Legislature(2021 - 2022)BUTROVICH 205

02/22/2022 01:30 PM Senate HEALTH & SOCIAL SERVICES

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01:46:41 PM Start
01:47:19 PM Confirmation Hearing(s)
01:59:44 PM SB169
03:00:06 PM Adjourn
* first hearing in first committee of referral
+ teleconferenced
= bill was previously heard/scheduled
+ Consideration of Governor's Appointees: TELECONFERENCED
Kevin F. Fimon, Alaska Mental Health Trust
Authority Board of Trustees
-- Public Testimony --
Heard & Held
-- Invited & Public Testimony --
+ Bills Previously Heard/Scheduled TELECONFERENCED
         SB 169-SMOKE/FIRE DAMPERS & SMOKE CTRL SYSTEMS                                                                     
1:59:44 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR   WILSON   reconvened   the  meeting   and   announced   the                                                              
consideration  of SENATE  BILL NO.  169  "An Act  relating to  the                                                              
inspection   and  testing   of   fire  dampers,   smoke   dampers,                                                              
combination  fire and smoke  dampers, and  smoke control  systems;                                                              
and providing for an effective date."                                                                                           
2:00:11 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO, speaking  as  sponsor of  SB  169, stated  this                                                              
legislation  is  a  companion  to  a  House  Bill  that  seeks  to                                                              
decrease building fires through additional training.                                                                            
2:00:43 PM                                                                                                                    
MELODIE  WILTERDINK, Staff,  Senator  Mia  Costello, Alaska  State                                                              
Legislature, Juneau,  Alaska, presented the sponsor  statement for                                                              
SB 169 on behalf of the sponsor:                                                                                                
[Original punctuation provided.]                                                                                                
     Fire  dampers,  smoke dampers,  combination  fire  smoke                                                                   
     dampers, and  smoke control systems all work  to prevent                                                                   
     the spread  of fire and  smoke in public and  commercial                                                                   
     buildings.  These  critical  life safety  systems  allow                                                                   
     individuals   to  exit   buildings  with   significantly                                                                   
     reduced  risk   of  smoke  inhalation,  and   they  keep                                                                   
     pathways clear of smoke and fire for rescue crews.                                                                         
     When  a fire  breaks out  in  one room,  fire and  smoke                                                                   
     dampers   seal  the   ductwork   to   prevent  it   from                                                                   
     transferring  rapidly through  the walls  to many  other                                                                   
     rooms.  Smoke  control  systems pressurize  the  air  in                                                                   
     stairwells  to  prevent smoke  from  entering,  allowing                                                                   
     for safe egress  for building occupants and  ingress for                                                                   
     Most  fire-related fatalities  are not  caused by  burns                                                                   
     but  by  smoke  inhalation,   which  these  systems  are                                                                   
     installed  to prevent.  When fire and  smoke dampers  go                                                                   
     without  inspection  or  testing  for  many  years,  the                                                                   
     motors  and  mechanisms  can  fail,  often  sealing  the                                                                   
     ductwork  shut. To solve  the problem  of a blocked  air                                                                   
     duct,  HVAC  technicians  and  maintenance  crews  often                                                                   
     prop  the seals  open, not  understanding their  purpose                                                                   
     and  rendering  the systems  completely  ineffective  in                                                                   
     the case of an emergency.                                                                                                  
     Senate Bill  169 would direct  the Department  of Public                                                                   
     Safety   to   adopt   regulations   that   require   the                                                                   
     inspection and  testing of fire dampers,  smoke dampers,                                                                   
     and smoke  control systems  by an  individual who  has a                                                                   
     current  fire  and  life  safety   certification  issued                                                                   
     through a  program accredited  by the American  National                                                                   
     Standards Institute.                                                                                                       
2:02:48 PM                                                                                                                    
MS. WILTERDINK presented the sectional analysis for SB 169:                                                                     
     Sec. 1  AS 18.70.080(b) Page 1, Lines 5-12                                                                             
     Is amended  to add  subsection (b)(2)  which allows  the                                                                   
     commissioner    of    public   safety    to    establish                                                                   
     regulations,  and the  Department  of  Public Safety  to                                                                   
     charge reasonable  fees, for the inspection  and testing                                                                   
     of  fire dampers,  smoke dampers,  combination fire  and                                                                   
     smoke dampers,  and smoke  control systems to  determine                                                                   
     compliance   with   regulations   established   in   the                                                                   
     following section of the bill.                                                                                             
     Sec. 2   AS  18.70.080(c) and (d) Page 1,  Lines 13-14 &                                                               
     Page 2, Lines 1-25                                                                                                     
