CHENNAI: All high-rise hospital buildings will hereafter have ramps for easy evacuation of patients in case of fire. The Chennai Metropolitan Development Authority (CMDA) framed the draft rules under special provisions for hospital buildings.
This comes after a PIL was moved by social activist Jawaharlal Shanmugham in the Madras HC. The court in response directed that a comprehensive viable proposal be worked out.
Shanmugham, who was a former chief hospital administrator at Ramachandra Hospital, said that most of the hospital buildings in the city failed to give importance to the safety of people or the patients.
Thanking the Chief Justice S K Kaul for issuing the directive, Shanmugham said the final government policy was more or less identical to health secretary J Radhakrishnan’s recommendations and lauded the government for taking a serious look at a very sensitive issue.
The CMDA made a change to the approved second master plan and sent the draft for government approval. The CMDA in its modified regulations highlighted that the setback space around the building should have access for fire fighting vehicles.
Citing setback specifications on account of the height of the building, the CMDA draft regulation stated there should be no obstruction such as fountains, statues, flower pots or ramps in the setback area to allow movement of vehicles or patients during an emergency.
It also specified the width and slope of the ramp which should be provided in all hospital buildings. The CMDA also emphasised that fire lifts should be available which could be run on battery during an emergency.
The move was hailed by Smitha Sadasivam working for the NGO, Vidyasagar. Smitha said ramps were necessary in a hospital. She said a study done in 2014 had highlighted that most of the hospitals did not have ramps, and persons with disabilities could not even access the toilets or wards.
The monitoring panel member MG Deivasahayam also hailed the CMDA move. “It is a welcome step for the safety of patients,” he said.