Congressman proposes national nursing home sprinkler bill

Thursday, September 16, 2004

September 16, 2004

HARTFORD, Conn. - U.S. Congressman John B. Larson has proposed legislation that would require all nursing homes throughout the United States that accept Medicare or Medicaid payments to install fire sprinklers within five years of the measure passing.
The Nursing Home Fire Safety Act has been influenced by fatal nursing home fires in areas of the country that include Connecticut and Tennessee.
Last year, the Greenwood Health Center in Hartford suffered the loss of 16 residents as a result of fire as did a nursing home in Nashville, Tenn., where 15 died.
The incidents prompted government officials within those two states to separately introduce and successfully pass legislation that requires sprinkler systems at all nursing homes. On a similar note, officials in Alabama adopted a rule to require fire sprinklers within all nursing care facilities within the state as a preventative measure.
“How many more lives do we have to lose before people get the message?,” asked John Viniello, president of the National Fire Sprinkler Association, which supports the measure. “If the states are not going to do something to protect the elderly, then the federal government should.”
For more on this story see the October issue of Security Systems News.