     Amends AS 18.70.080  to add subsection (c)  which states                                                                   
     that  the   Department  of  Public  Safety   must  adopt                                                                   
     regulations  regarding  the  inspection and  testing  of                                                                   
     fire  dampers,  smoke  dampers,   combination  fire  and                                                                   
     smoke  dampers,  and  smoke  control  systems  that  are                                                                   
     consistent   with    the   National   Fire    Protection                                                                   
     Association's  2021  and 2022  published  standards  for                                                                   
     fire  doors,  smoke  control  systems,  and  smoke  door                                                                   
     AS  18.70.080(c)(1-4) specifics  that these  regulations                                                                   
     must apply  to mental institutions, penal  institutions,                                                                   
     group   residential   facilities,    intermediate   care                                                                   
     facilities,  nursing homes,  hospitals, schools,  public                                                                   
     assembly buildings,  state and municipal  buildings, and                                                                   
     any  other buildings  in which  such  systems have  been                                                                   
     Further  amends  AS  18.70.080  to  add  subsection  (d)                                                                   
     which  specifies  that  the  regulations  adopted  under                                                                   
     subsection  (c) must  require  that  the inspection  and                                                                   
     testing  of  fire dampers,  smoke  dampers,  combination                                                                   
     fire  and smoke dampers,  and smoke  control systems  be                                                                   
     done by  a fire  and life safety  inspection program  of                                                                   
     the state  or a municipality,  or by an individual  that                                                                   
     has  a  current  fire  and  life  safety  certification,                                                                   
     issued  through a  program  accredited  by the  American                                                                   
     National     Standards    Institute.     Findings     of                                                                   
     noncompliance resulting  from the inspection  or testing                                                                   
     must be submitted  to the owner of the building  and the                                                                   
     state fire marshal.                                                                                                        
     Sec. 3  AS 37.05.146(c)(37) Page 2, Lines 26-30                                                                        
     Is amended  to insert  that the  fees established  under                                                                   
     section 1  of this bill,  AS 18.70.080(b), for  fire and                                                                   
     life safety  plan checks and the inspection  and testing                                                                   
     of  fire dampers,  smoke dampers,  combination fire  and                                                                   
     smoke dampers,  and smoke control systems  are accounted                                                                   
     for  separately, and  appropriations  from the  receipts                                                                   
     are not made from the unrestricted general fund.                                                                           
     Sec. 4 Page 2, Line 31                                                                                                 
     Provides an effective date of January 1, 2023.                                                                             
2:06:06 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD asked how much the training costs.                                                                             
JENS   SCHURIG,  Organizer,   Sheet   Metal   Workers  Local   23,                                                              
Anchorage, Alaska,  stated that  the training cost  varies. Anyone                                                              
can  obtain  training  through  the  American  National  Standards                                                              
Institute (ANSI).  His international union spent  about $25,000 to                                                              
get ANSI  accreditation. The  price varies  depending on  how many                                                              
people take the course.                                                                                                         
SENATOR  COSTELLO clarified  that  the question  was  how much  it                                                              
would cost an individual to become certified, not a trainer.                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  replied that  certification would cost  approximately                                                              
the  same as  a journeyman  license,  which  is $125  per year  to                                                              
renew. The individual generally pays the renewal fee.                                                                           
2:08:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  stated she  was  asking about  an  individual's                                                              
cost for  the training. She asked  for confirmation that  there is                                                              
a training cost not just a license fee.                                                                                         
MR. SCHURIG answered that out-of-state companies offer the 16-                                                                  
hour minimum training and test, but he does not know the cost.                                                                  
2:08:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  asked  if  it was  union  training  or  company                                                              
2:08:59 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG stated  that for  a sheet  metal union  member to  be                                                              
eligible  for the  training,  they  donate 16  cents  per hour  to                                                              
dues. He is not sure what non-union workers would pay.                                                                          
MS. WILTERDINK said  union dues cover the training  cost for union                                                              
2:09:40 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  asked for  follow-up information concerning  how                                                              
