Indiana Considers Bill Requiring Fire Sprinklers in Nursing Homes


A bill that would require building-wide fire sprinklers in Indiana nursing homes within five years, HB 1315, is currently moving through the Indiana state legislature. For those nursing homes that do not have such a system in place by 2009, a comprehensive plan must be submitted to the state department of health that outlines the manner in which full sprinklers will be implemented by 2011, according to the proposal.

A nonpartisan, statewide senior advocacy group, United Senior Action (USA), told the Fort Wayne News-Sentinel that full sprinklers, as required by the bill, fall short of what is needed to fully protect Indiana nursing homes from catastrophic fires, like the one that happened in Michigan last December where two people were killed and 70 injured.

The group maintains that the bill should also promote the use of hard-wire smoke detectors in patient rooms instead of the battery-operated smoke alarms required by a pending federal law that will become effective in May.

Robyn Grant, USA’s long-term care policy director, intends to create community support for a Senate amendment to the bill that will require wired smoke detectors to be included with the full sprinkler provision. She wants to see wired smoke detectors connected to the nurses’ station in every Indiana nursing home.

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