Health ministry writes States to prevent hospital fires in summer

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Union health minister

As the temperatures has escalated in last few days, the union health ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have issued a joint advisory to all States/UTs underscoring the paramount importance of proactive measures in preventing hospital fires that become a significant threat during the summer.

The State health departments and state Disaster Management Authorities have been directed to work in close collaboration to ensure that all accredited hospitals within their jurisdiction take immediate action and conduct comprehensive fire safety audit and on-site inspections of all hospitals to assess fire safety compliance. They have been asked to ensure that fire-fighting systems, including fire alarms, fire smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, and fire lifts, are present and fully functional.

A detailed set of instructions outlining the steps and measures to be undertaken by hospitals to ensure fire safety compliance have also been provided to Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs, recommending them to disseminate the information among all accredited hospitals.

As per the compliances, hospitals must regularly inspect fire- fighting equipment such as fire extinguishers, hydrants, and alarms. This includes checking the expiry dates of extinguishers, ensuring hydrants are accessible and have adequate water pressure, and that fire alarms are operational and audible throughout the facility. Along with establishing a maintenance schedule for ‘all Are safety equipment’, the hospitals have been asked to conduct electrical audits bi-annually to evaluate the hospital’s power consumption, particularly in high-demand areas like ICUs. In areas with oxygen tanks or piped oxygen, implement strict no-smoking policies and controls on heat sources, the ministry has said.

Among other safety measures to be taken, the ministry has asked hospitals to ensure strict Adherence to the National Building Code and annually renew the Fire Safety No-Objection Certificate as per State Fire Safety Rules from the local fire department.