Fire safety norms go for a toss in W Odisha

Monday’s fire tragedy at SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar has exposed chinks in safety system at hospitals across State

Published: 19th October 2016 01:40 AM  |   Last Updated: 19th October 2016 04:22 AM   |  A+A-

Express News Service

SAMBALPUR:  None of the private nursing homes in Sambalpur is fire safety compliant and adhere the norms prescribed by the State Government last year.Only two private nursing homes out of 30 have applied for No Objection Certificate (NOC) for fire safety compliance.


In Balangir, none of the nursing homes is fire safety compliant, said Fire Officer Abani Kumar Swain. While all the hospitals have fire extinguishers, they do not work in absence of regular maintenance. Worse, medical staff are not trained to handle these facilities.


Secretary of Sambalpur Private Hospital and Nursing Home Association, Dr Purshottam Agrawal, said if the State Government decides to strictly implement the fire safety norms laid down by it last year, all the 1,770 private hospitals and nursing homes in the State will close down. The norms mandate sufficient space in a hospital/nursing home for movement of fire brigade, underground and overhead water tanks, installation of sprinklers and fitting of water hose to be run by generators.  A majority of the private hospitals and nursing homes were constructed before 2015 and hence cannot adhere to the space norms, he added. Besides, leaving vacant space in crowded places like Bhubaneswar, Cuttack, Rourkela and Sambalpur is not feasible. He, however, admitted installation of hose pipes for supply of water in case of fire, underground and overhead tanks can be addressed by all.   
The situation is equally grim in DHHs and VIMSAR, Burla. At the 1000-bed VIMSAR, fire extinguishers are only present in the ICU, Casualty Ward and five OTs. The hospital, however, is well ventilated.


The Sambalpur DHH, which has 268 beds, has no fire extinguishers or firefighting equipment. Surprisingly, Hospital Manager Sudip Kumar Dutta said they have sufficient extinguishers installed in the hospital, which also has several exit passages. “After SUM Hospital mishap, we have asked local fire officer to visit our hospital and suggest measures,” he added.


Even as the 165-bed Bhawanipatna DHH in Kalahandi district has 16 fire extinguishers, only one staff is trained to handle them. CDMO BK Brahma said more persons will be sent for training this year. ADMO (Medical) of 184-bed Balangir DHH, Daitari Sahu said there are 25 fire extinguishers and 15 security personnel have been trained in using them.

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