Quakers Hill Nursing Home Fire: Sprinkler Rollout Ongoing


WHEN Holy Family Services expanded its premises with a new 90-bed building in 2008, installing sprinklers in its existing 56-bed high care facility was a "no-brainer", chief executive Kevin Rocks said.

A year after the Quakers Hill nursing home fire four of nine Blacktown nursing homes still don't have sprinklers.

The four homes in Seven Hills, Blacktown and Doonside have more than 300 beds in total and Blacktown's Uniting Care Mullauna Village said it would install sprinklers as part of a refurbishment next year.

Mr Rocks said improving the safety of the most vulnerable - the elderly - at the Marayong home was an easy decision despite the cost of as much as $9000 a bed.

"You've just got to have it," he said.

"It should have been done a long time ago (made mandatory)."

The NSW government made sprinklers mandatory in more than 600 NSW homes, 24,000 beds, in August and has given homes until 2017 to develop a sprinkler safety plan. Sprinklers were previously only mandatory in homes built after 2002.

Fire and NSW Deputy Commissioner Jim Smith, who helped co-ordinate the rescue operation at the Quakers Hill home, said a test of two rooms modelled on those in the nursing home that clearly demonstrated sprinklers stop fires spreading, was too compelling to ignore.

Learn more about assisted living fire sprinkler requirements here.

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