Late last night there was a Lawrenceville fire at an assisted living facility for seniors. Thankfully, no one was injured. However, they easily could have been. The fire allegedly broke out in one of the residents’ rooms when an electric lamp was overturned. According to the report, the bulb broke when the lamp hit the bed, and the mattress and bedding burst into flames.
This immediately raises questions not only about how securely the lamp was anchored, but also about the suitability of the bedding and mattress for an assisted living facility. After all, residents of personal care homes commonly have issues with mobility and other physical impairments. In this case, an “alert staff member” was able to put out the fire and quickly escort the residents to a safe area. But what if the staff member had not been alert…or even nearby?
Facilities charged with caring for the mobility-impaired often make a point of using flame-retardant bedding and mattresses to prevent such hazards. Also, bulbs that generate limited heat, such as compact fluorescent bulbs, are much more fire-safe than their traditional incandescent counterparts. These are just two simple precautions a conscientious personal care home will take to ensure the safety of its residents.
Fire injury precautions are widely considered best practices for facilities dedicated to serving the elderly, and personal care homes are expected to have “fire resistant drapery and bedding,” as outlined in Georgia’s State Minimum Fire Safety Standards, according to the Rules and Regulations of the Fire Safety Commisioner.