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Year after federal deadline, hundreds of nursing homes still don’t meet fire-safety rules

Almost 400 nursing homes across the country failed to meet a Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services deadline requiring the implementation of adequate sprinkler systems. This after an industry history of deadly fires. In total, up to 52,000 people could be at risk, according to the Minneapolis Star-Tribune.

“This is intolerable in this day and age,” Ben Lee, executive director of advocacy group Families for Better Care, told the Star-Tribune. “It’s not like they don’t have money to put these systems in. They have the money. They just choose not to do so.”

The Star-Tribune reported that 44 of the homes don’t have any sprinklers at all. The others feature systems that don’t meet safety regulations.

Fire prevention tools and structures are particularly important in nursing home facilities, where residents are often unable to hastily evacuate.

Thirty-one people were killed in nursing home fires in 2003, the year sprinkler systems were made required in newly built facilities. Sixteen people were killed in a fire at Greenwood Health Center in Hartford, Connecticut, and 15 were killed at a nursing home in Nashville, Tennessee. Neither facility had automatic sprinkler systems at the time, reported the Star-Tribune.

The CMS required older buildings to install automatic sprinkler systems in 2008, giving the facilities until 2013 to do so, the Star-Tribune reported.

More than a year past the deadline, hundreds of facilities still fail to comply to the rule, putting thousands of lives in jeopardy.

The Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm represents clients in cases involving catastrophic injury caused by nursing homes and other care facilities that fail to provide proper care. If you believe your loved one has been harmed due neglect or abuse in a nursing home, take action and contact the Kosieradzki • Smith Law Firm online or call us toll-free at (877) 552-2873 to set up a no-cost, no-obligation consultation.