Newsroom > DHHS News Release

September 17, 2012
Marla Augustine, Communications and Legislative Services, (402) 471-4047 or
New Smoking Area to be Established on Grand Island Veterans’ Home Campus
Lincoln—The Division of Veterans’ Homes in the Nebraska Department of Health and Human Services is announcing plans to establish a new shelter for those members at the Grand Island Veterans’ Home who smoke.  Two older, less accessible shelters will be removed.
“We want to have a pleasant and safe area for smoking members on the grounds of the Veterans’ Home,” said Director John Hilgert.
A recent survey by the U.S. Department of Veterans Affairs cited GIVH for a member on oxygen being too close to members who were smoking.  Establishing the new shelter is a response to correct the deficiency and to ensure members’ safety.
“Our smoking policy complies with state and federal requirements.  However, VA surveyors observed a member with an oxygen tank close to two members who were smoking,” said Alex Willford, director of the Veterans’ Home.  “Nothing happened during this incident, but it was a concern because oxygen is potentially flammable.”
The shelter will be approximately 80 percent enclosed, with two large entrances to accommodate wheelchairs. Plants and other landscaping will surround it.  A walkway will lead to it. Signage on the walkway and elsewhere will warn members with oxygen not to smoke or be around other members who are smoking.  The new designated area will be available soon.
In accordance with state and federal laws, members are not allowed to smoke inside the facility.
New smoking shelters will also be established at the other three veterans’ homes in the state in Norfolk, Scottsbluff and Bellevue.
NOTE: If you would like to see the new site for the smoking shelter, call Marla Augustine at (402) 471-4047.