the training  and inspections  required by SB  169 would  drive up                                                              
costs for  state-owned buildings  and commercial property  owners.                                                              
She would like to  know the cost of certifying  a trainee because,                                                              
the cost  will eventually  be borne  as an  increase in  the state                                                              
budget or by consumers. She asked if SB 169 is a pro-union bill.                                                                
MR. SCHURIG  stated that SB  169 is not  a pro-union bill.  It was                                                              
written  so anyone  could get the  training.  For a contractor  to                                                              
bring  an  instructor   to  Alaska  to  get   non-union  employees                                                              
certified, the cost  would entail airfare, three days  at a hotel,                                                              
and the  instructor's wages.  Regarding an  increased cost  to the                                                              
state,  he  replied  that  millions  of  dollars  had  been  spent                                                              
installing  fire  and smoke  damper  systems. In  his  experience,                                                              
many  systems  are not  in  working  order,  making them  a  loss.                                                              
Maintaining  the  systems  is  effectively   a  cost  savings.  He                                                              
likened it  to buying a  new car and then  not putting oil  in it.                                                              
It is cheaper to do an oil change than replace an engine.                                                                       
2:12:25 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES asked  whether HVAC  technician training  includes                                                              
basic information  on the purpose  and function of fire  and smoke                                                              
MS.  WILTERDINK opined  that that  lifesaving ventilation  systems                                                              
are not part of the training HVAC technicians receive.                                                                          
2:14:04 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  opined that  if there is  concern about  safety in                                                              
schools and  other buildings, HVAC  technicians should  be trained                                                              
not to  disable lifesaving ventilation  systems. She  noted public                                                              
and private  building uses  are mentioned on  page two of  SB 169.                                                              
She  questioned   whether  fairground   buildings,  bingo   halls,                                                              
restaurants,  or  bars  could  be  considered  entertainment.  She                                                              
expressed  concern  about  placing   additional  fees  on  private                                                              
businesses.  She asked how  much the  Department of Public  Safety                                                              
would charge for an inspection fee.                                                                                             
2:16:09 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO replied  that in SB 169, page 1,  language not in                                                              
the   bold  font   was   already   in  statute.   Therefore,   the                                                              
commissioner of  public safety  by regulation already  establishes                                                              
the  minimum  standard  of  compliance   for  fire  detection  and                                                              
suppression equipment  plan checks  for the buildings  listed. She                                                              
stated she did not  think SB 169 would affect  a fairground unless                                                              
a building was constructed where people would meet.                                                                             
2:17:07 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  said that it is  important to be aware  that in SB
169,  on  page  1,  businesses  are  charged  a  fee  for  general                                                              
inspection.  The fee  to  businesses would  increase  by adding  a                                                              
damper  inspection.  She opined  that  the  fee amount  should  be                                                              
known. She noted  that in Section 2, subsection (c)(4)  on page 2,                                                              
lines 15  - 16, the  term "other buildings"  is listed.  She asked                                                              
if  homes are  ever built  with  damper systems  that could  cause                                                              
homeowners to incur a fee.                                                                                                      
SENATOR HUGHES asked  how much inspection fees  would increase due                                                              
to  the  addition  of  damper  inspections  and  whether  the  fee                                                              
increase  would vary  by  building size.  She  also asked  whether                                                              
some homeowners would need to pay an inspection fee.                                                                            
2:18:42 PM                                                                                                                    
RICHARD BOOTHBY,  State Fire Marshall,  Division of Fire  and Life                                                              
Safety,  Department  of  Public   Safety  (DPS),  Willow,  Alaska,                                                              
stated  that the  current statute  gives authority  to charge  for                                                              
plan checks, which  is the plan review portion of  the damper fire                                                              
and smoke  control systems. The  department does not yet  have the                                                              
authority to charge  for inspections, nor does  its personnel have                                                              
the necessary  certification to  do the  inspections. To  meet the                                                              
requirements  of SB 169,  they will  need to  be trained.  He said                                                              
inspections  could lead to  fee increases.  For example,  consider                                                              
the locations  of Alaska's rural  schools. Schools  are statewide,                                                              
and there  will be  travel costs  associated with the  inspection.                                                              
The department  currently uses codes  2012 and 21. It  already has                                                              
