Safety Advocate Applauds Government Decision Mandating Installation of Smoke Detectors in Nursing Homes; Calls for Further Action to Expand Protection

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The nation’s older nursing homes were primed for fire disaster that finally happened—tragically twice last year—when fires caused deaths of elderly residents at homes in Tennessee and Connecticut. The reason for the disaster—the homes were exempt from having to install sprinkler or fire alarm systems. That’s why a leading seniors’ safety advocate says the decision of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to mandate the installation of smoke detectors in nursing homes lacking sprinkler systems or hard-wired detection systems can help save the lives of nursing home clients, while providing increased peace of mind for caregiver families.

The nation’s older nursing homes were primed for fire disaster that finally happened—tragically twice last year—when fires caused deaths of elderly residents at homes in Tennessee and Connecticut. The reason for the disaster—the homes were exempt from having to install sprinkler or fire alarm systems.

That’s why a leading seniors’ safety advocate says the decision of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) to mandate the installation of smoke detectors in nursing homes lacking sprinkler systems or hard-wired detection systems can help save the lives of nursing home clients, while providing increased peace of mind for caregiver families.

Richard Blackwell is the inventor or an improved and better smoke detector has attracted national attention for its innovative use of sending an alert to a wider area than traditional smoke detectors.

Blackwell is also CEO of http://www.SafeHome.net, which offers the NeighborLink ™ Home and Personal Security and Smoke Detector and a well-known advocate for seniors’ safety. He hails the CMS decision as an important breakthrough in providing necessary fire protection to nursing home clients who otherwise would be vulnerable to injury or even loss of life without the detectors.

The NeighborLink ™ smoke detector offers additional capabilities, not present in other types of smoke detectors that can enhance the device’s life-protecting capabilities, Blackwell says.

“Unlike traditional smoke detectors, which have an alarm only in the area where a fire is occurring, the NeighborLink ™ improved detector incorporates a ‘network’ of alerts within a 200 feet radius,” he explains. “This means that a nursing home may effectively arm an entire facility at a cost much less than the expense and logistical challenges of complex installation of security systems, while retaining all the benefits of a ‘network’ system.

“This is especially important since many times nursing home patients are not in their rooms, meaning that if an alarm were to go off, it might not be heard until it was too late.”

Blackwell points out that the NeighborLink ™ system can be set up to alert the resident where the fire occurs as well as other rooms within the nursing home and staff members at their work sites.

Blackwell’s http://www.SafeHome.net site is gaining recognition for its one-stop safety and security products for seniors and others. He has gained a national reputation for his leadership in seeking a National Seniors’ Safety month in November to coincide with National Family Caregivers Month. And while applauding the CMS decision, he notes that while the CMS ruling is expected to have its biggest impact on the approximately 4,000 older nursing homes across the country, but more needs to be done.

While newer homes are required by law to have sprinkler systems, Blackwell urges that CMS examine the benefit of extending the mandate to them as well.

“The most important consideration has to be the safety of the elderly residents and staff of the nursing homes,” Blackwell says. “That requires an efficient early warning system such as the NeighborLink ™ smoke detector with its innovative and cost-effective alert features. A sprinkler system can help save a facility, but the saving of lives requires quick action, likely evacuation, made possible only by early alerts.”

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Daniel Hines