GAO Report Focuses on Nursing Home Fires

(July 20) -- A new report is uncovering weaknesses in Nevada's nursing homes. One of the main concerns is their ability to keep nursing home residents safe from fires.

The report by the U.S. Government Accountability Office ranks Nevada number five in the country when it comes to fire safety problems in nursing homes. Inspections showed that 93-percent of Nevada nursing homes have deficient fire safety systems.

Eyewitness News visited one nursing home that says it meets every state standard. El Jen Nursing Home representatives say they have employee fire drills and use the most high tech equipment. They say there are fire extinguishers on the walls and smoke alarms in every room.

"It would be very difficult for a fire to get started here and for it to spread whatsoever because there's a lot of training that's gone on here and there's a lot of equipment here to fight fires," said Rick O'Halloran, El Jen maintenance supervisor.

The government report says most Nevada nursing homes don't have those safeguards in place. The report was in response to fatal nursing home fires in Connecticut and Tennessee. More than a dozen people died in each of those fires.


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