Fire safety measures in hospitals

Such arrangements imperative for protection of human lives and hospital infrastructure
Debris lies in the corridor of Bone and Joint Hospital, Barzulla after a massive fire engulfed it in March last year. [File]
Debris lies in the corridor of Bone and Joint Hospital, Barzulla after a massive fire engulfed it in March last year. [File] Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Putting at place the fire safety measures and strengthening those that are already in place is very important. Such measures not only make the lives of patients, attendants and medical staff safe, but also protect the hospital buildings and other infrastructure from destruction.

In March last year a massive blaze extensively damaged the Bone and Joint Hospital at Barzulla, in Srinagar. All the wards were full of patients and attendants, in the 250 bedded hospital when the fire broke out. A number of patients and their attendants were evacuated amid the leaping flames.

Later, in June last year fire also broke out in a ward at SMHS Hospital in Srinagar. The patients and attendants had to be evacuated and the fire was brought under control. There was no loss of life in Bone and Joint Hospital and SMHS fire incidents.

But people have lost lives in hospital fire incidents outside Jammu and Kashmir. To avert this loss of life and damage to hospital infrastructure, the fire safety measures must be strengthened. The hospitals’ administration must take very concrete steps in this direction.

The health and medical education department during a recent review meeting regarding fire safety measures in health facilities gave a number of directions, like getting institution-wise status of fire fighting system and other alternative mechanisms available in hospitals.

Conducting of fresh mock drills and getting fresh fire audits conducted through Fire and Emergency Department and addressing the deficiencies identified in the previous fire audits. Regarding projects of fire fighting systems under execution, the officers were directed to follow the executing agencies for early completion of the projects.

Now after the directions from top level, it is being hoped that the administration in health facilities will strictly follow the directives, and fire safety measures are put in place, and also upgraded, wherever required.

Lack of safety measures or any defective mechanism is like playing with the lives of patients, attendants and medical staff, and keeping the hospital infrastructure unsafe. This has to be avoided. All steps have to be taken to ensure the safety of all those, in the hospital.

Any carelessness in this direction can prove disastrous. The avoidable mishaps can occur resulting in loss of lives and damage to hospital buildings and other equipment. Hopefully such things do not happen if all safety measures are taken.

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