’Tis the season for decking the halls, sharing gifts and holiday greetings. Sadly, it’s also a time of year when senior living fires tend to be far more common.

Monday, a blaze broke out at the Benjamin Court Senior Living Facility near Indianapolis. Fortunately, no deaths resulted, although dozens of residents were displaced.

This follows a fire that took place in Pittsburgh. That blaze displaced two dozen residents. Things could have been worse, but a sprinkler system helped limit the damage.

So this is the part where I mention that every facility should have sprinklers, right? Sort of. This is where I say every senior living facility also should have sprinklers in their attics.

As a fire expert recently told me, a pitched roof – with its wooden trusses and other combustible components — is essentially a vertical lumber yard. That is, unless it is protected by sprinklers. The reality is that although many senior living buildings do have sprinklers in occupied areas, the attic often is left to fend for itself in a fire.

Anyone who has had the misfortune of dealing with a fire at their home or business will tell you it’s a fairly terrifying experience. Imagine how much more frightening it must be for people who have cognitive issues or limited mobility?

So if your building has sprinklers, good for you. But don’t forget about the attic. Yes, it can be expensive to put additional sprinklers up there. But not doing so might prove to be far more costly.

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