BROADCAST DATE : Mar 19, 2010

Burning Question

It's never easy to have to consider putting a loved one into a retirement or nursing home or a long-term care facility. However, once you've made that tough decision, you want to know that your parent, relative or friend is taken care of.

Yet, when it comes to fire safety, thousands of nursing and retirement homes are leaving our most vulnerable unprotected.

Sprinkler systems are required in all newly built nursing homes across Canada. But in most provinces and territories, many older nursing homes aren’t required to retroactively install them.

Firefighters agree that the installation of sprinklers in buildings often means the difference between life and death in a fire. Suffocation from smoke is typically what kills first in a fire, and sprinklers help to control smoke and provide more time for people to escape – time which is especially vital in nursing homes, since residents are not always easily mobile.

But despite multiple deaths related to fires in nursing homes without sprinklers, Erica Johnson reveals that many provinces have yet to sound the alarm for increased fire safety.