700 Hospitals In Hyderabad Lack Fire Safety  

19 Oct, 2016 13:54 IST|Sakshi
It’s estimated that over 200 hospitals out of the 1,800 hospitals in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy are in more than 20 years old buildings. Moreover, these majority of these hospitals are located in highly congested localities.

Hyderabad: Fire Safety Department during the past two years served over 700 safety notices to small and big hospitals in the city for not adhering to fire safety rules and misusing their cellar space. The latest fire accident at Sum Hospital in Odisha has again brought into focus poor adherence to fire safety rules by hospitals. It's estimated that over 200 hospitals out of the 1,800 hospitals in Hyderabad and Ranga Reddy are in more than 20 years old buildings. Moreover, these majority of these hospitals are located in highly congested localities.

However, hospital owners agree with the fact that the old buildings are not designed for hospital use. So naturally, they lack all the infrastructure required for proper safety system. Interestingly, buildings, which have been designed for hospitals also do not have any free space. In case of a fire, there are so many people at every level of the building, that evacuation will be a challenge, observe officials. Cellars are actually meant for parking vehicles only. But in reality, cellars are being used for running house canteen, laundry room, solid waste and bio-medical waste collection room and offices and rooms for security personnel.

The Telangana Hospitals and Nursing Homes Association has made a representation to the government stating that it is not possible to make modifications in the old buildings and have worked out an alternative system whereby water sumps are used to store water which can be used in case of a fire. However, officials at Fire Safety Department observe that majority hospitals lack proper space for an exit staircase, some of these hospitals have installed sprinklers and fire extinguishers. But these arrangements are not sufficient.

However, hospital owners agree with the fact that the old buildings are not designed for hospital use. So naturally, they lack all the infrastructure required for proper safety system. Interestingly, buildings, which have been designed for hospitals also do not have any free space. In case of a fire, there are so many people at every level of the building, that evacuation will be a challenge, observe officials. Cellars are actually meant for parking vehicles only. But in reality, cellars are being used for running house canteen, laundry room, solid waste and bio-medical waste collection room and offices and rooms for security personnel.

As per the norms of fire safety department, the fire department and the hospital should conduct a fire drill with their employees every month. But it's not happening. If a fire accident takes place, employees should at least know the exit route or fire fighting method. There is hardly any drill carried out.

According to officials at GHMC, there would be some activity at hospitals when they received notices from the fire safety department. It requires regular follow-up action, which is lacking. Hence, the issue gets brushed under the carpet. Other government agencies also should participate in keeping tabs on hospitals that lack proper safety infrastructure. Fire Safety department officials opine that other government agencies like water supply and power departments should also take stringent action against hospitals that lack proper safety features.

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