LOCAL aged care homes have delayed the installation of fire sprinklers for up to three years.
Legislation was introduced in January making sprinklers mandatory following a fire at a Quakers Hill nursing home which claimed the lives of 11 elderly residents in 2011.
Bupa Griffith, Cypress View Lodge in Coleambally and Leeton Hospital Aged Care Unit all requested extensions until March 2016 to retrofit the life-saving upgrades.
While the delays were legal, a spokeswoman from the Combined Pensioners and Superannuants Association of NSW (CPSA) said lives were being put at risk.
“As the residents are frail-aged and most would not be able to evacuate easily themselves, if at all, their lives are at risk,” senior policy advisor for CPSA Amelia Christie said.
“We would like to see aged care providers acting on this as quickly as possible so that we can avoid another tragedy like what occurred at Quakers Hill.”
The facilities that requested extra time were required to display signs both at the premises and online to warn residents but according to Ms Christie there was no mention of the matter on the federal government’s myagedcare website.
“As far as I am aware there is no requirement for how large or prominent the
signs need to be so homes could easily have a sign that is not easily visible for families, residents and prospective residents,” she said.
“The federal government launched its myagedcare website recently which assists people in accessing information about the homes in their area and support available.
“I just searched a few homes to see if they specified whether a home has a sprinkler system or not and that detail wasn’t there.”
The Area News asked Bupa a range of questions about why they had requested extra time to install a sprinkler system at their Griffith facility and the head of communications Kathy Scott sent a one-line written reply.
“Bupa complies at all times with fire safety standards and legislation,” she said.