Only 181 private hospitals have fire NOC in Thane
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Only 181 private hospitals have fire NOC in Thane

A 15-day survey by the fire department revealed more than 50% private hospitals in the city are ill-equipped to deal with fire incidents

mumbai Updated: Jan 11, 2019 00:28 IST
Megha Pol
Megha Pol
Hindustan Times
Thane,fire brigade,hospitals
Apart from the private hospitals, the fire department has informed there are many lapses in fire safety at the civic-run Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital, Kalwa. (Praful Gangurde /HT)

The fire safety check of private hospitals in Thane hangs in a limbo owing to lack of coordination between the fire and health departments of the Thane Municipal Corporation (TMC).

A 15-day survey by the fire department revealed more than 50% of hospitals in the city are ill-equipped to deal with fire incidents. Although the health department has renewed registration of more than 380 hospitals last year, only 181 hospitals were issued a no-objection certificate (NOC) from the fire department. The health department said if the fire department gives in writing about lack of fire safety equipment at any of the hospital, it will revoke the registration.

Moreover, a petition filed against TMC for lack of fire safety at city hospitals. The corporation will have to submit the report on fire NoC in the Bombay high court when the petition filed by Sapan Shrivastav is heard on Friday.

Following the fire at ESIC hospital in Mumbai, which killed 11 people, the Thane fire brigade initiated a fire safety audit at all private hospitals in the city. The fire department was supposed to make a list of hospitals in each of its jurisdiction and inspect it. The survey revealed the city has 384 private hospitals, of which only 47% are equipped to deal with a major fire.

An official from fire brigade department said, “We had received 181 applications for fire safety in the last two weeks. We checked these hospitals and issued NoC after a thorough inspection. We do not have the list of private hospitals. The health department should ensure the hospitals are equipped to tackle incidents, as they register the hospitals. We can only audit the hospitals who apply for NoC.”

However, the health department said the fire department is supposed to intimate them if any hospital is found to be unsafe.

An official from the health department said, “We conducted a combined audit of 231 hospitals, out of which the fire department issued NoC to 181 hospitals. In April 2017, we renewed the registration of 384 hospitals. It is the responsibility of the fire department to intimate us if any of the hospitals are unsafe. We’ll cancel their registration.”

Apart from the private hospitals, the fire department has informed there are many lapses in fire safety at the civic-run Chhatrapati Shivaji Maharaj Hospital, Kalwa.

A health department official said, “We have issued a work order to a private agency to install fire safety equipment and adhere by fire safety norms.”

Hospitals speak

The hospitals said while they want their facilities to fire safe, retrospective laws are difficult to implement.

Dr Mahesh Bedekar, who owns Bedekar Hospital for Women and Children, said, “There has been a lot of unregulated growth in the hospital industry in the past decade. All of us want our hospitals to be fire safe but it is not possible for the older hospitals to abide by each and every fires safety clause. There are many logistical problems in its implementation. It is necessary to find some middle ground to ensure the hospitals abide by the safety norms.”

He added while his hospital has fire NoC, more than 80% of city’ population visits 90% small hospitals or nursing homes during emergencies.

“It should be mandatory for hospitals in new buildings to abide by fire safety norms. But it is difficult for a 20-year-old facility to do the same. There is a need to train the staff in fire safety and counsel doctors as well. None of us wants to risk our lives by working in an unsafe environment.”

Past incidents

November 5, 2018: A fire broke out at the storeroom of ESIS hospital, which gutted all the documents. No casualty was reported in the accident. The fire was brought under control before it spread to the other rooms.

On February 5, 2018: A fire broke out inside the operation theatre of Thane Civil Hospital owing to a short circuit in the meter box. The hospital staff present in the room alerted the authorities after they saw smoke emanating from the meter box. No one was injured.

January 28, 2018: Five vehicles, including a blood collection van and delivery ambulance, caught fire after on the premises of Thane civil hospital. The fire started after someone set the garbage near these vehicles on fire.

Must for fire safety

Equipment required in hospitals, sanatoriums and nursing home to make them fire safe :

· Fire extinguishers

· Hose reel

· Wet riser or wet standpipe (pipes are kept permanently charged with water)

· Downcomer (internal hydrants charged with water)

· Yard hydrants

· Automatic sprinkler system

· Manually operated electrical fire alarm system

· Auto-detection and alarm system

· UG static water storage tank

· Terrace tank

· Pump at terrace tank

First Published: Jan 11, 2019 00:28 IST