Florida bill could change fire safety codes for assisted living communities

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Editor's note: Gov. Rick Scott approved this bill March 24.

A bill under consideration in the Florida House of Representatives is designed to align fire safety equipment requirements of some assisted living communities in the state with the standards that apply to buildings such as nursing homes hospitals and daycare facilities. Currently, assisted living communities follow fire safety codes that are more than 20 years old.

H.B. 965, introduced by state Rep. Shawn Harrison, would apply to new facilities and to those making major renovations. Older facilities could request to be held to the newer standards.

Also under the bill, all licensed facilities would have to have an annual fire inspection conducted by the local fire marshal or authority having jurisdiction, prepare and annually update a comprehensive emergency management plan, and conduct at least two resident elopement prevention and response drills every year.

If passed, the legislation would be come effective July 1.

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