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Tardy pace of fire audit in govt hospitals a cause for concern: Advocacy group

Lack of fire safety puts the lives of immobile patients at risk, said a representative with advocacy group Beyond Carlton
uraksha P
Last Updated : 21 May 2022, 04:34 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2022, 04:34 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2022, 04:34 IST
Last Updated : 21 May 2022, 04:34 IST

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Only 34 out of 166 government hospitals (20%) across the state, have got a fire audit done.

The government had asked 16 district hospitals and 150 taluk hospitals to get a no-objection certificate (NoC) from the fire department and submit an action-taken report before May 21.

Lack of fire safety puts the lives of immobile patients at risk, said a representative with advocacy group Beyond Carlton. He said the lacunae that have been pointed out in the audits should be resolved at once.

In a circular issued on May 7, Health Commissioner D Randeep said, “The recent incidents of fire accidents in hospitals have reinforced the need for compliance with fire safety measures in hospitals across the state. In this regard, please refer to guidelines and circulars issued for fire and life safety in healthcare facilities. They have to be implemented.”

The circular stated all hospitals under the health department, undertaking a fire safety audit in all such hospitals is a mandatory prerequisite. An amount of Rs 50,000 per facility has been allotted under the National Health Mission for carrying out fire safety audits in 166 hospitals.

As per the district-wise data, of 10 hospitals each in Uttara Kannada district and Tumakuru district, only four and two hospitals respectively have got a fire audit done. In Hassan district, of seven hospitals, three have carried out an audit.

In Chikkaballapur, the health minister’s home district, Haveri and Shivamogga districts no fire audit has been done in the hospitals. All three districts have seven hospitals each under the Health Department.

Uday Vijayan, Founder and Managing Trustee of Beyond Carlton, a people’s initiative on fire safety, told DH, “The notification dated July 7, 2011, issued (pertaining to high-rise buildings) is applicable to all buildings that are 15 meters and above in height. Every two years, high rise buildings have to get a NoC for fire safety.

Even the NBC and Model Building Bye-Laws dated, October 28, 2017, issued by the Government of Karnataka, defines high-rise buildings as buildings of 15 meters in height and above. Nothing in both the notifications suggests that the preventive measures prescribed are not applicable to hospitals.”

“That audits that have been ordered by the health department talk about the lacunae and insufficiency of fire safety preparedness. Hospitals are vulnerable spaces where people are in the ICUs. It becomes even more imperative that hospitals have fire safety,” he added.

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Published 20 May 2022, 17:43 IST

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