The Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) has decided to turn the heat on all major hospitals in the city by asking the fire brigade to ensure they are complying with the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Safety Act.
In a review meeting conducted by municipal commissioner Subodh Kumar on Tuesday, it was decided that the fire brigade will inspect public and private hospitals which have more than 100 beds. Sixty-seven hospitals in the city have more than 100 beds, of which 36 are private hospitals.
The fire brigade’s chief fire officer will inspect these hospitals over the next 15 days and if deficiencies are found, hospital authorities will be issued a notice.
“Once the notice is issued, authorities of erring hospitals will be given a deadline to rectify the shortcomings. If they fail to do so, stronger action will be taken against them, which could include prosecution, seizure of premises or cancellation of licence,” said additional municipal commissioner Manisha Mhaiskar.
An exhaustive fire safety manual will be provided to private hospitals found to be flouting safety norms. “Depending on what the inspection throws up, the fire safety mandates for private hospitals will be reviewed,” said Mhaiskar.
Inspection of city hospitals by the fire brigade over the past year has revealed that fire exits and escape routes have been blocked, beds have been erected on open spaces in the verandah, inflammable substances that include chemicals have been stored in the basement of the hospitals and firefighting apparatus has been rendered defunct because of lack of maintenance.
At Tuesday’s meeting, it was also decided that a fire safety committee will be set up for the 17 civic hospitals. The divisional fire officer, station fire officer and the medical chief of the hospital will be part of the panel. This team will frame and implement fire guidelines, train personnel and conduct mock drills.
BMC officials said they would emphasise on critical wards being situated on the ground floor to make evacuation easier in case of a fire.
The inclusion of a fire tower or fire safety plinth will be made compulsory.