Raids to check fire safety measures in Odisha

The Odisha fire service have started an inspection of private hospitals and nursing homes in Nayagarh, Jagatsinghpur and Dhenkanal districts. On the first day, as many as 27 such establishments were inspected and most of these were found operating without adequate fire safety measures. Director-General of Police (Fire Service) Bijay Kumar Sharma said notices would be served to defaulters to comply with the fire safety measures within three months. “We have the power to seal and prosecute clinical establishments operating without the fire safety measures, according to the Odisha Fire Safety and Fire Prevention Rules. The inspection drive has been started to create alertness among other clinical establishments to adhere to the fire safety norms,” said Sharma.

The teams checked the validity of fire safety certificate, condition of fire fighting equipment and training of staff members to tackle fire eventualities. The officials, however, found most of the clinical establishments lacking adequate fire safety measures. “Only few of those have provisions of fire extinguishers, while others lack facilities such as smoke detection system, provision of water storage, staircases for evacuation and proper exit points,” said an official.

The issue of fire safety hogged the limelight in the wake of the fire tragedy at Sum Hospital in October last year. More than 25 people had died in the fire, which broke out in the intensive care unit and the dialysis word of the hospital. As many as 138 patients were rescued from there. The hospital had also been found ignoring the fire service recommendations for fire fighting measures in 2013. Sharma also said the drive would be extended to the government-run hospitals in the state. “Several government hospitals have also approached us seeking advice for fire safety measures. The aim of the inspection drive is to ensure that the safety of patients is not jeopardised,” he said.

Fire officials said the civil construction of clinical establishments held significance to tackle fire mishaps. “The design of building should be done with provisions of staircases and adequate entry and exit points. The hospitals must install water hydrants and other measures,” said a fire official.