The ministry of home affairs on Wednesday directed states and union territories to put in place a plan of action and ensure that no fire incident occurs in any of the health facilities (particularly COVID-19 dedicated facilities) both in the government and private sector.
Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla, in conversation with the chief secretaries of states and administrators of union territories, said that in the context of recent fire incidents and particularly in view of the impending summer season it needs to be highlighted that either because of high temperature, lack of maintenance or high load on the internal wirings within the facilities, short-circuiting takes place, leading to fire incidents and consequential loss of life and essential infrastructure, the MHA informed in a statement.
"The communication further states that care should be taken to put in place a plan of action, to ensure that no fire incident occurs in any of the health facilities (particularly COVID-19 dedicated facilities) both in the government and private sector."
According to the ministry, the states and UTs have been requested to conduct a detailed review with officials from the health, power, and fire departments, and prepare a detailed plan of action to ensure that fire safety measures are in place in all hospitals and health facilities.
The states and UTs have also been requested to issue directions to the concerned officials at various levels, that the health facilities should be visited by field-level officials, to examine internal wirings and availability of functional safety equipment as per fire safety guidelines, within these facilities, and necessary remedial action be taken immediately in case any deficiencies are found.
The ministry also drew attention to the recently issued advisory of the Director-General (Fire Services, Civil Defence and Home Guards), MHA on fire safety in hospitals and nursing homes.
The communication also highlighted that a large number of COVID-19 cases are under treatment in COVID-dedicated health facilities across the country. In most cases, oxygen-supported beds, ICU beds, and ventilators are critical interventions, and therefore, it is important to ensure that there is an uninterrupted power supply on a regular 24x7 basis, in all the hospitals and medical facilities.
In recent days, India has reported deaths of patients due to fire incidents at various hospitals. On Saturday, 14 patients and two nurses lost their lives in a fire that broke out at a Patel Welfare COVID hospital in Gujarat's Bharuch. Four deaths were reported at a hospital in Maharashtra's Thane district due to the same reason. Four had died at Surat's Ayush hospital while 15 patients lost their lives at a COIVD care hospital in Maharashtra's Palghar district because of an unprecedented fire incident.
( With inputs from ANI )
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