January 12, 2021 1:16:04 am
The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) Monday began conducting a city-wide fire audit of over 14,500 public and private hospitals, following a fire mishap in Bhandara District General Hospital that killed ten newborn babies.
The audit will continue over the next fortnight. Mumbai has 1,400 private nursing homes that include corporate hospitals. In the government sector, there are 12 peripheral hospitals, four medical colleges, 28 maternity homes, four specialised hospitals and four state government run hospitals. Along with this, five ESIC hospitals will also be audited.
The last audit in Mumbai was ordered in mid-2020, when a hospital treating Covid-19 patients in Gujarat caught fire. “After the Gujarat hospital case, we directed all our hospitals to do a fire audit,” said Additional Municipal Commissioner Suresh Kakani.
“The most common lapses in hospitals are defunct fire extinguishers and untrained staff in firefighting. In some cases, we found issues with electrical wiring,” Kakani added.
In 2020, BMC constructed five jumbo centres to treat Covid-19 patients. “Every month, we held training exercises in firefighting and did a fire audit. All facilities were found to be fire complaint” Kakani said.
BMC has now decided to do another fire audit in light of Bhandara mishap. The Chief Fire Officer has been appointed to monitor the drill. In the L-ward covering Kurla, where 62 private nursing homes are located, on Monday four private hospitals were audited for fire compliance. “We need a fire officer to do an audit. The basic checks, like emergency exit, working fire extinguishers and sprinklers are checked. We expect all hospitals in our ward to get audited in the next 15 days,” said medical officer Dr Jeetendra Jadhav.
In K-West, covering Andheri West, medical officer Dr Gulnar Khan said there are 107 hospitals in the ward. “The inspection began on Monday evening,” she said.
Mumbai witnessed its last major fire in a hospital in December, 2018, when 13 patients succumbed to fire in ESIC hospital, Marol. The hospital was undergoing repairs and renovation work. The fire had spread due to combustible items kept in basement.
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