The state will hold the second of two public hearings today (Tuesday) on a proposal to adopt a new state fire code. Michael Coveyou of the Iowa Department of Public Safety says the state fire marshal wants to update the code that was first written in the 1950’s. While the rules have been updated regularly, there’s never been a comprehensive update and Coveyou says the rules sometimes don’t hold together well.

He says the new rules are based on the international fire code and don’t throw out everything that’s already being done. There are not huge changes in the way buildings would be designed and built, according to Coveyou.

“it’s not a revolutionary change in terms of the requirements,” he says. Coveyou says the change in regulations will probably increase the costs for some buildings and decrease the cost for others. There may be requirements added that increase the costs of construction, while there also may be new methods that are less costly. The rules cover all public and private buildings where people gather.

Some cities though, may not see any changes according to Coveyou. He says the proposed rules say a local fire code where you have local inspections can be substituted in most cases for the state code, so that there are not conflicting or overlapping requirements.

Tonight’s hearing is from 6:30 to 8:30 p.m. and will originate from the Altoona Public Library and be available over the Iowa Communications Network at sites in Spencer, Cedar Rapids, New London, Orient and Council Bluffs. For site locations, surf to and go to the State Fire Marshal’s page.

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Department of Public Safety