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Wednesday, December 14, 2011

India:Fire audit for top govt hosps

Health Min Seeks Report From AIIMS, Six Others Within A Week

Kounteya Sinha TNN 

New Delhi: Seven of India's top government hospitals, including the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS), will conduct a thorough fire audit and submit a report to the Union health ministry within a week. 
    A day after a devastating fire at AMRI in Kolkata claimed 91 lives, most of whom were patients undergoing treatment there; the ministry cracked the whip to ensure that the government-run hospitals have fool-proof fire safety measures in place. 
    Union health secretary P K Pradhan wrote a letter to all directors and medical superintendents of premier government hospitals like AIIMS, JIPMER, NIMHANS, Lady Hardinge Medical College, Safdarjung Hospital, Ram Manohar Lohia Hospital and PGI, Chandigarh, asking them to 
conduct fire audits and mock drills and submit a report within a week. 
    "The government hospitals cater to millions of patients a day. Hence, we don't want to take any chances. We have asked all our top hospitals to complete a full-fledged fire audit and a fire drill. Once the 
reports come, we will fill the gaps. All institutes have been told to carry out fire safety training for its staff," Pradhan told TOI. 
    AIIMS director Dr R C Deka said that a committee, which includes engineers and doctors headed by the medical superintendent has been 
formed to check the fire safety standards of all the buildings in the AIIMS' premises. 
    Dr Deka said, "From Monday, the committee will look into the state of fire safety and preparedness of all the buildings, most of which were constructed around 1956. Though we don't face a fire hazard risk, we want to check our preparedness in the light of the terrible incident in Kolkata." 
    According to Pradhan, one of the fire safety requirements is that there needs to be a gap of six metres between buildings inside AIIMS. "This could be a problem. However, all other shortcomings, if any, will be taken care of," he said. 
    RML Hospital too sprung into action on Saturday. RML director Dr T S Sidhu said that mock drills and fire audits of all the buildings would be completed by Tuesday, and the report would be submitted to the ministry the following day.

A child participates in a candlelight memorial service held in Kolkata on Saturday for victims of the devastating fire at AMRI hospital


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