provisions for  inspections to be  completed but does  not address                                                              
2:20:18 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES  said that  the fee that  can currently  be charged                                                              
is  for when  a building  is  in the  planning  stage. Staff  will                                                              
first  need  to   be  trained  and  certified   before  performing                                                              
scheduled  inspections and  testing  of damper  systems  following                                                              
installation.  She  asked what  the  price range  for  inspections                                                              
would be if SB 169 were to pass and staff became certified.                                                                     
2:21:18 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. BOOTHBY  said it is  correct that there  is no charge  for any                                                              
inspection  to date.  Damper  fire  and smoke  system  inspections                                                              
would be the first  inspections to have a fee. It  is also correct                                                              
that staff  would need  additional training  and certification  to                                                              
do the inspection.  There will be a cost for staff  to travel, and                                                              
staff may  need to  be hired to  assist the  five deputies  who do                                                              
other  inspections.   An  analysis  would  need  to   be  done  to                                                              
determine how  many buildings would  need to be inspected  and how                                                              
much staff would be required.                                                                                                   
SENATOR  HUGHES  reasoned  that  since a  dollar  amount  was  not                                                              
offered, the  fee could be estimated  based on airfare  and labor.                                                              
She  asked whether  a  homeowner  would ever  need  to  pay for  a                                                              
damper inspection.                                                                                                              
2:22:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  BOOTHBY replied  that single-family  residential homes  would                                                              
not  need to  be inspected.  Residencies such  as assisted  living                                                              
homes that are  zoned R4 high-density housing could  be charged if                                                              
the building has  fire barriers or firewalls.  Other institutional                                                              
housing,  like those listed  in SB  169, would  be subject  to the                                                              
MR.  SCHURIG stated  he  had  been a  sheet  metal  worker for  20                                                              
years. He  has been  a test  inspector of  fire and smoke  dampers                                                              
and smoke  control  systems for  the past seven  years, mainly  in                                                              
hospitals.  He has  found  the systems  to  have  a sizeable  fail                                                              
rate.  He stated  his  belief that  this is  partly  due to  other                                                              
contractors not having proper and continued training.                                                                           
2:24:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  stated there  are eight components  to the  fire life                                                              
safety ecosystem,  and each  plays a  critical role in  protecting                                                              
property.  The eight  components  are: government  responsibility,                                                              
development  and  use  of  current  codes,  referenced  standards,                                                              
investment  and   safety,  skilled  workforce,   code  compliance,                                                              
preparedness  and  emergency  response, and  informed  public.  He                                                              
stated that  SB 169  would help maintain  the system  by mandating                                                              
that  people  doing  the  inspections  have  proper  training  and                                                              
2:25:34 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  turned to  slide 3  and showed an  example of  a fire                                                              
damper that  uses a remote  switch to indicate  whether a  gate is                                                              
open  or closed.  Some links  in the  damper were  broken, so  the                                                              
switch  indicated it  was closed,  even  though it  did not  fully                                                              
close. A technician  needs to be physically present  and watch the                                                              
gate actuate to do a proper inspection.                                                                                         
2:26:22 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR COSTELLO asked how the building was being used.                                                                         
MR. SCHURIG  stated it was a  commercial building. He said  he did                                                              
not take  all the pictures.  The pictures  represent the  "Hall of                                                              
Shame" for dampers and are a nationwide compilation.                                                                            
2:26:57 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  advanced  to slide  4 and  said it is  common to  see                                                              
data  cables run  through an  open fire  damper because  it is  an                                                              
easy shortcut.  He moved to slide  5, which showed  plumbing pipes                                                              
passing through a  damper. Both make it impossible  for the damper                                                              
to shut.  He stated such instances  are not uncommon  and showcase                                                              
why periodic inspections need to be done.                                                                                       
2:27:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON  asked who is  liable when  a damper is  blocked from                                                              
MR.  SCHURIG opined  that the  person  who installed  it would  be                                                              
liable.  They  would  need  to   be  notified  and  back  charged.                                                              
However,  this  is difficult  even  when  good records  have  been                                                              
