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Fire alert: Sealed emergency exits, enclosed galleries make SGPGI Lucknow a risky place

Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences has only one point for entry and exit. The Institute, which receives patients from all over India and some neighbouring countries, is mostly crowded.

lucknow Updated: Jul 18, 2017 13:22 IST
Anupam Srivastava
Anupam Srivastava
Hindustan Times, Lucknow
Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences,Lucknow,Fire compliance
In 2009 the institute administrators decided to completely seal all ‘openings’ for air-conditioning. (Deepak Gupta/ HT Photo)

Sealed emergency exits and totally enclosed galleries make Sanjay Gandhi Post Graduate Institute of Medical Sciences (SGPGIMS) a risky place in case of fire like the one in KGMU’s Trauma Centre here on Saturday.

As of now, the institute has only one point for entry and exit. The Institute, which receives patients from all over India and some neighbouring countries, is mostly crowded.

However, SGPGIMS director (professor) Rakesh Kapoor says the institute is one of the safest hospitals not only in the city but in the country too.

Read more| Lucknow: Fire at King George’s Medical University trauma centre, patients evacuated

Insiders say when the hospital came up it was not sealed for air-conditioning and had open corridors that let in fresh air. It also had a number of entrance and exit points. But in 2009 the institute administrators decided to completely seal all ‘openings’ for air-conditioning.

The hospital administration has kept hammers and cutters at strategic points for breaking open glass, window panes and locks of emergency exits. However, insiders feel that no one has the time to break open locks and glass in an emergency like a blaze.

Prof Kapoor claimed the institute had one of the best fire arrangements and equipment that are examined periodically by experts.

“Smoke alarms are placed all over as the building is fully air-conditioned. In case of emergency all the wards have hammers and glass cutters placed at important points to break open the doors and window panes,” said prof Kapoor.

He said the institute staff knew about the emergency exit points in every ward and they would open them in case a fire.

Besides fire hydrants were places at various points for dousing a fire, he added.

In the last 10 years, there have been around eight cases of fire on the PGI premises, with the latest one being inside the animal house in November last year.

Read more| Trauma center fire: KGMU admin admits fire alarm did not work

One fire incident took place in the chemistry lab of Centre of Bio-Medical Research (CBMR) in May last year when researchers working inside the lab nearly fainted. This blaze spread to the roof and other parts of lab. It was doused by a fire brigade.

This blaze could have been tragic had the scholars not taken out all inflammable material from the lab. The lab stores methanol, acetone, sulphuric acid and other dangerous and highly inflammable substances.

Earlier on May 24, 2011 the OT section of neurology department witnessed a blaze which caused heavy loss of property.

First Published: Jul 18, 2017 13:20 IST