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Union Health Ministry stresses fire safety compliance in healthcare facilities in Delhi


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Fire safety protocols in Indian hospitals

As reported by Delhi’s Ministry of Health and Family Welfare, the Union Health Ministry has reiterated the importance of adhering to strict regulatory protocols and fire-safety norms in healthcare facilities across India.

This comes in the wake of recent fire incidents caused by short-circuits due to sub-optimal electrical maintenance and overload of electricity lines from air-conditioners and other equipment.

The Ministry highlighted the necessity of establishing robust fire safety plans and conducting regular fire-evacuation and safety drills.

These measures aim to ensure compliance with regulatory requirements and safeguard lives and property.

Regular preventive fire risk assessments have been advised, particularly during the summer months when temperatures escalate and fire threats in hospitals become more pronounced.

Review meeting outcomes

On 29 May 2024, a review meeting was held under the co-chairmanship of the Additional Secretary (Public Health and Policy) and the Director General of Health Services, Dte.GHS, involving representatives from all States/UTs.

The meeting addressed the tragic fire accident at a private health facility in Delhi.

The meeting saw participation from 15 representatives of State Health Departments and around 390 Health Care Organizations.

Key outcomes included the need for strict compliance with fire safety norms and rigorous periodic assessments of all health facilities.

States and UTs were also advised to ensure better coordination with Public Works Departments (PWDs) and local fire departments to obtain timely fire safety No Objection Certificates (NOCs).

Emphasising coordination and fire safety compliance

The Ministry stressed the importance of coordination between healthcare facilities and fire safety authorities.

A checklist on the ‘Prevention and Maintenance of Fire Safety’ was distributed to all States/UTs, with a request for health facilities to complete and return it.

This checklist aims to identify potentially vulnerable areas and improve fire safety measures.

Additionally, the Ministry urged all States/UTs to ensure stricter compliance with regulatory protocols and conduct regular mock-drills on fire safety.

Feedback from macro-level assessments will be used to enhance these drills, ensuring that healthcare facilities are better prepared for fire emergencies.

Recommendations for healthcare organisations

Healthcare organisations were reminded of the critical need for strict adherence to fire safety protocols.

The Ministry emphasised that safeguarding the safety and wellbeing of patients, staff, and visitors is paramount.

Regular fire-evacuation drills and preventive measures are essential components of a robust fire safety plan.

The recent directives aim to enhance the overall safety standards in healthcare facilities across India, mitigating the risks associated with fire hazards and ensuring a safer environment for all.

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