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Wednesday, June 23, 2021

Inspect hospitals to prevent fires, Home Ministry tells states, UTs

As many as 93 people, most of them Covid patients, have died in 24 incidents of fire in hospitals across India since last August.

By: Express News Service | New Delhi |
Updated: May 6, 2021 6:06:58 am
The concern was raised in a communication sent by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to all States and UTs on Wednesday.

With a rise in fire incidents inside Covid hospitals amid a surge in coronavirus cases, the Centre on Wednesday told states and Union territories to get internal wirings of all hospitals examined and ensure availability of functional safety equipment as per fire safety guidelines.

As many as 93 people, most of them Covid patients, have died in 24 incidents of fire in hospitals across India since last August.

“The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has drawn the attention of state and Union Territory governments towards the occurrence of fire incidents, caused by short-circuiting, in hospitals and nursing homes in the recent past,” an MHA statement said.

The concern was raised in a communication sent by Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla to all States and UTs on Wednesday. It said that in view of the impending summer season it needs to be highlighted that short circuits are taking place either due to high temperature, lack of maintenance or high load on the internal wirings, leading to fire incidents and consequential loss of life and essential infrastructure.

The communication states that care should be taken to put in place a plan of action, to ensure that no fire incident occurs in any of the health facilities (particularly Covid dedicated facilities) in the government and private sector.

The governments have also been asked to ensure uninterrupted power supply to medical facilities, the MHA statement said.

“The states and UTs have also been requested to issue directions to the concerned officials at various levels, that health facilities should be visited by field level officials, to examine internal wirings and availability of functional safety equipment… and necessary remedial action be taken immediately in case any deficiencies are found,” Bhalla wrote.

The States and UTs have been requested to conduct a detailed review with officials from the Health, Power and Fire Departments, and prepare a detailed plan of action to ensure that fire safety measures are in place in all hospitals and health facilities, MHA officials said.

The MHA has also drawn attention to the recently issued advisory of the Director General (Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards), MHA on fire safety in hospitals and nursing homes.

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