Many Nursing Homes do not have Adequate Sprinkler Systems

According to a New York Times article, a significant number of nursing homes do not have sufficient sprinkler systems.


Our Spartanburg nursing home neglect attorneys know how important nursing home care is to the public in the Carolinas and are devoted to holding nursing homes accountable for their actions.

According to a New York Times Report, until very recently (last month), federal laws did not necessitate all nursing homes have automatic sprinkler systems.

Sprinklers are the most effective fire prevention method available but were typically only required in new nursing homes, built since 2000.

For older nursing homes there was no regulation which required automatic sprinklers until 2008 but at that time the industry was allowed five years to comply.

Even after the five year deadline passed last month, reportedly there were still over 1,100 nursing homes that did not have sprinkler systems or only had systems which were considered “partial.”

Many of the nursing homes do have some sprinkler systems, in places such as kitchens and laundries. In some cases homes may have sprinkler systems in residents rooms but there are many locations without sprinklers in hallways.

It is not entirely clear what the word partial means in this area but it is clear that a fire in a nursing home is a frightening prospect.

Many of the nursing home residents may be disabled, frail, and sick. These individuals would likely have great difficult escaping flames and smoke. Many residents may not even be able to get out of bed without the assistance of staff members.

It is also important to note that may residents also have cognitive disabilities which means they would be unable to respond to staff directions or the sound of an alarm appropriately.

This problem is compounded by the fact that many nursing homes are woefully understaffed and would have a great deal of difficulty removing residents from the facility (particularly at night when staffing is at its lowest levels).

This startling issue made its way to the forefront in 2003 when two separate incidents claimed the lives of a total of 31 nursing home residents. These disasters triggered attention to the problem and led to sprinkler system requirements in a few states.

Surprisingly, federal agencies did not move on this issue until a full five years after the tragic incidents and then allowed five additional years for nursing homes to comply.

As previously mentioned, there are still over 1,000 nursing homes out of compliance with the new regulations. These facilities will be given 9 to 15 months before another inspection occurs. If they are still delinquent, federal agencies are expected to apply greater pressure to force the issue.

If you or someone you love has suffered an injury in a nursing home, contact Lee Law Offices, P.A. for a free and confidential consultation with our North and South Carolina attorneys. Call 1-800-887-1965.

More Blog Posts:

Carolina Pool Safety: Signs of Drowning May Not Be What You Think, North Carolina Personal Injury Lawyers Blog, June 11, 2013

North Carolina Teen Killed Crossing Roadway, October 27, 2013, Spartanburg Injury Lawyer Blog.

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