Fire-safety bill mandating resident notification sails along

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The Tennessee House voted 93-0 in favor of a bill that wound force nursing home operators to tell prospective resident whether their facilities had fire-suppression sprinklers. The bill goes back to the Senate, which earlier passed a similar version of the bill, for full approval.

Tennessee was the site of a deadly fire that claimed 14 lives in September. The blaze occurred at a facility that did not have up to date fire sprinklers but was still legal under current code.

''It is a bill we have waited for ... a long time,'' said Sen. Thelma Harper of Nashville, whose district includes the fire site. ''The industry is for it. We are for it.''

In the aftermath of the fire, a state health department survey found that 24 of 343 nursing homes had no sprinkler systems at all, and another 53 had only partial systems.

Another proposed law would mandate sprinklers and smoke detectors in nursing homes. That bill is making its way through committee hearings but is meeting with some resistance from those who fear expensive fire-safety systems could put some smaller long-term care facilities out of business.