Thursday, October 6, 2011

WTF !! In Pa. Group Homes, Personel Care Homes and Day Care Centers are not inspected for LIFE SAFETY ISSUES By State inspectors Who Does?

Coming to a national newspaper some day soon
22 killed 17 injured in Pa.Personnel Care Home Fire, 7 Toddlers severely injured in Pa. Day care Explosion and collapse. It could happen right now as you read this article.
How could this Happen ? it is very simple.
I found out the answer today while working at a Personnel Care Home when two state inspectors where there today. They walked around checked couple things and then sat down and all day went over paperwork and records. They never checked on Life safety or fire issues.
When I Identified myself and asked why they had not done a fire or life safety inspection I was told.We are no longer responsible for it. it is the local Community fire Marshal / Official or Fire Dept who now does the annual inspections for us and signs off on it.
OK Well is there a certification or check list etc. that is to be followed no that's up to the local people to do it. Its out of our hands that goes for Group homes and day cares as well.
So I called one of local fire marshals I know and mention it to him and yes he says last few years he has been getting requests to do this only problem in his large community there are 117 licensed locations which means he can not get to each one and has to have local volunteer fire depts do it. which most depts do not even know its now there responsibility let alone have a clue as to what code to follow let alone all the liability they are taking on if they do a bad inspection.
While some depts have people very capable of doing most do not and when it comes to areas with volunteers many have to work during the day so they get all the old retired guys to go around and do it less they lose a days work.
Nothing wrong with that if they know what there doing but how many really do it all depends. Especially when it comes to knowing what is or what is not correct and proper fire door exiting hardware etc . etc. or if the fire alarm is even working properly because all too often they are relying on the word of the local fire alarm tech that the inspection was done properly and that it is actually being monitored and it is a well known fact just how badly fire alarms are installed and maintained For that matter if a fire dept does not keep track of what is going on in there community whats to keep a licensed facility from just filling out the paper work and use a fire company's name and say it was done by them . You better believe it is being done.
So what we have is one big mess and the door open to a major catastrophe at any point in time . It gets even better Pa. passed the state wide Uniform Building Code several years ago which is suppose to follow the ICC IBC and IFC Codes The International Building Code and International Fire Code. how ever they never passed the IFC fire code now what . Well there answer is use it as a guideline where it is referenced in IBC code. Great so we have nothing to fall back on or really enforce other than NFPA codes.and some areas there are no codes to reference to.
So annual inspections are now all based on paper work which has been signed off by a local firefighter who may or may not be properly trained following a code he is not sure to follow and taking the word of sprinkler and fire alarm technicians that everything is fine with the life safety systems which none of the techs need licensing or certification to boot. But as long as its all signed everything is fine with the state.
No wonder insurance carriers are so gun shy to set up shop in Pa. and why our premiums are so high in this state.
Every night I go to bed wondering what will the news be like because I know that a major catastrophe is coming soon in this state and elderly or at risk youth or the young will be dead from it and no one gives a good damn about it. and Pa. will continue to deserve its Hooterville ,wild west reputation .
Pray with me the headlines above will never be fact in Pa. or any state.

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