N.J. Now Requires Sprinklers in All Nursing Homes

TRENTON, N.J. – New Jersey has enacted new building codes that require all nursing homes to be retrofitted with automatic sprinklers, according to a newspaper report.

Nursing home owners will have three years from Jan. 2 to bring their facilities into compliance, The Record reported.

The newly adopted regulation amends the retrofit requirements of the state’s Uniform Fire Code, which previously had allowed nursing homes constructed of noncombustible materials to be exempt from the sprinkler system requirement, the report said. However, these types of structures still threaten the risk of fatal fire because of flammable building contents.

An examination by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) has shown that nursing home fire-related fatalities can be reduced by more than 80 percent when an automatic sprinkler system is installed.

A 2004 report on nursing home safety by the federal Government Accounting Office (GAO) concluded that sprinklers are considered to be the single most effective fire protection component and that there has never been a multiple-death fire in a nursing home fully outfitted with sprinklers, the newspaper reported.

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