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Should a Nursing Home have a Backup Generator?

Trusting the care of a loved one to a nursing home can mean a few different things, depending on the resident’s specific needs. For some residents, living in a nursing home simply means a place to feel safe and provided for when family members are not able to provide that level of care. For other residents, essential round-the-clock care is necessary to keep them healthy and nourished.

In the event of an emergency, a nursing home may lose power from the main grid, potentially leaving employees and residents without suitable lighting and, for some, essential life support systems. If such an event has happened at a nursing home in which a loved one resides, you may ask whether the facility was equipped with a backup generator to support basic power needs.

Federal Law

The answer to the question is that, yes, according to federal law nursing homes are required to have an emergency electrical power system. The system is in place to provide adequate ambient lighting, entrance and exit lighting; supply power to fire detection systems, alarms, and extinguishing systems.

Regarding life support systems, the law (42 CFR 483.70(b)) goes on to state:

“When life support systems are used, the facility must provide emergency electrical power with an emergency generator (as defined in NFPA 99, Health Care Facilities) that is located on the premises.”

There are other aspects of 42 CFR 483.70 which may also apply to a nursing home providing access and the use of systems and devices which are crucial in sustaining life and safety. If a nursing home does not comply with the law and carry out recommended inspections to ensure compliance, the facility may be in breach of the law as well as liable for injuries or deaths which occur as a result.

Nursing Home Negligence

If you or a loved one have suffered injury or harm during a power-cut it is vital to establish whether the nursing home is liable. An experienced accident lawyer can help you put the pieces together to determine the chain of events and the part that lack of lighting or life support played in any injuries incurred. The nursing home may even have a backup generator that kicked in during the outage; however, that does not necessarily mean it provides the necessary lighting and power required under the law.

If the nursing home or another entity responsible for installing and maintaining a backup generator failed in their duty, you may have a case for compensation. You can consult with an accident lawyer who specializes in the area of nursing home negligence to determine whether there is enough evidence to merit proceeding with a case against the nursing home or other responsible entities.

The Fry Law Firm can provide a free consultation wherein you can discuss the details of the event with a qualified legal professional. We hold all information in the strictest confidence and provide completely impartial advice to all potential clients. Call today if you would like to learn more about our services.

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