kept. It is better to be diligent and do timely inspections.                                                                    
2:28:17 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  said that using  a zip tie to  hold open a  damper is                                                              
similar to  what happened  in the  1980 MGM  fire where  85 people                                                              
died.  Pictures in  the report  show  wires were  used to  replace                                                              
missing  links.  A  properly  trained person  would  know  what  a                                                              
fusible link  is, the temperature at  which it melts, and  where a                                                              
replacement  could be  obtained.  Through  training, people  learn                                                              
how to make  an easy fix correctly.  Not squaring a  damper during                                                              
installation can keep  it from shutting. A person  doing a walk-by                                                              
inspection   would  not   realize  its   dysfunction  until   they                                                              
attempted to close it.                                                                                                          
2:29:54 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG moved  to slide 9 and stated it was  a picture he took                                                              
in Alaska where a  cup was used to prop open  a damper. A 40-year-                                                              
old  pop-top  beer can  was  also  found  keeping a  damper  open.                                                              
Unlike the  cup and can,  which could burn  in a fire,  items like                                                              
rocks would never let a damper close.                                                                                           
2:30:35 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  moved to slide 12  and said that there  are different                                                              
life  safety system  trades, and  technicians  do not  necessarily                                                              
understand how  the other  systems operate, as  seen in  the photo                                                              
where the  conduit for a  fire alarm is  run through an  HVAC fire                                                              
2:31:14 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG advanced  to slide  13 and  pointed out  that a  fire                                                              
damper  can appear  operational  from  a distance.  However,  upon                                                              
closer  inspection, the  link to  hold  the damper  open had  been                                                              
broken and replaced  with wire, which is the same  scenario as the                                                              
MGM  hotel  fire.  HVAC  damper   systems  are  important  because                                                              
according  to the  National  Fire Protection  Association  (NFPA),                                                              
smoke travels  at 120-420 feet per  minute during an  active fire.                                                              
Statistics show that approximately 70 percent of all building-                                                                  
related  deaths are  associated  with smoke  inhalation, and  most                                                              
victims are  not located  in the  same room as  the origin  of the                                                              
fire. HVAC systems  penetrate every occupied space  in a building.                                                              
Dampers within  the HVAC system  are critical to the  flow control                                                              
of fire,  smoke, and toxic gasses.  The MGM Hotel fire  started on                                                              
the  first floor.  Smoke went  through the  mechanical shaft,  and                                                              
most  people  perished  on  the  upper  floors.  The  systems  are                                                              
designed to keep  smoke out of safe paths of  egress. Guests heard                                                              
the fire  alarms, left their rooms  without the room  key, entered                                                              
a smoke-filled hallway, and could not renter their rooms.                                                                       
2:33:01 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR HUGHES asked how many people died in the MGM fire.                                                                      
MR. SCHURIG  replied  that 85 people  died and  117 were  injured,                                                              
including firefighters.                                                                                                         
2:33:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  advanced to slide 22  and spoke to a recent  study by                                                              
Dr.  James  Milke, Chair  of  the  Department of  Fire  Protection                                                              
Engineering  at the University  of Maryland,  on the viability  of                                                              
HVAC  dampers.   The  study  is  a  compilation   of  contractors'                                                              
information  from  the United  States.  The study  concluded  that                                                              
1,441  buildings contained  170,354 fire  dampers, smoke  dampers,                                                              
and combination fire  and smoke dampers; of these  dampers, 81,038                                                              
needed  repair.  He  determined   that  47.5  percent  of  dampers                                                              
required  repair.  Dr. James  Milke  has authored  two  well-known                                                              
books and is highly respected in the industry.                                                                                  
2:35:24 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG said  damper  inspection follows  International  Fire                                                              
Code  (IFC),  which  is based  on  the  National  Fire  Protection                                                              
Association  (NFPA) standard.  The  code states  that each  damper                                                              
will  be  inspected   in  the  commissioning  process,   the  year                                                              
following,  and then  every four  years, with  the exception  that                                                              
hospitals  are   inspected  every   six  years.  Fire   alarm  and                                                              
sprinkler  systems are  annually  inspected. So,  the  cost of  an                                                              
inspection  is essentially  a quarter  of what  would be paid  for                                                              
