Other special requirements for assisted living facilities
Residents living in assisted living communities may require additional assistance when walking or moving around. These individuals may also have medical needs that restrict them to a certain area.
Per the rules outlined by the DCH, if the HFD has reason to believe, “based on the number of residents requiring assisted self-preservation and staffing patterns, that an assisted living community may not be able to evacuate all of the residents to a designated point of safety within an established period of time as determined by the Office of the Safety Fire Commissioner, the Department may either require the assisted living community to conduct an immediate fire safety drill or make a referral for a new compliance determination to the Office of the State Fire Commissioner.”
“Assisted self-preservation” is the capacity of a resident to be evacuated from an assisted living community to a designated point of safety and within an established period of time as determined by the Office of Fire Safety Commissioner. Assisted self-preservation is a function of: (A) the condition of the individual, (B) the assistance that is available to be provided to the individual by the staff of the assisted living community; and (C) the construction of the building in which the assisted living community is housed, including whether such building meets the state fire safety requirements applicable to an existing health care occupancy.
Assisted living communities must complete mandatory fire drills quarterly during an established period time, as determined by the Office of the Safety Fire Commissioner.
Taking into consideration the physical limitations of many individuals living in assisted living communities, HFR surveyors will not require an assisted living community to initiate an immediate fire drill without the surveyor having obtained specific verbal approval from HFRD program management and considering weather conditions where the community is located, the time of day/night, the number of staff available, the number of residents requiring assisted self-preservation and the number of residents who have private caregivers present.
NFPA provides free documents like the Emergency Evacuation Planning Guide for People with Disabilities for anyone looking for help in creating a safe and compliant fire drill procedures.