THIRUVANANTHAPURAM: To check the efficiency of the Fire and Rescue Department and other trained staff of Thycaud Mother and Children’s Hospital to deal with an immediate fire outbreak was the objective behind convening a mock fire fighting drill at the hospital.
But the drill itself ended as a mockery after the hospital administration and Fire and Rescue Services Department failed to coordinate the drill, and as a result an ambulance and a fire- fighting unit ended up waiting at the rare side of the hospital without gaining an entry into the hospital premises,delaying the drill by more than 40 minutes.
The mock drill to fight fire was scheduled here, to obtain a first hand information on how effective the recently trained staff were adept in dealing with a sudden fire outbreak in the hospital which exclusively caters to the need of women and children.
The event was conducted under the watchful eyes of the quality assurance coordinators attached to Health Service Department.
The programme also had another serious dimension to it, as the institution was closing in on the achievement of being the first public hospital in the district to obtain accreditation from National Accreditation Board for Hospitals (NABH).
The drill which was originally scheduled for Wednesday afternoon at 2.30 pm, began only by 3.15 pm due to the lack of communication between the Fire and Rescue Department and hospital officials.
As a result, the fire-fighting team led by assistant station officer Ajay T K and a 108 ambulance which had reached the back entrance of the hospital to enter the premises, ended up waiting without gaining an entry into the hospital premises, delaying the drill by more than 40 minutes.
The details of the drill were already informed to the patients and this led to the gathering of a good number of patients and bystanders near the fifth-ward were the drill was to be conducted. A minor fire was created in the fifth-ward and the fire fighting team put it out in less than five minutes.
Ajay, who was in charge of the drill said that these sort of lapses were common in mock drills as it helps in identifying the flaws.
“The rear entrance was closed by the hospital officials to avoid unwanted visitors. During a real crisis situation we would break open the locks. But the location being a hospital we just waited and took our time to enter the premises,” he said.
Ushakumari B, the Superintendent of the hospital said that such a situation during the drill has made them aware of such flaws and would enable them to rectify them. Around 55 staffs were trained to handle a fire outbreak using gadgets like extinguishers and fire plan.
“We expect NABH team to visit the hospital next month. So we have upgraded every aspect of the hospital including fire- fighting.
The new building has been armed with extinguishers. The details of the drill were recorded and would be reported to the safety committee set up by the hospital itself,” she said.