fire  and  sprinkler  systems.  However,  he stated  that  in  his                                                              
experience inspections  on damper systems do not  happen according                                                              
to code.  He said  that Juneau  follows 2012  IFC code,  Fairbanks                                                              
follows 2015, and Anchorage recently adopted 2018.                                                                              
2:37:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG  moved  to  slide  27  and  stated  there  are  three                                                              
required tests for  the installation, testing, and  maintenance of                                                              
fire,  smoke,  and combination  dampers.  Operational  testing  is                                                              
done  after  the damper  is  installed  but prior  to  occupation.                                                              
Acceptance testing  is done after  the damper and  associated HVAC                                                              
and  Fire Life  Safety (FLS)  controls  are operational.  Periodic                                                              
testing is done  one year after acceptance testing  and then every                                                              
four   years  thereafter.   For  reasons   of  sterilization   and                                                              
intrusiveness, hospitals  are only inspected every  six years. The                                                              
testing   procedure  includes   visual   confirmation  of   proper                                                              
operation.  The 2019  NFPA code  allows for  remote inspection  of                                                              
dampers  that  have  that  capability   after  an  initial  visual                                                              
inspection  has  been performed.  He  stated  that 2019  NFPA  105                                                              
covers code for  smoke and that the timing for  inspections is the                                                              
same as 2019 NFPA 80 for fire.                                                                                                  
2:38:21 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO  asked if  heat  triggers  both fire  and  smoke                                                              
dampers to close.                                                                                                               
MR. SCHURIG  said fire  dampers  are mechanical  and close  when a                                                              
link melts at  165 degrees Fahrenheit. Smoke dampers  have a motor                                                              
that  is  connected  to  the  fire  alarm  system.  The  motor  is                                                              
activated  and closes  the damper  when an  alarm is  pulled or  a                                                              
fire detector goes  off. Combination dampers have a  motor with an                                                              
electronic  fusible  link. The  fuse  pops at  either  165 or  212                                                              
degrees Fahrenheit.                                                                                                             
2:39:28 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO  asked  if combination  dampers  are  harder  to                                                              
install and  repair and if they  fail more often because  they are                                                              
more complex.                                                                                                                   
2:39:46 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  replied yes.  He stated that  in his experience,  any                                                              
motor  installed before  the  year 2000  does  not work.  It is  a                                                              
common  occurrence  for  older  motors  to be  fried  leaving  the                                                              
damper stuck in  either the open or closed position.  He said that                                                              
he tested 39 dampers  at a rural hospital in Alaska  and 37 of the                                                              
motors  failed  in the  open  position.  He  stated that  he  also                                                              
tested  dampers at  a large  Alaskan  hospital built  in 1999  and                                                              
found that none  of the dampers worked. When the  temperature in a                                                              
room is  too hot,  a person  will call  maintenance and  complain.                                                              
Maintenance will  find that a motor  is dead and undo  the linkage                                                              
to  open the  damper  for  ventilation  and unknowingly  create  a                                                              
2:41:32 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR REINBOLD  stated she found  it alarming that  these issues                                                              
are common  and asked  how much  damage can be  done and  what the                                                              
impacts are.                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG replied  think  about costs.  A  small nuisance  fire                                                              
could become  catastrophic if  all the  systems were not  working.                                                              
He stated  that from personal  experience, and Dr.  Milke's study,                                                              
he  knows that  many  of  the HVAC  Life  Safety Systems  are  not                                                              
functioning.  He  described  the  consequences  of  a  fire  alarm                                                              
system failing. People  on the upper floors would not  be aware of                                                              
the fire  until smoke  traveled through the  ducts and  filled the                                                              
stairwells,  leaving no safe  egress because  the fire  would have                                                              
made the  elevators inoperable. If  the fire alarm  system worked,                                                              
most  people  would have  time  to  evacuate.  It is  usually  the                                                              
elderly and  children who do not  evacuate in time. He  added that                                                              
first  responders also  need a  safe path  of egress,  but if  the                                                              
system is  not working,  they would  not have  it. He  stated that                                                              
people in a  recent New York fire  died because there  was no safe                                                              
egress. The  smoke control system  functioned but  stairwell doors                                                              
had been propped open allowing smoke to fill the stairwell.                                                                     
