Even more than three decades after Moga Civil Hospital was established, authorities have failed to install a hydrant system, which is a mandatory fire-safety measure in big buildings.
Though the hospital has installed fire extinguishers at around half a dozen spots, these would be of no use in case of a major fire. Interestinlgy, all fire-extinguishers are past their expiry date (March 3) and are yet to be refilled.
None of the emergency wards, operating theatres, departments, offices, quarters of the civil surgeon and other employees has any infrastructure to combat a blaze. More than 1,500 patients, including more than 100 critical patients, report at the emergency ward everyday.
Fire hydrant enables fire-fighters to tap into the municipal water supply to douse any flame. "It saves time and lives," said Dr Indervir Singh Gill of the hospital. "Common extinguishers are good for only small emergencies."
Most fire-safety measures are non-existent at the crammed hospital. A fire here can cost many lives and burn down huge property. "Under the National Building Code (NBC), it is mandatory to install fire hydrant in hospitals, hotels, shopping malls, and others big structures," said district fire safety officer Jagdish Kumar. "The administrations of most hospitals, schools and colleges ignore the rules."
In all districts, the health administrations have orders to install hydrant system in all hospitals. "Many have complied," said civil surgeon Dr Gulshan Rai. "Since my taking over as civil surgeon a few weeks ago, I unaware of any violation. I will ask the senior medical officer to get the safety device installed."