Long-Term Care Facilities to Install Sprinkler Systems

WASHINGTON – Long-term care facilities for the first time have to protect their residents by installing sprinkler systems throughout their buildings in order to continue to serve Medicare and Medicaid beneficiaries under a new regulation issued by the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Facilities will have a five-year phase-in period to be fully compliant with the new rule.

About three million elderly and disabled persons reside in the nation’s 16,000 nursing homes, all of which must have comprehensive sprinkler systems in place by 2013. To date, there has never been a multiple-fatality fire in a facility with a sprinkler system that meets the requirements of the new rule, according to the CMS.

“CMS is taking further action to protect the lives of our beneficiaries through a more comprehensive and effective approach to fire safety,” says Kerry Weems, acting administrator of CMS. “In the past, certain older facilities were exempt from having an automatic sprinkler system, but we now will hold all 16,000 nursing homes in the nation to this standard.”

As an interim step taken prior to publication of the sprinkler regulation, CMS in March 2005 began requiring all long-term care facilities that did not have sprinklers to install battery-operated smoke alarms in all patient rooms and public areas. Although fatal fires in nursing homes are rare, in a July 2004 report, the Government Accountability Office (GAO) estimated automatic sprinkler systems can decrease the chance of fire-related deaths by 82 percent.

CMS follows the fire safety guidelines developed by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) and all new sprinkler systems installed as a result of the new rule will have to meet NFPA technical specifications. To be in compliance with the sprinkler regulation, nursing homes must have sprinkler coverage in all areas such as resident rooms; kitchen, dining and activity areas; corridors; attics; canopies; overhangs; offices; waiting areas; closets; storage areas for trash and linen; and maintenance areas.

Courtesy of Security Sales and Integration.

If you appreciated this article and want to receive more valuable industry content like this, click here to sign up for our FREE digital newsletters!

Leading in Turbulent Times: Effective Campus Public Safety Leadership for the 21st Century

This new webcast will discuss how campus public safety leaders can effectively incorporate Clery Act, Title IX, customer service, “helicopter” parents, emergency notification, town-gown relationships, brand management, Greek Life, student recruitment, faculty, and more into their roles and develop the necessary skills to successfully lead their departments. Register today to attend this free webcast!

Get Our Newsletters
Campus Safety Conference promo