Delhi baby hospital fire: Disaster officials asked for fire-risk audit last week | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Delhi baby hospital fire: Disaster officials asked for fire-risk audit last week

By, Jayashree Nandi
May 27, 2024 04:49 AM IST

NDMA in a review meeting on May 22 had directed Delhi to carry out an audit of all hospitals and coaching centres in the city.

The Union health ministry and National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) on March 23 had issued a joint advisory to states and UTs, directing that all accredited hospitals conduct thorough inspections of their electrical load capacity and address discrepancies, and obtain valid fire no-objection certificates (NOCs) from their respective fire departments.

The New Born Baby Care Hospital at Vivek Vihar in east Delhi, where a blaze led to the death of at least six infants. (Hindustan Times)
The New Born Baby Care Hospital at Vivek Vihar in east Delhi, where a blaze led to the death of at least six infants. (Hindustan Times)

Also Read | Children hospital fire: Delhi govt orders investigation into incident that killed 7

NDMA in a review meeting on May 22 had directed Delhi to carry out an audit of all hospitals and coaching centres in the city, and share a report within a month’s time. “This needed to be done to ensure that in case of a short circuit, what preparations are in place. Also, how will people be evacuated,” said a senior official, part of the meeting, on condition of anonymity.

Separately, the Delhi heat action plan, which according to the Delhi Disaster Management Authority (DDMA) was implemented in April, recommends replacing and upgrading all damaged transformers and loose wires, with special care for power supply in hospitals, dispensaries and clinics.

Also Read | Delhi children hospital fire: Locals allege owners traded oxygen cylinders

These advisories most certainly did not reach New Born Baby Care Hospital at Vivek Vihar in east Delhi, where a blaze that led to the death of at least six infants.

What the advisories state

The NDMA advisory states that a detailed set of instructions, outlining the steps and measures to be undertaken by hospitals to ensure fire safety compliance should be disseminated to all accredited hospitals. Some steps in the advisory include conducting a comprehensive fire safety audit, ensuring that fire-fighting systems are present and fully functional, and directing hospitals to address insufficient electrical load capacity.

Any identified discrepancies must be promptly rectified and that hospitals must strictly adhere to regulatory requirements and obtain valid fire NOCs from their respective state fire departments.

Also Read | Delhi Hospital fire: Expired license, no emergency exits in the baby centre

Meanwhile, Delhi’s heat action plan has a detailed plan to save lives from extreme heat. It also asks for replacement and upgradation of all damaged transformers and replacing loose wires. “Special care should be taken for power supply in hospitals, dispensaries and clinics. Awareness generation should be run the AC at 25degree centigrade and there should be proper use of AC in government departments as well,” it adds.

Abhiyant Tiwari, lead of climate resilience and health at NRDC India, said there is a clear link between summer heat and an increase in fire incidents

“However, fires will not occur in all kinds of buildings. They happen in high occupancy areas with high heat loads, including hospitals... So, fire audits are very important and are a part of heat action plans,” Tiwari said.

HT reached out to NDMA on whether the action plan is indeed being enforced but did not receive a response.

The Delhi government did not respond to requests for comment.

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