Earlier this month in Damariscotta, Maine, a fire in a nursing home resulted in 22 residents needing to be evacuated for their safety. According to a report by the Bangor Daily News, the fire was started by a small electrical fire that began in the attic space. Luckily, the fire was contained to a six-by-six-foot diameter.
Evidently, the fire was put out mostly with the use of a chemical compound used to help put out fires. In addition, one bucket of water was also used to help quash the flames. The nursing home’s sprinkler system was triggered and kept the fire under control until emergency crews arrived with more sophisticated equipment. Despite the relatively small size of the fire, an entire wing of the nursing home was evacuated. In total, 22 residents were forced to evacuate as a result of the fire.
Sprinkler Systems Crucial for Fire Safety
While this was a relatively small fire that was easily contained, that may not have been the case if the nursing home’s sprinkler system did not keep the fire under control until the fire department arrived. Despite the known and undisputed effectiveness of sprinkler systems, a recent report by Kaiser Health News found that many nursing homes still lack these systems.
According to the Kaiser Health News report, 385 nursing home facilities nationwide do not meet current standards when it comes to their sprinkler systems. In total, these nursing homes house approximately 50,000 of the nation’s most vulnerable people. This may mean that non-compliant nursing homes do not have a sprinkler system at all or have a system that is outdated, is out of repair, or doesn’t work properly.
Nursing Homes’ Obligation To Be Safe
Nursing homes are charged with caring for some of our most vulnerable citizens. In fact, they do so in most cases for profit. As such, they are obligated to maintain a safe environment for all residents. This includes taking proper precautions in case of a fire.
Nursing homes, like hospitals, should take extra precautions because residents often have limited mobility and evacuation may take longer than in other types of buildings. However, there are still tens of thousands of nursing home patients living in facilities that are not up to current fire safety standards.
Has Your Loved One Been Injured in a Nursing Home Fire?
If your loved one has recently been injured in a nursing home fire, he or she may be entitled to monetary compensation for his or her injuries. If your loved one died as a result, you may be able to bring a wrongful death action against the nursing home. Whether or not the home had fire sprinklers installed, you should contact a dedicated nursing home attorney who is familiar with nursing home fires and can help you determine the strength of your potential case. To learn more, call 410-654-3600 to schedule a free initial consultation with a dedicated Maryland nursing home attorney.
See More Blog Posts:
New York Nursing Home Questioned After Another Patient Death, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published August 18, 2014.
Nurse Arrested for the Abuse of a 92-Year-Old Nursing Home Patient, Maryland Nursing Home Lawyer Blog, published September 5, 2014.