Fire safety audit finds 85 hospitals in the red


Of the 170-odd hospitals in Gautam Budh Nagar, at least 85 are flouting fire safety norms, a recent round of inspections by the fire department of all hospitals with over five beds has found.

The fire safety audit, which began on March 11, has so far covered 164 of 170 hospitals in the district with five or more beds. (HT PHOTO)

These 85 hospitals have been sent notices through the health department, said the fire safety department, adding that the non-compliant hospitals included government facilities such as the district hospital and Child PGI in Sector 30. All other government establishments, though, were found to be fire safety compliant.

“We identified about 170 hospitals with over five beds and started inspections from March 11. We checked 164 hospitals so far and about six are remaining. We found that while most of them have obtained no objection certificates (NOC) from the fire department, they still had some shortcomings that were deemed a potential fire hazard. We have noted these points and are sending the hospitals notices through the health department,” said Pradeep Chaubey, chief fire officer.

He said most hospitals have blocked their fire exits by either placing heavy objects such as chairs or pots towards the exit or by creating temporary structures. A few hospitals did not have their water pumps on auto mode; this would prove a hindrance during fire rescue operations in case of an emergency.

“A few hospitals have kept their fire exits locked. Most of these are smaller facilities in rural areas. These establishments need to understand that the extra staircase is to be used in case of emergencies,” Chaubey said.

Officials said there were initially 108 hospitals which had shortcomings. However, on the faults being pointed out, many rectified the flaws and notices are now being sent only to 85 hospitals, they said.

Officials said nearly all hospitals need to get an electrical audit conducted regularly, as short-circuits are a major cause for fire in the district.

“We have noticed that most fire incidents of late have been triggered by electrical issues. Many buildings have older wiring meant for less load and the circuits are getting overloaded, leading to heating and short-circuits. These need to be checked and wiring or other electrical equipment need to be replaced wherever required,” said Chaubey.

Officials said there are a few hospitals that are running either without a fire NOC or have gross or serious violations. For such establishments, the fire department will be writing to the chief medical officer to form a four-member committee that will take a call on whether such facilities need to be sealed.

Once the inspection and action against hospitals are done, the fire department will start a similar audit of hotels and educational establishments in the district. Officials said along with the inspection, fire officers also conducted fire safety awareness drives at many of the hospitals.

When contacted, chief medical officer Dr Sunil Sharma said a notice has been sent to all erring hospitals. “We have given the hospitals one month’s time to get all fire hazards corrected. After that, they will be reviewed again by the committee formed under the Clinical Establishments Act, 2010, to ascertain whether they can be given a clearance.”

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