Hospitals in Karnataka slow to carry out fire safety audit


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Only 44 out of 166 government hospitals in Karnataka, a state in the south western region of India, have completed a fire safety audit within the two week period set out by Prime Minister Narendra Modi as fire accidents have been on the rise sue to summer heat, according to reports.

Modi spoke at a video conference with Chief Ministers on 27 April suggesting that all states conduct fire safety audits. Over two weeks since the Health Department directed 16 district and 150 taluk hospitals to complete the audit, only 27% have completed the exercise. The May 21 deadline has now been extended until the end of the month.

To aid he process, the Health Department approved ₹82 lakh for the fire audits of 166 hospitals (at ₹50,000 each hospital) under the National Health Mission (NHM), relasing the funds on May 18.

State Health Commissioner Randeep D. attributed the slow action to procedural delays: “Funds have been released to the 166 hospitals and the DHOs have been asked to facilitate the audit of hospitals in their districts by the end of this month. So far, 44 hospitals have completed the audits,” he said.

“The recent incidents of fire accidents in hospitals have reinforced the need for compliance with fire safety measures in hospitals across the State,” he added.

Commenting on fire safety in hospitals, C.N. Manjunath, director of the State-run Sri Jayadeva Institute of Cardiovascular Sciences and Research, said: “Hospitals have a multitude of flammable materials, each with different degrees of combustibility, each reacting differently to heat and fire.

“It is mandatory for hospitals to have smoke detectors, fire extinguishers, a fire escape route plan, fire exit LED signages with two hours power backup, fluorescent arrow directions and adequate space for fire tenders to operate.”

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