Hyderabad: Fire safety in Covid hospitals given a go-by

Fire safety in Covid hospitals given a go-by
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Fire safety in Covid hospitals given a go-by

Highlights

The State Government is focussing attention in increasing the number of beds in all hospitals and creating new Covid-19 and quarantine centres to overcome the pandemic situation but it is not focussing much attention on the safety aspect. Most of these hospitals are prone to fire accidents.

Hyderabad: The State Government is focussing attention in increasing the number of beds in all hospitals and creating new Covid-19 and quarantine centres to overcome the pandemic situation but it is not focussing much attention on the safety aspect. Most of these hospitals are prone to fire accidents.

Of the 3,000 hospitals in the State only 112 private hospitals have 'No Objection certificate' from Fire authorities. There is hardly any fire fighting equipment in most of these hospitals. The staff from doctors to paramedical staff to security persons are not trained to handle any such emergency. Some of the small private hospitals only have a couple of fire extinguishers. But the staff is not trained to use them in case of emergency.

According to Dr Vijayender of Telangana Doctors' Federation, "The government is at the moment focussing on making oxygen beds available to corona patients. If fire safety norms are implemented strictly, more than 70 per cent of the hospitals will have to be closed down." When asked about it, the Regional Fire Officer Varla Papaiah said that it was pandemic time and hospital services were required in large numbers.

The fire authorities cannot take any action now. Still they had asked the management of all hospitals to follow safety measures and were giving guidelines on evacuation of patients in case of any emergency situation.

The officials of the Fire department said that they had positioned fire tenders at dedicated Covid centres like Gandhi Hospital and Telangana Institute of Medical Sciences (TIMS). The department has also requested all the private hospitals to ensure fire safety. The Hans India learnt that all private hospitals have been told to check the condition of fire-fighting equipment available with them and train their staff in speedy evacuation procedures. But hospitals say that while they have necessary fire fighting equipment, it was difficult to expect the staff to take up evacuation work since they were already overworked. It was not possible for the Fire Services to hold mock drills or training sessions now. The Fire Services officials said that they had also directed all hospitals to check their electrical connections and wiring to avoid any fire accident. With day temperatures soaring, all hospitals use air-conditioners round-the-clock which could lead to problems like short circuits. Hospitals have large quantities of highly flammable material and need to be extra cautious, officials said. As per rules a general hospital with a minimum of 5 to 10 beds needs a fire extinguisher and above 15-bed hospitals in two to three story buildings needs water sprinkler and pipe connection too. But most of the local hospitals are running with one fire extinguisher only. They say that since they do not admit inpatients, there was no need for such measures.


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