.
House Bill 2467 RELATING TO FIRE PROTECTION. The bill clarifies the procedure for county adoption of the State Fire Code, and for the State Fire Code to become part of the State Building Code. It requires the state to conduct fire and safety inspections of state airports at least once a year.
Senate Bill 2425 RELATING TO ARSON. The bill specifies the firefighting costs that a defendant convicted of arson may be required to reimburse. This includes costs associated with extinguishing a fire such as personnel salary, benefit and overtime; operation, maintenance, and repair of apparatus, aircraft, and equipment; supplies expended, damage, or lost; and rehabilitation supplies during fire fighting operations.
Photo (L-R): Majority Leader Kirk Caldwell, Rep. Marcus Oshiro, Rep. Angus McKelvey, Rep. Cindy Evans, Rep. Ryan Yamane, and House Speaker Calvin Say pictured with advocates of fire safety.