Photo: Rich Evers (Flickr)
The State Fire Marshal wants lawmakers to extend the emergency rules created this summer to regulate outdoor stage equipment for another two years.
In response to the State Fair stage collapse, the General Assembly last session passed legislation authorizing the state Fire Prevention and Building Safety Commission to develop temporary stage equipment regulations for use this summer.
Those rules expire at the end of 2013, forcing lawmakers to act next session. State Fire Marshal Jim Greeson says he wants to extend the temporary rules for two more years.
“It’s just to give us time for further research, to make sure we address everything properly,” he says. “It gives it time for the public to have input.”
Indiana Association of Fairs, Festivals and Events director Steve Patterson says his membership is happy with how the rules were enforced over the summer.
“They support continuing with this type of legislation into the future, with giving the Fire Commission the ability to set the rules,” he says.
Greeson says he would also like the legislature to add a provision requiring events to develop emergency evacuation plans. Indianapolis Democratic Representative Ed DeLaney says that is a gap in the current regulations that needs to be fixed.
“We want to have emergency action plans and response plans, stage or no stage,” he says. “We’ve got a large crowd, they have to be able to get out of there. Somebody has to tell them when they need to get out of there and where to go.”
Extending the temporary regulations would allow the commission to develop emergency rules at its discretion. Portland Republican Representative Bill Davis says he is a little concerned about giving bodies outside the legislature that kind of rule-making authority.
“With a part time legislature like we have in Indiana, sometimes they need that flexibility to be able to react to situations, so I want to see where we go with that,” Davis says.
A legislative study committee will make its recommendation next month on whether to extend the temporary regulations.