Follow fire protocol at hospitals to the T: Union health secretary to states

With the entire northern region reeling under a prolonged heatwave, incidents of fire, including in forests, are increasingly being reported.

ByPTI

Published Jun 03, 2024 | 4:31 PMUpdatedJun 03, 2024 | 4:31 PM

Fire

Union Health Secretary Apurva Chandra on Monday, 3 June, called for strict compliance with fire-safety protocols in a meeting with states and healthcare organisations, citing an increased possibility of fires in hospitals with high temperatures.

With the entire northern region reeling under a prolonged heatwave, incidents of fire, including in forests, are increasingly being reported.

Several of these fire incidents were reported to be caused by short circuits which happened due to sub-optimal electrical maintenance and/or overload of electricity lines with heavy use of air-conditioners and other equipment.

“Given the potential risks associated with fire hazards in hospitals, it is imperative that strict protocols and measures be put in place to prevent, detect and respond to fires effectively.

“Establishing a robust fire safety plan and conducting fire-evacuation and safety drills will not only ensure compliance with regulatory requirements but also safeguard lives and property,” Chandra said.

Also Read: Union Health Ministry issues advisory on preventing hospital fires during summer

Advises to conduct regular risk assessment

The Union Health Ministry has on several occasions communicated to all states and Union Territories that with the high temperature in the summer, hospital fires become a more significant threat and advised them to conduct regular preventive fire risk assessment drills to identify potentially vulnerable areas.

The latest review meeting in this regard was held on May 29 under the co-chairmanship of the Additional Secretary (Public Health and Policy) and Director General of Health Services.

The meeting was attended by 15 representatives from state health departments and around 390 healthcare organisations.

In the meeting, Chandra advised the stakeholders to ensure better coordination with the local Public Works Departments and fire departments, so that fire safety ‘No Objection Certificates’ may be obtained on time.

A checklist on ‘Prevention and Maintenance of Fire Safety’ was shared with states and UTs with the request to get the same filled by all health facilities and revert on the same.

All states and UTs have been asked to ensure stricter compliance with regulatory protocols and regular mock drills on fire safety after receiving feedback from macro-level assessments.

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