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MoHFW calls for rigorous fire safety assessment of health facilities

Safety and wellbeing of patients (both outpatients and inpatients), staff and visitors is of utmost importance in any healthcare facilities. Recently, fire-incidents have been reported in a few places. These are a result of short-circuits due to sub-optimal electrical maintenance and/or overload of electricity lines due to 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.

Therefore, on several occasions, the Union Health Ministry communicated to all States/UTs that temperatures escalate during the present summer months and hospital fires become a more significant threat, States/UTs are advised to conduct regular preventive fire risk assessment drills to identify potentially vulnerable areas.

The latest review meeting in this regard was held on 29 May 2024, under the co-Chairmanship of Additional Secretary (Public Health and Policy) and Director General of Health Services, Dte. GHS with all States/UTs. Chair highlighted the report of tragic fire accident at a private health facility in Delhi recently.

In the meeting, 15 representatives from State Health Departments and around 390 Health Care Organizations participated. The following are the outcome of the deliberations:

  1. Need for strict compliance and rigorous periodic assessment of all health facilities concerning fire safety norms was emphasized.
  2. States/UTs and institutes advised to ensure better coordination with PWDs and local fire departments, so that fire safety NOC may be obtained in a timely manner.
  3. A checklist on ‘Prevention and Maintenance of Fire Safety’ was shared with States/UTs with the request to get the same filled by all health facilities and revert on the same.
  4. All States/UTs to ensure stricter compliance to regulatory protocols and regular mock-drills on fire safety after receiving feedback of macro-level assessments.

MB Bureau

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