Chennai hospitals go on a fire safety overdrive

Several government hospitals in Chennai are on an overdrive in putting in place fire safety measures. Connecting corridors and ramps for easy evacuation of patients are coming up at some major hospitals, while works to install fire hydrant systems and fire alarms are also progressing. The Health Department has taken up the measures to strengthen fire-fighting and evacuation arrangements following a directive from the Madras High Court nearly two years ago.

While most of the new buildings fulfil the requirements, the works are mostly being taken up in older blocks. The works are in different stages of completion at the Rajiv Gandhi Government General Hospital (RGGGH), the Government Stanley Medical College Hospital, the Government Kilpauk Medical College (KMC) Hospital, the Institute of Child Health and Hospital for Children (ICH), the Institute of Obstetrics and Gynaecology, and the Government Hospital for Women and Children.

At the RGGGH, funds to the tune of ₹3.2 crore were sanctioned for constructing ramps at the cardiology, cardiothoracic and orthopaedics blocks and the work is on, said its Dean R. Jayanthi. While there is already a connecting corridor between Tower Block I and II, a new corridor connecting the urology-nephrology block and specialities block will be constructed, she said.

Another ₹3.7 crore was sanctioned for the RGGGH. “This includes construction of separate sumps for storing water for extinguishing fire, fire extinguishers and other requirements mandated by norms. These measures are progressing at the cardiology, cardiothoracic, neurology, orthopaedics and specialities blocks and nearly 50% works have been completed,” she said. Fire alarms and sprinklers have been installed in all buildings.

The Government Stanley Medical College Hospital recently purchased 260 fire extinguishers, Dean S. Ponnambala Namasivayam said. “Generators and transformers should be installed on elevated civil structures and not on the ground-level to prevent untoward incidents during floods. Such elevated structures are being constructed in 15 spots at the hospital, and the work is in various stages of completion,” he said.