2:43:47 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD asked  if  the  bill has  any  impact on  carbon                                                              
monoxide  detectors. She  had a  recent experience  that made  her                                                              
aware  of  its danger  and  installed  a  detector. She  asked  if                                                              
inspections would be done for carbon monoxide detectors.                                                                        
MR.  SCHURIG replied  no. He  stated that  although humans  should                                                              
not  breathe smoke  or  carbon monoxide,  they  are different.  He                                                              
said he would like to speak on air quality in the future.                                                                       
2:45:09 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  moved  to slide 34  and stated  that another  problem                                                              
technicians  encounter is  access doors  being too  small to  do a                                                              
physical  inspection where  the damper link  is dropped,  cleaned,                                                              
lubricated, or  replaced. He  stated he had  seen access  doors as                                                              
small as six  inches but, from personal experience,  knows that 16                                                              
inches  is needed  to  fit  into the  duct.  He stated  that  code                                                              
requires  a 12-inch  square  minimum  opening, and  damper  access                                                              
panels are  to be labeled in  half-inch font, yet it  is uncommon.                                                              
Unlike sprinklers  and fire alarms,  dampers are out of  sight, so                                                              
it is easy not  to think about them. Getting to  the damper is not                                                              
always easy, so training in problem solving is needed.                                                                          
2:47:11 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  opined that only people  who are certified  through a                                                              
program accredited  by ANSI  under the International  Organization                                                              
for  Standardization   (ISO)   /  International   Electrotechnical                                                              
Commission  (IEC) 17024  standard  should be  employed  to do  the                                                              
inspections  for purposes  of  quality control.  SB  169 seeks  to                                                              
raise the  standard of testing to  meet that of other  Life Safety                                                              
Systems.  Currently,  anyone  with  HVAC knowledge  can  test  and                                                              
inspect the  smoke and fire  damper system,  which is part  of the                                                              
problem.  Standards  for  testing  fire  and  smoke  dampers  were                                                              
instituted in  the early  1900s, and then  in 2007,  the standards                                                              
were introduced into the national fire code.                                                                                    
2:49:01 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG  moved  to  slide 43  and  stated  fire  dampers  and                                                              
butterfly   dampers  have   fusible   links.   In  contrast,   the                                                              
combination fire  and smoke damper has an electronic  fusible link                                                              
that connects  to the  motor. The  motor allows  the door  to open                                                              
and shut. It is  the same Honeywell model that had  a recall. Fire                                                              
dampers  became common  in the  1930s,  and smoke  dampers in  the                                                              
2:49:33 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  REINBOLD  stated  she passionately  disagrees  with  mask                                                              
mandates  because of  the bacteria  incubation  and hypoxia  mask-                                                              
wearing  causes,   especially  in   children.  She  said   she  is                                                              
concerned about  air quality for  children and would like  to know                                                              
more about the air quality in schools.                                                                                          
2:50:16 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  HUGHES stated  she agrees  that  technicians who  inspect                                                              
the  systems should  be  certified  and proficient.  However,  she                                                              
opined that  others who  work with or  around HVAC systems  should                                                              
also  be  trained so  that  the  system  is not  unknowingly  made                                                              
inoperable. She  asked if  he agreed that  others should  have the                                                              
2:50:49 PM                                                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG replied  that maintenance workers do  not perform fire                                                              
alarms or  sprinkler systems  tests. SB 169  is trying  to prevent                                                              
maintenance  workers from  being able  to perform  fire and  smoke                                                              
damper  inspections   because  they  are  part  of   a  building's                                                              
lifesaving   system.   A   third-party    contractor   should   do                                                              
maintenance  of  lifesaving  systems. Usually,  the  fire  marshal                                                              
receives a report  from the third-party contractor  saying testing                                                              
and  maintenance   have  been  performed.  The  fire   chief  then                                                              
inspects  the report.  He stated  that Mr. Boothby  and his  staff                                                              
are  authorities  having  jurisdiction   (AHJ),  so  they  can  be                                                              
inspectors without extra training.                                                                                              
2:51:48 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR   HUGHES   restated   her  question   and   asked   should                                                              
maintenance  people and  others who  work around  HVAC systems  be                                                              
