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Thursday, December 15, 2011

City hospitals ill-equipped to tackle threat of fire

In the name of fire safety measures, Doon Hospital possesses antiquated fire extinguishers and sand buckets, a legacy of the pre-Independence India

Doon Hospital.
Doon Hospital. A file photograph

Dehradun, December 15
The fire tragedy at AMRI Hospital (Kolkata) should act as a wake-up call for the authorities as not only the top three government hospitals, along with a majority of private nursing homes, in the capital lack adequate fire safety measures, but these have also been functioning without the mandatory fire clearance from the fire safety office.
In the name of the fire safety system, Doon Hospital possesses antiquated fire extinguishers and sand buckets, a legacy of the pre-independence India. “Both male and female hospitals do not possess no-objection certificates (NOCs) from the Fire Department. Same is the case in most of the private clinics and Mahant Indresh Hospital,” said Chandan Singh, Chief Fire Officer (Dehradun).
As the two hospitals were built in the pre-independence era, they do not conform to the National Building Code (NBC) that stipulates making provisions for fire safety and earthquake safety norms.
In abject disregard for fire safety norms, even Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Coronation Hospital that was built a few years ago too has also failed to get the NOC from the Fire Safety Office.
Only the Combined Medical Institute (CMI), a private hospital, has the NOC from the Fire Department that too is awaiting renewal.
According to the fire safety rules, there should be mandatory fire exits on every floor with wide stairways and fire-fighting equipment should be installed at every level and alternative exits together with ramps for the patients.
“Since the fire extinguishers have not been in use for several years now, nobody knows if these are functional,” said the staff member of Doon Hospital.
In the aftermath of the AMRI tragedy, fire officials say none of the hospitals or private clinics approached them for carrying out fire safety measures.
“We will be shortly holding a meeting with the hospital authorities so that they take up prior safety measures,” said Jena.
When the Tribune correspondent asked the CMS of Doon Hospital about the fire safety mechanism at the hospital, he said it had not been refurbished.
“I will soon hold talks with the fire safety officials to chalk out a strategy. I think our nurses and doctors are trained in following disaster management protocols but this tragedy has alerted us,” he said.
Courtesy: Dehradun Plus

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