A view of the Senate Chambers from the 2010-2011 Senate Reorganization.

02 Oct: Vitale-Codey ‘Group Home Fire Safety Act’ Approved By Senate Health Panel

TRENTON – Legislation sponsored by Senators Joseph F. Vitale and Richard J. Codey that would protect vulnerable and often non-mobile residents living in group homes from injury or death caused by fire by requiring that any new group home have sprinkler and fire alarm systems installed was approved yesterday by the Senate Health, Human Services and Senior Citizens Committee.

“Group homes are often filled with residents who are immobile and unable to quickly evacuate without assistance in case of a fire,” said Senator Vitale, D-Middlesex, and Chairman of the Senate Health Committee. “This common-sense legislation will ensure that going forward group homes are equipped with sprinkler systems and fire alarms and that in turn, such systems and alarms may prevent the death or injury from fire of one of the state’s group homes’ residents.”

“If a fire erupts inside of a group home, it may be difficult to get all of the patients and residents safely evacuated before the blaze spreads, particularly considering mobility concerns of many of these residents,” said Senator Codey, D-Essex and Morris. “Sprinkler systems can help to contain the spread of a fire and with their installation, group homes will have more time to evacuate their residents.”