Fire safety measures at pvt hospitals to be assessed

Fire safety measures at pvt hospitals to be assessed
Highlights

Monday’s fire mishap at Rohini Super Specialty Hospital in Hanamkonda is leading to serious questions over the efficacy of fire safety norms being adopted by private hospitals managements.

Hanamkonda: Monday’s fire mishap at Rohini Super Specialty Hospital in Hanamkonda is leading to serious questions over the efficacy of fire safety norms being adopted by private hospitals managements.

The officials concerned are maintaining that every corporate hospital being run in the district is allowed to function only after they met all prescribed fire safety measures. But, how best those measures are put into practice, when a disaster strikes remains a question, given the occurrence at Rohini Hospital.

According to police and fire department officials, the National Building Code of India 1980 issued by Indian Standards Institution and the National Disaster Management Authority Hospital Safety National Action Framework advises the managements to prepare a guidelines manual to be followed by staff to prevent and take precautions against fire related accidents.

Each hospital should constitute Hospital Disaster Management Committee (HDMC) to develop a Hospital Disaster Management Plan (HDMP). The committee members should be trained to institute and implement Hospital Incident Response System (HIRS) to handle disasters.

But no such practices are found at the hospitals, said an official of fire department. Though there is fire safety equipment available, most of it is outdated and staff lack expertise to use it when fire accidents occur. That is what happened at Rohini Hospital. Saying that there is fire safety equipment accessible, the district fire officer B Keshavulu felt that the hospital staff failed to use them.

Speaking to The Hans India, he informed that after a couple of days, along with the district administration an assessment on the availability fire safety measures and preparedness of the staff at all private hospitals would be made.

District Medical and Health Officer Dr B Harish Raj said the permission to run a hospital would be given only after they obtain NOC from fire department. But the medical and paramedical personnel are not properly trained to deal fire accidents.

There are nearly 396 private clinics, nursing homes, diagnostic centres in the city and nearly 45 hospitals have capacity of above 50 beds. Instructions would be given to hospitals managements to conduct regular fire safety drills and rehearsals to enhance staff’s response capability to emergencies in real time, he added.

According to a member of the investigation team that inspected Rohini Hospital on Monday, the norm of providing sufficient open and motorable space in and around the hospital for free movement of patients and fire engines is not followed.

The fire fighters also faced shortage of water while containing the flames even as rules prescribe that an underground static water tank should remain full at all times for firefighting. “The corporate hospitals, which collect huge amounts of fees from patients, must ensure their safety,” said a lecturer Ch Shanker.
Most importantly the triage and the philosophy of ‘the sickest is seen first’ is not followed after the fire broke out at Rohini Hospital. It is inhuman that a patient undergoing surgery is abandoned in operation theatre, he added.

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