N.J. to sprinkler nursing homes

Doesn't want to wait for feds to act, sets three year deadline
SSN Staff  - 
Thursday, February 1, 2007

TRENTON, N.J.-- Nursing home owners in New Jersey will have three years from January to install a sprinkler system as the result of a new rule, announced Jan. 3 by the New Jersey Department of Community Affairs.
This rule supercedes a previous code that excluded nursing homes constructed of noncombustible materials from sprinkler requirements.
"A couple of years ago there were fatal fires in Hartford, Conn., and Nashville, Tenn., and those homes were constructed out of noncombustible materials," noted Chris Donnelly, DCA public information officer. "These fires brought new attention to this problem and we realized that we have to be proactive."
This ruling, which is final and does not need legislative or other approval, also follows an October federal government regulation proposal from the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that would require nursing homes to install sprinkler systems if they wish to continue to serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries (see "Feds to require sprinklers in nursing homes" in the December 2006 issue of Security Systems News).
That regulation, Donnelly noted, is still in the review process: "We wanted to be ahead of the game."
The N.J. rule will affect approximately 68 nursing homes in the state.
At this point there is no funding available to help those nursing homes comply with the requirement. However, not complying after the three-year grace period will result in a fine of "up to $1,000 per day."