ANI Photo | Centre issues advisory to states, UTs on measures to prevent hospital fires during summer months

The Union Health Ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have issued a joint advisory to all states and Union Territories (UTs) underscoring the importance of proactive measures in preventing hospital fires as temperatures escalate during the summer months.
According to a government release, state health departments and state disaster management authorities have been directed to work in close collaboration to ensure that all accredited hospitals within their jurisdiction take immediate action on the following:
The administration has been directed to conduct comprehensive fire safety audits and on-site inspections of all hospitals to assess fire safety compliance. The states have also been asked to ensure that fire-fighting systems, including fire alarms, fire smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, fire hydrants, and fire lifts, are present and fully functional, according to the release.
Further, the health ministry has asked to address the critical issue of insufficient electrical load capacity. Hospitals must regularly conduct electrical load audits, particularly when adding new equipment or converting spaces into ICUs. Any identified discrepancies must be promptly rectified, it said.
Hospitals must strictly adhere to regulatory requirements and obtain valid fire No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) from their respective state fire departments, the release mentioned. Prioritize re-calibration of electrical loads in older buildings constructed before adopting fire safety norms, it added.
The release stated that a detailed set of instructions outlining the steps and measures to be undertaken by hospitals to ensure fire safety compliance has also been provided to the Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs, recommending they disseminate the information among all accredited hospitals.
Also, the instructions that need to be carried out to prevent occurrences of fire incidents in hospitals and other healthcare facilities were given, including those regarding functional fire-fighting systems, regular maintenance and testing, regular electrical load audits, oxygen safety, the installation of smoke detectors and fire alarms, combustible material control, non-combustible material for electrical ducts, avoiding overloading power sources, the installation of water sprinklers and hosepipes, strict adherence to the national building code, obtaining a fire safety NOC, staff training and drills and evacuation plans.
States and UTs have also been urged to conduct follow-up reviews to ensure the implementation of these critical safety measures

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