Friday, February 15, 2008

Personal Care Home Safety is Last Priority

Why would you want to operate a personal care home without a sprinkler system? In the last two days it's been widely publicized that 22 personal care homes are still without sprinkler systems even after being warned of this five years ago. Right now fingers are being point in various directions - at Gov. for not paying all up-front refitting costs and being paid back later, and at home care owners for simply not following through. One personal care home operator described his situation, saying that there were several impediments to getting sprinkler systems - the unavailability of contractors, and banks not providing loans even with government subsidies to help defray the costs.

Whatever the reasons five years ago, or more, this issue should have been dealt with. Where there is a will there's a way. To put the lives of senior citizens at risk in this way seems to be careless and irresponsible for all parties involved. Why wouldn't an operator not want to cut down on the risk of people getting burned, damaged property, and increased insurance rates?

Just now a personal care home operator on Here & Now was interviewed. She purchased a building two years ago that was approved by Government, despite it not being equipped with a sprinkler system. She made a valid point, that had this issue been brought to her attention at the time of purchase, she could have either negotiated a better price to reflect the renovations required, or decided not to buy. This particular situation has been unfair to the operator, and the building should not have been approved as a personal care home in the first place. Fire officials say that having a sprinkler system is a no-brainer.

So right now there are many seniors very worried about where they may have to live in the event the homes are closed. That's a stress that people who rely on others for their care, should not have.

Restaurants that have failed health inspections get passed, and now high risk care facilities get passed when they shouldn't. It's better late than never but both elected officials and business operators need to put peoples' health and safety first.
References: cbc, Telegram

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