The National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) committee considering revisions to the NFPA’s Life Safety Code (2012 edition) has accepted all 18 the proposed changes to standards for existing assisted living buildings that NCAL submitted in July. AHCA/NCAL life safety consultant Thomas Jaeger submitted the proposed changes in response to growing concern among fire safety officials and other experts that greater numbers of assisted living residents now cannot evacuate without assistance, given the growth of dementia units and higher disability levels in some communities as residents age in place.
While ensuring a high level of safety for residents, the proposed changes would reduce the monetary impact on an existing facility whose evacuation capability classification goes from slow to impractical. The changes would affect existing, large (more than 16 residents) facilities and impact states and local government entities that reference the Life Safety Code in their licensure requirements or base their fire safety requirements on the Life Safety Code. A description of the proposed changes can be found at: http://www.ahcancal.org/advocacy/Letters/ProposedChangesNFPALifeSafetyCode.pdf.
NCAL is also developing proposals for new construction to submit to the International Code Council committee updating the International Building Code. One of NCAL’s major objectives is to bring the two major sets of life safety standards applying to assisted living – the Life Safety Code and International Building Code – into harmony with one another.