State Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) today introduced a bill aimed at keeping renters safe in the event of a fire. The legislation requires a separate means of egress for all dwelling areas above the second story of a residential rental property. The bill is companion to legislation introduced in the Ohio Senate by State Senator Bill Beagle (R-Tipp City).


The bill is a response to several tragedies that have occurred in off campus housing at colleges in the state of Ohio, including the University of Dayton and the University of Cincinnati. Students living in the buildings became trapped in upper level rooms during fire emergencies and lost their lives due to not having a viable escape route.


“After experiencing this kind of tragedy first-hand during my tenure as executive director of facilities at the University of Dayton, I became very close to this issue,” said Perales. “Seeing a young man lose his life in one of my buildings really stuck with me, especially when something as simple as arope ladder could have saved him.  That’s why this legislation is so important.  It will be relatively inexpensive and easy to implement, but it will have a huge impact.”


The bill would require adoption of rules in the state fire code requiring a simple secondary means of egress. Anything from a rope ladder to a permanent fixed exterior egress would qualify as a “secondary means of egress” and could save lives.


“When a fire breaks out, you have moments to make a decision on how you will escape,” said Beagle. “Every second matters and ensuring you have an escape plan in place is critical. As colleges and universities resume classes this week, it’s crucial that we raise awareness about the dangers of not having a second means of egress in rental homes commonly found in off campus university housing.”

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State Representative Rick Perales (R-Beavercreek) recently was sworn in as a member of the Ohio House of Representatives for the 130th General Assembly. He represents the 73rd Ohio House District, which includes Bath Township, Beavercreek, Bellbrook, Centerville, Clifton Village, Fairborn, Huber Heights, Kettering, Miami Township, Sugarcreek Township and Yellow Springs Village.