Friday, February 19, 2010

Fire Safety Report For Group Homes Released

WELLS, N.Y. - A panel that convened after a fatal fire in Wells last year to address safety policies at the Office of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities has presented OMRDD with 16 recommendations for improving safety at group homes across the state.
The panel, made of officials from a variety of fire safety and developmental disability organizations, was created by OMRDD to evaluate its safety procedures and recommend changes. OMRDD has accepted all the changes, according to a news release from the office.
The recommendations focus on evacuation procedures and proper training for home staff. They include conducting more fire drills that are supervised, adopting more rigorous evacuation plans, improving staff training and increasing managerial oversight.
At the YAI National Institute for People with Disabilities in New York City, Senior Director of Education Perry Samowitz said he is supportive of the job OMRDD is doing to address fire-safety concerns. An official with YAI NIPD participated in the panel.
"They're doing it the right way. They've pulled together committees of people who are not just in the business of helping people with disabilities, but also of fire experts," he said. "They're making a strong effort to improve their system."

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