The massive fire at the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) has prompted the administration to adopt several preventive measures — from releasing a revised set of standard operating procedures (SOPs) to having a fleet of its own fire tenders on campus. The SOPs, which are being finalised, were reworked after a fire broke out at the AIIMS Trauma Centre in March this year.
“The SOPs were already in place but after the fire incident in March, we decided to add a few things keeping in mind patients’ safety and security. The SOPs are ready and will be released by next week,” Subhashish Panda, deputy dean (administration), AIIMS, told The Indian Express.
On Saturday, the fire broke out near the emergency ward at the country’s top medical institute, leaving four floors of the teaching block partially damaged. As many as 40 fire tenders were pressed into service to control the blaze.
According to officials, in the revised SOPs, the institute has chalked out guidelines to shift patients from one ward to another. This means staff will be well informed about which ward to go to if any such incident occurs in the future.
“This is extremely important to avoid any confusion. The hospital staff will know where to take the patients immediately in an emergency. We will first release model SOPs which will be common to all the centres. These SOPs can later be modified depending on the needs of every centre in the institute,” said Panda.
A special officer will be appointed in every department, responsible for keeping a check on fire-related equipment and guidelines. The role of the officer will be to coordinate with the fire department. The institute is also going to have separate fire tenders; these can be used in coordination with tenders of the Delhi Fire Services in case of an emergency, said officials.
“We have a well-coordinated team working with the DFS; however, having extra fire tenders will not affect anything. Sometimes, the fire services vans are not able to enter through the hospital lanes due to the facilities we have for patients. In such cases, our own fire tenders can immediately rush to the spot to douse the fire,” he added.
The Microbiology department’s virology unit on the second floor of the teaching block, which was completely gutted, has been shifted to various departments so as to continue with testing facilities.
On Sunday, the institute initiated an internal inquiry to look into the cause of the fire and formed a committee headed by the medical superintendent, Dr D K Sharma, to assess what caused the incident.