The Ministry of Home Affairs (MHA) has drawn the attention of State and Union Territory Governments towards the occurrence of fire incidents, caused by short-circuiting, in hospitals and nursing homes in the recent past.
In a communication today to Chief Secretaries of States and Administrators of Union Territories, the Union Home Secretary has 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 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.
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 & UTs have also been requested to issue directions to the concerned officials at various levels, that heath 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 of Home Affairs has also drawn 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 highlights that a large number of COVID-19 cases are under treatment in COVID-dedicated health facilities across the country. In most of the cases, oxygen supported beds, ICU beds, and ventilators are critical interventions, and therefore, it is important to ensure that there is uninterrupted power supply on regular 24×7 basis, in all the hospitals and medical facilities.
The communication further emphasizes that saving every life is a priority, and it is critical to ensure that required support is provided to all health facilities managing COVID-19 by taking requisite actions in advance to avert any incident, which could hamper effective health care delivery to patients.