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Tuesday, April 13, 2021

Mumbai: BMC’s fire audit highlights lackadaisical approach of many city hospitals to fire safety norms

The Fire Brigade has also instructed 38 health establishments, which were running without health licences, to shut down.

Written by Laxman Singh | Mumbai |
Updated: March 28, 2021 1:18:02 am
Mumbai hospital fire newsAfter a fire in a hospital at Bhandara killed 10 newborns, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was prompted to conduct fire audits of hospitals and nursing homes in the city. (Express Photo by Deepak Joshi)

Highlighting the lackadaisical approach of many city hospitals to fire safety norms, a recent fire audit commissioned by the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation had found that of the 1,178 hospitals and nursing homes, nearly 762 establishments were not complying with the desired norms.

The major violation, as per the audit, is the non-functional fire fighting system found in most of the audited hospitals.

After a fire in a hospital at Bhandara killed 10 newborns, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) was prompted to conduct fire audits of hospitals and nursing homes in the city. According to the BMC report, as of February, the Fire Brigade had inspected 1,178 hospitals and nursing homes, of which 762 such establishments were found non-compliant to fire safety measures. These include 713 private, three government and 46 BMC hospitals.

The Fire Brigade has also instructed 38 health establishments, which were running without health licences, to shut down.

“Major part of non-compliance is non-working fire-fighting systems, which include fire alarm, sprinklers and smoke detectors. Also, buildings should have fire hydrants, hose pipes and underground tanks with water. In some cases, these equipment were also found not working,” said a senior Fire Brigade official.

The other violations include blocking of emergency or fire exit by dumping of unwanted articles and illegal additions in approved plans.

Following the inspection, Fire Brigade officials had served notice to violators under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006.

As per the provision of norms, the owners of the premises are given 120 days to fix the shortcomings and submit a report before the Fire Brigade. With limited staff involved in fire fighting as well as other services like building collapse, tree collapse, bird rescue, Fire Brigade officials do only random checks for fire audit. All establishments are mandated to submit fire audit reports from a government authorised third party auditor every six months (January and July).

When fire officials visit for inspection of the premises, they also ask for a fire audit report from the owners. “If form B (fire audit report) is not submitted regularly, then we serve notices to establishments. If the condition remains the same even after serving notices, then we start prosecution against the establishments, “said another fire officer.

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