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Delhi govt to direct all hospitals to do fire audits by June 8

ByAlok KN Mishra
May 28, 2024 01:44 AM IST

The move is aimed at ensuring that hospitals are equipped to deal with fire incidents, Delhi health minister Saurabh Bharadwaj said

A day after six newborns were killed in a fire at a neo-natal care centre in Vivek Vihar, Delhi health minister Saurabh Bhardwaj directed all hospitals in Delhi to carry out a fire safety audit and submit compliance report to the state health department by June 8, officials aware of the matter said on Monday.

A forensic team at the hospital at Vivek Vihar in east Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/HT)
A forensic team at the hospital at Vivek Vihar in east Delhi. (Arvind Yadav/HT)

The move is aimed at ensuring that hospitals are equipped to deal with fire incidents, Bharadwaj said after a meeting in Delhi secretariat with health department officials. The meeting was called to discuss fire safety at city hospitals in the aftermath of the late Saturday night fire, the officials said .

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“There is a rule that hospitals with a height of less than 9 metres do not require fire NOC (no-objection certificate). This is the reason why this hospital also did not have a fire NOC. Now, we have issued instructions that all hospitals, whether single-storey or double-storey, must have all safety arrangements to deal with fire at in their premises. It will be ensured that water sprinkler systems and automatic smoke detectors are installed in all hospitals irrespective of their height so that fire can be prevented from spreading in the building,” said Bharadwaj.

According to officials, the Directorate General of Health Services (DGHS) and special secretary (health) were present in the meeting.

Read Here: Only 24 of 1.1K nursing homes in Delhi have requisite fire clearances

“On 24 April, instructions were issued to all private and government hospitals in Delhi for fire preparedness. Again, on 8 May 2024, directions were given by the health department to all government and private hospitals in Delhi to conduct fire audits. Today, we have sent reminders to all hospitals to get the fire audit done,” saidBharadwaj.

The hospitals will have to get the audit done by private agencies. “We have also asked the fire department to help the hospitals in case they seek assistance in conducting the audit,” said Bharadwaj.

Talking to reporters after the meeting, the minister said that the Vivek Vihar nursing home was running without valid registration. “The nursing home’s registration expired in March 2024. In February, the nursing home applied for renewing the registration, but it was not granted due to insufficient documentation, they were given a ‘deficiency memo’ and that they had to submit more documents,” Bharadwaj said, announcing new safety regulations for the nursing homes.

“The owner of this hospital runs a similar hospital in Paschim Puri. Cases have been registered against him twice (in past) in different incidents. These cases are going on in Karkardooma and Tis Hazari Courts. It is expected that soon the court will give its verdict against the owner of this nursing home in these cases and he will be given a severe punishment,” Bharadwaj said.

An official said that it is suspected that illegally oxygen cylinder were being refilled at the hospital and it might have caused the fire. “We are also investigating this,” Bharadwaj said.

The minister said that he came to know about the incident through media reports. “I called the health secretary but could not talk to him, so I went to the accident spot. Yesterday too, I called the health secretary several times, and sent messages, but did not get any information from him,” Bharadwaj said.

An official in the office of the health secretary told HT that the senior official was on leave from Friday.

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