New Fire Legislation

Grand Valley State University Implementation Plan

Postsecondary Educational Institutions Instructional Staff Training, Fire Drills & Reporting Requirements

Beginning with the 2015 calendar year, new State of Michigan legislation (Fire Prevention Code, PA 207 of 1941, Public Act 481 of 2014 added MCL 29.19a. Section 19a(2)(a-c) and (3) as amended, effective March 31, 2015) requires all Michigan universities to annually conduct fire drills in dormitories and to annually certify they have trained all instructional staff in fire evacuation procedures. 

Failure to comply may result in a civil fine of $500.00 for a first violation and a civil fine of $1,000.00 for a second violation. The bureau may also require a mandatory inspection of GVSU’s facilities and the preparation plan of action report by the bureau or its designee.

The new law requires all of our instructional staff to be trained, not just new hires. The basic annual training should include ensuring evacuation during drills or real emergencies, and identification of primary and secondary egress routes; but other than that, the Bureau of Fire Services does not mandate the actual mode of delivery for the training.  The mode of delivery for training is to be determined by each postsecondary educational institution based on their specific needs. All documentation and maintenance of records are the responsibility of the institution and the institution must make records available to BFS on request. The BFS requires a statement certifying that the institution is statutorily compliant.    

The new law also calls for a postsecondary educational institution to conduct fire drills in each postsecondary educational institution dormitory as follows:

  • One fire drill in the fall semester, held within 21 days after the start of classes in that semester.
  • One fire drill in the spring semester.
  • At least one of the fire drills described above must be conducted while school is in session and between sunset and sunrise. 
  • One fire drill in the summer semester, if the dormitory is occupied by students during that semester.

“Dormitory” under the statue is defined as not having individual cooking facilities for its residents.  Those housing units with individual cooking facilities are considered apartments and are not included in the new legislation.

A group comprised of Jon Jellema, Associate Vice President of Academic Affairs; Sergeant William O'Donnell, Emergency Manager; David Cox, Safety Manager, Facilities Services;  Nathan Veeneman, Facilities Manager, Housing and Residence Life;  Kathleen VanderVeen, Assistant Vice President for Inclusion Planning and Director of Disability Support Resources and Mick Doxey, Assistant Vice President for Risk Management have met through the summer to develop the plan for complying with the new legislation.

Proposed Plan

Instructional Staff Training

  • A brief, 6-slide PowerPoint (see attached), Instructional Staff Emergency Procedures has been developed and will be distributed via email to all faculty prior to the beginning of the Fall semester.  
    In addition, the presentation will be housed on the GVSU Emergency website for anyone to view.
  • We will request that faculty add the following brief statement to the class syllabus:  "Fire: Immediately proceed to the nearest exit during a fire alarm. Do not use the elevators."

Fire Drills

  • Housing will conduct drills in compliance with the new law. Fall semester within the first 21 days and during hours between sunrise and sunset.  Winter semester drills will be conducted during hours between sunset and sunrise (evening). Summer semester drills will be conducted only in those dormitories occupied by students during that semester.


  • According to the new law, a postsecondary educational institution shall submit to the bureau, on form BFS-48, College/Dormitory Fire Safety Drill Requirement, the drill record, instructional staff training record and the statement certifying that the institution has complied with all the requirements and emailed to postsecondary@michigan.gov.
  • Housing will report the details of such drills to the Safety Manager and Emergency Manager.  The Emergency Manager will complete the appropriate reporting form (BFS – 48) for the State with the fire drill information and complete the instructional training section.
  • The BFS-48 will be forwarded to the Vice President for University Relations for signature and transmittal to the State.
  • Due date for reporting is on or before January 10 of each year beginning in 2016.

Page last modified August 26, 2016