Ambulances catch fire before launch

Ambulances catch fire before launch

Days before the Delhi government was to launch the first 55 of the 110-fleet CATS ambulances, two ambulances were destroyed in a fire on Friday here. The fire started from one of the ambulances parked on the campus of the Institute of Human Behaviour and Allied Sciences (IHBAS).

The Delhi government had decided to launch 55 Centralised Accident and Trauma Services (CATS) ambulance on July 3 at Connaught Place. Senior officials said the government is most likely to go ahead with the decision to launch these ambulances. 

The ambulances were awaiting the approval of the Committee for Registration of Ambulances (CRA) for the registration of the vehicles. The CRA was present at the spot when the fire started from one of the ambulances. “The CRA checks for the fabrication and medical equipment of the ambulance. The ignition of the vehicle was not on. While the rest of the vehicles could be immediately parked away, the vehicle next to it immediately caught fire,” said a senior administrative officer, CATS.

The vehicles together cost Rs 23 lakh, said the official. According to the fire department, there was a call at 3pm for fire tenders to be sent to the spot. “Four fire tenders were sent to the spot by 3.15 pm. The fire was doused by 3.30 pm. The cause of the fire is being investigated,” said a fire department official.

The Delhi government had awarded the contract to Bafna Healthcare Pvt Ltd and Tata Motors. “Teams from both Bafna Healthcare Pvt Ltd and Tata Motors who were responsible for putting together the ambulances are investigating the issue. Both the companies are trying to ascertain if there was an internal fault of the vehicle or there was an external cause of fire,” said the official. “This is a one-off incident and all the necessary steps to check safety measures have been taken,” the official added.

CATS staff union demands safety check

The CATS staff union demanded that the ambulances be checked for safety before the fleet is launched. “Even before the vehicles were launched, these vehicles have been found to be faulty through today’s incident. The government should first conduct intensive checks to ensure patients’ safety and not hurry to launch the fleet,” said Narender Lakra, president, CATS staff unionCATS staff union.

The government is also ready with its upgraded control room with new facilities. This has provisions for enabling location of emergency caller, send messages of confirmation and enable callers to track the ambulance.

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