Ensuring safety of hospitals
As the covid pandemic wrecked havoc during the second wave in most of the states the need for hospitalization of people has increased tremendously putting a huge burden on the healthcare infrastructure.
The overload exposed various loopholes and one such was the compromises made over the fire safety in various hospitals that have emerged as a major cushion to fight the covid pandemic.
Thought the issue of ensuring fire safety measures in hospitals was taken up by the Supreme Court last year as it even issued directions to all the states and UT’s to constitute a committee in each district to conduct fire audit of COVID-19 hospitals at least once a month. The committees were tasked to inform the management of medical establishment about any deficiency and report to the government for taking follow up action.
Fire safety in Covid and other hospitals has been ignored over the years as the medical facilities including the management has been under tremendous strain owing to the covid-19 outbreak and the stress the healthcare facilities were dealing with.
The fact remains that most of the protocols that have to be followed while ensuring fire safety in hospitals have been ignored and last year the authorities were so much overstressed that they had no time to think about this facility in the hospitals.
The rush and footfall in the hospitals increased so tremendously that the administration in many cases did not even get the no objection certificates from the fire departments as well. That being the reason that the apex court also directed the officials to get the pending NOC’s immediately after getting the necessary inspection done by the fire service officials.
Ensuring that all hospitals are made to follow the protocols to ensure fire safety rules are being adhered to, the administration should direct all the officials in the health sector to update their respective local building bye laws/fire services and synchronise all the hospital buildings in line of Model Bill on maintenance of fire and emergency service, 2019′. For this the Ministry of Home Affairs has issued a detailed circular in September last year.
While the fire safety norms have been flouted in most of the hospital buildings in Jammu and Kashmir, the fact remains that ignoring the safety measures can prove to be a costly affair in case of any mishap.
This stands true for both Jammu and Kashmir divisions where authorities need to wake up and get all the necessary rules and regulations in place and ensure that all the measures required for ensuring fire safety are not only followed but those violating them be booked for criminal negligence.
This will ensure that officials who are responsible for ensuring these measures do not take their job lightly as their negligence can prove deadly in case of a mishap.
Interestingly, the divisional administration in Jammu and Srinagar issued directions for ensuring fire safety norms in hospitals but the directions need strict follow-up as well so that these measures are taken seriously.