It would be prudent of the Department Of Wisconsin Veterans Affairs to retain possession of the door locks that are to be removed.
Not only are they good locks that meet all the requirements of panic door hardware, but they are very expensive as well.
The directive by Randall Nitschke, NHA Div. Administrator-Wisconsin Veterans Homes, has ordered the removal of all locks from members’ doors citing the following reasons:
• Staff members cannot fit keys into locks in case of smoke-filled hallways.
• Members will panic in case of loud fire alarms and require more attention, and delay caused by existing locks will not be tolerated.
In response, I can say as a man who is totally blind that I have no problem fitting my key into a keyed lock.
Yes, folks get excited when there is an emergency, but our door locks pose no threat to opening the door. In fact, they can be opened from the inside as quickly as any passage lock.
He also refers to a tragic fire in Virginia, wherein seven people died due to the inability of staff to unlock doors when halls were filled with smoke. The date of the tragedy or type of lock was not disclosed.
I appreciate Mr. Nitschke’s concern for the safety of the veteran members and staff here at King Veterans Home. His intentions are commendable and reassuring, but perhaps a little closer examination of conditions here could serve to spare members their loss of privacy and security, a condition very much desired when members are absent from the building.
No doubt, members, who are bedridden or unable to move on their own. should have lock free doors.
Finally, I wish to say that I am very happy to be a member here at King Veterans Home.
The care and services are far better than I had hoped for. The entire staff and administration are doing a wonderful job for which we are all grateful.