given  awareness  training  so  that  the  dampers  are  not  made                                                              
MR. SCHURIG replied  yes, and SB 169 will help  raise awareness of                                                              
the  problems.  He  stated that  having  maintenance  test  safety                                                              
systems is a conflict of interest.                                                                                              
SENATOR  HUGHES  stated  she  was  not  suggesting  that  building                                                              
maintenance should  test safety systems  but should know  how they                                                              
2:53:00 PM                                                                                                                    
MR.  SCHURIG   stated  that   maintenance  workers   would  become                                                              
knowledgeable  by  enforcing  inspections   because  a  technician                                                              
typically interacts with maintenance during inspections.                                                                        
2:53:28 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON opened public testimony on SB 169.                                                                                 
2:53:38 PM                                                                                                                    
SCOTT  HAMMOND,  Research  Director,  National  Energy  Management                                                              
Institute  Committee (NEMIC),  Falls Church,  Virginia, stated  he                                                              
has  worked in  the  HVAC  industry since  1986.  He  serves as  a                                                              
technical  committee member  for  the International  Certification                                                              
Board  (ICB),   which  developed  and  maintained   certifications                                                              
accredited  by the  American National  Standards Institute  (ANSI)                                                              
for fire  and smoke damper technicians.  He stated that  with 47.5                                                              
percent  of  dampers  needing  repair,  SB  169  would  require  a                                                              
trained  workforce to  perform  periodic physical  inspection  and                                                              
maintenance, resulting in increased awareness.                                                                                  
2:55:02 PM                                                                                                                    
ELIZABETH  JOHNSTON,  Board  Chair, Alaska  Board  of  Architects,                                                              
Engineers, and  Land Surveyors  (AELS), Fairbanks, Alaska,  stated                                                              
she  is a  professional electrical  engineer  and fire  protection                                                              
engineer. She  serves on  the Alaska  State Board of  Registration                                                              
for Architects,  Engineers,  and Land Surveyors.  She stated  that                                                              
the  Alaska State  Fire Marshall  adopted  the International  Fire                                                              
Code, which  says in section 909  that dampers shall be  tested in                                                              
the installed  condition. SB 169  is duplicative in that  it tells                                                              
the Department of  Public Safety to adopt a code  that has already                                                              
been adopted.  Alaska has  not yet  adopted NFPA  80, 92,  or 105,                                                              
which  are referenced  in  SB 169.  She said  the  codes speak  to                                                              
damper  inspections and  should  be included  in the  legislation.                                                              
She   said  while   SB  169   sets  a   standard  for   performing                                                              
inspections,  it  limits  approved  certification  to ANSI  and  a                                                              
state or municipality's  Fire and Life Safety  Inspection Program.                                                              
It  is  concerning that  SB  169  does  not allow  qualified  fire                                                              
protection,  mechanical,  control,  or electrical  engineers,  who                                                              
are  qualified  by  their  training  and  experience,  to  do  the                                                              
inspections. She stated  her belief that SB 169  should be amended                                                              
to  allow the  work to  be  done by  engineers  without having  to                                                              
obtain additional ANSI certification.                                                                                           
2:57:08 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON closed public testimony on SB 169.                                                                                 
2:57:24 PM                                                                                                                    
SENATOR  COSTELLO   asked  Mr.   Schurig  to  comment   on  public                                                              
testimony regarding certification standards.                                                                                    
MR. SCHURIG  stated that fire  safety engineers should  be allowed                                                              
to inspect  fire and smoke  damper systems  as he was  mistaken in                                                              
thinking they  were ANSI  certified. He would  be willing  to have                                                              
SB 169 amended.                                                                                                                 
2:58:04 PM                                                                                                                    
At ease.                                                                                                                        
2:58:30 PM                                                                                                                    
CHAIR WILSON reconvened the meeting and held SB 169 in                                                                          

Document Name Date/Time Subjects
SB 169 PowerPoint Presentation.pdf SHSS 2/22/2022 1:30:00 PM
SHSS 2/24/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 169
SB 169 Sectional Analysis version A.pdf SHSS 2/22/2022 1:30:00 PM
SHSS 2/24/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 169
SB 169 Sponsor Statement.pdf SHSS 2/22/2022 1:30:00 PM
SHSS 2/24/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 169
SB 169 Supporting Document - Trifold Brochure.pdf SHSS 2/22/2022 1:30:00 PM
SHSS 2/24/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 169
Kevin Fimon Resume 2021 AMHTA_Redacted.pdf SHSS 2/22/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 169 FN DPS.pdf SHSS 2/22/2022 1:30:00 PM
SHSS 2/24/2022 1:30:00 PM
SB 169