After Baby Care fire incident, Delhi govt directs all hospitals to conduct fire audit

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In the wake of the tragic fire at a Vivek Vihar nursing home that claimed the lives of seven newborns in the city, Delhi government on Monday directed all private and state-run hospitals to complete a fire audit by June 8 and submit a compliance report.

In a meeting held on Monday with Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS), Special Secretary of Health, Delhi health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj announced new safety regulations for nursing homes over nine meters tall, mandating water sprinklers and smoke detectors, and directed all CDMOs to conduct random inspections. He also highlighted plans to recommend bravery awards for two nurses and five citizens who saved children’s lives at the hospital.

After the meeting, Mr Bharadwaj said that no culprit will be spared, irrespective of their status. Two cases had already been registered against the nursing home owner and the ongoing oxygen refilling processes in nursing homes will be investigated, he said.

“According to the information given by them till now, this hospital was registered to run a 5-bed nursing home from 2021 to 2024, and this registration also expired in March 2024. They had applied for renewal in February, and due to a lack of documents, they were given a ‘deficiency memo‘ that they had to submit more documents”, he said.

Mr Bharadwaj said that as per the rule, hospitals with a height of less than 9 meters do not require fire NOC. This is the reason why this hospital also did not have a fire NOC. “Given this incident, we have given instructions that all hospitals, whether single-storey or double-storey, must have all safety arrangements to deal with fire in their hospitals. It will be ensured that water sprinkler systems and automatic smoke detectors are installed in all hospitals so that in case of any such incident, the fire can be extinguished immediately by the water sprinkler system and any major accident can be prevented from happening”, he said.

“In today’s meeting, instructions have been issued that all government and private hospitals should submit the compliance report of the fire audit of their respective hospitals by 8 June, so that it is ensured that the arrangements to deal with incidents of fire in all hospitals have been thoroughly checked. Along with all these preparations, we have also ordered the hospitals to check their electrical systems, because in the summer season, incidents of fire are often seen due to short circuits,” Delhi minister said.

To prevent any such accidents in future, Mr Bharadwaj said, “we have issued instructions to all CDMOs to conduct random inspections of all private hospitals and nursing homes in their respective areas and keep checking the adequate arrangements for dealing with fire accidents and other. He also said that the government will propose the names of those who put their lives at stake to save the lives of these children.