Vizag Hospitals sitting on powder keg?

Many multi- speciality hospitals lack minimum fire safety measures like sand buckets and fire extinguishers even in busy sections like the maternity wards 

VISAKHAPATNAM: The managements don’t seem to learn from major fire mishap at  hospitals in the past. Not to be outdone the SUM Hospital in Bhubaneswar, only 24 out of 146 registered hospitals in the city have ‘No Objection Certificates’ (NOCs) from the fire department of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC).

The King George Hospital and other government hospitals are seen negligent in maintaining the fire safety norms. The KGH where at least 1,000 to 1,200 patients are reported daily, is ill-equipped with fire safety equipment. Apart from the super speciality block, one can hardly see proper fire safety equipment in any other block or department. Many blocks do not even have sand buckets which is mandatory to fight fire during an emergency. Particularly, the crowded  wards like the maternity, children’s ward and few others are prone to fire mishaps.
“People talk of fire safety like a day’s weather but no concrete action takes place. The talk will be louder when there is a major accident but everything is forgotten after sometime.

The Bhubaneswar fire accident is reminder about the safety aspects in local hospitals. If a fire breaks out in the KGH, then fighting it will be a mammoth task,” said Manikyalu, a patient’s relative and resident of S Rayavaram mandal.

According to the fire department and authorities of the GVMC, there should be enough space between the halls, proper staircases, ramps, which is the basic norm.

“During fire accidents the alarm systems play a major role in evacuation of patients, which many private hospitals lack,” said a GVMC official. Fire fighting in the first five to 10 minutes will be crucial.  “The authorities should just use the basic equipment like extinguishers, sand and water to douse the flames. If the fire is brought under control in the first five minutes, then disaster could be averted,” said an official from the fire department of the GVMC.
Sources said that not only government hospitals, many posh and renowned hospitals in Visakhapatnam even do not have a NOC.

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