The Florida Assisted Living Facilities Act requires the State Fire Marshall to use the 1994 edition of the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Life Safety Code to establish and enforce uniform fire safety standards for Florida licensed ALFs. The NFPA Life Safety Code is updated every three years, and the 1994 Code does not contain the safety improvements that have been developed and adopted into the more recent editions of the Code over the past 20 years. According to a statement by the Florida Assisted Living Federation of America, the use of an outdated fire safety code prevents Florida ALFs from utilizing modern advancements in fire safety and forces builders of ALFs in Florida to work around an outdated fire safety code.
Companion bills winding their way through the Florida House of Representatives (House Bill 965) and the Senate (Senate Bill 1164) in the current legislative session will repeal the requirement that ALFs comply with the outdated fire safety code. These bills amend the Act by replacing references to the 1994 edition of the Code with a reference to the then current edition of the Code. The bills provide an exemption from the new fire safety code requirements which exceed the 1994 edition of the Code for an ALF licensed prior to July 1, 2016. However, an ALF that undergoes building rehabilitation as defined by the Code must thereafter be in compliance with the then current fire safety code.