HYDERABAD: A day after a tragic fire accident in the ICU of a Covid-care hospital in Palghar (Maharashtra) left 15 dead, turns out over 50 hospitals in Telangana are sitting ducks for similar tragedies.
In fact, during a recent inspection drive, the disaster reponse and fire services department issued notices to 38 hospitals, spread across the state, for not adhering to any fire safety norms mentioned in the rulebook. Worse, another 23 hospital buildings — the inspection revealed — are currently facing prosecution for failing to fall in line, despite repeated warnings.
Incidentally, majority of these hospitals are treating Covid-19 patients. And yet, they were found to be inadequately equipped to handle fire emergencies, putting at risk the lives of patients, their attendants and even the hospital staff.
But while these hopsitals have come under the radar of authorities, doctors working in state-run government hospitals claim that the number of facilities flouting fire safety norms, is much higher. “The fire NOC is usually given before issuing the building Occupancy Certificate and is renewed periodically. But not many are aware of this. Most hospitals do not even have the basic firefighting equipment ready to extinguish small fires,” said a senior doctor working at Gandhi Hospital.
Fire department officials, meanwhile, maintained that they have either rejected or cancelled existing NOCs of hospitals that were found flouting norms during the inspections, conducted in the last three months. “During this period, we conducted inspections across 112 hospitals in the state and most of them were found treating Covid-19 patients. We have issued notices to some of these hospitals that did not have proper fire safety measures and cancelled NOCs of some hospitals that were flouting fire safety norms,” said C Laxmi Prasad, director, Telangana state disaster response and fire services department.