Consumer Voice Hall of Flame
CLICK HERE to View the List of Non-Sprinklered and Partially Sprinklered Nursing Homes
On March 13, 2008, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) published a final rule that required all nursing homes participating in the Medicare and/or Medicaid programs to install automatic sprinkler systems. CMS gave facilities FIVE years to meet this standard, stating that facilities must be compliant by no later than August 13, 2013.
Despite the ample amount of time facilities have been given to meet this basic fire safety requirement, nearly 1000 nursing homes across the country have either yet to install automatic sprinkler systems at all or only partially installed such systems. Residents that are in facilities that are not fully sprinklered are at risk of injury and death by fire.
Long-tem care consumers residing in nursing homes are at an especially high risk of dying in fires if facilities do not have adequate sprinkler systems installed. In the event of a fire, many nursing home residents would not be able to escape on their own due to their impaired mobility - leaving them vulnerable to death and injury. Furthermore, the complex electrical systems & kitchen and laundry operations in many nursing homes - as well as policies that may allow residents to smoke indoors - are significant fire hazards. It is absolutely essential for nursing homes to have adequate sprinkler systems in place to protect residents.
Devastating consequences can occur when nursing homes fail to meet basic fire safety standards. In February 2003, when a fire broke out at a nursing home in Hartford, CT, sixteen residents died because the facility did not have full sprinkler protection. Seven months later, fifteen residents died in a fire at a Nashville, TN nursing home that was unsprinklered. These instances are all the more heartbreaking because they were entirely preventable.
Until all nursing homes in our nation are fully sprinklered, we cannot be certain that another catastrophic fire such as the ones in Nashville and Hartford will not occur. Consumers residing in facilities that have not met automatic sprinkler requirements remain at high risk.
Consumer Voice has published a list of nursing homes that are currently non-sprinklered or partially sprinklered. Below are ways in which consumers and advocates can hold these facilities accountable and let the public know what homes are NOT providing residents with basic fire safety.
For citizen advocacy groups, ombudsman programs and individual advocates
· Publish the list on your website
· Print the list in your newsletter
· Email the list to your network, friends, family
· Send the list to your local newspaper
· Give the list to potential nursing home residents and their families
For future nursing home residents and their families
· Avoid homes on the list if possible
· If you need to consider one of these homes, ask the administration or staff these three questions:
o Why aren’t you fully sprinklered since you’ve had 5 years to prepare?
o When WILL you be fully sprinklered?
o What are you doing to protect residents until you’re fully sprinklered?
For current nursing home residents and their families
· Ask the three questions above.