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Health Ministry and NDMA Issue Joint Advisory to States on Preventing Hospital Fires Amid Rising Temperatures

As the mercury climbs during the summer months, the risk of hospital fires looms large. In a proactive move to curb this threat, the Union Health Ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have jointly issued an advisory to all States/Union Territories (UTs) emphasizing the urgent need for preventive measures.

The advisory, directed at State Health Departments and State Disaster Management Authorities, outlines crucial steps to be taken:

Thorough Inspections: Hospitals must undergo comprehensive fire safety audits to ensure compliance with regulations. This includes assessing the functionality of fire-fighting systems such as alarms, detectors, extinguishers, hydrants, and lifts.

Electrical Load Audits: Addressing the issue of inadequate electrical load capacity is paramount. Hospitals are instructed to conduct regular audits and rectify any discrepancies, especially in areas like ICUs.

Fire NOC Compliance: Strict adherence to regulatory requirements, including obtaining valid fire No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) from state fire departments, is mandated.

Additionally, a detailed set of instructions has been provided to Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs for dissemination among accredited hospitals. These instructions encompass various measures to ensure fire safety compliance:

Regular Maintenance: Establishing maintenance schedules for fire safety equipment, including monthly checks and quarterly tests, is essential.

Oxygen Safety: Implementing strict policies regarding smoking and heat sources in areas with oxygen tanks or piped oxygen is crucial.

Combustible Material Control: Auditing hospital construction materials to replace combustible ones with non-combustible alternatives, especially in patient care areas, is advised.

Staff Training: Continuous training programs for staff on fire prevention and emergency procedures, along with bi-annual fire drills, are recommended.

Evacuation Plans: Developing comprehensive evacuation plans with clear escape routes and designated safe assembly areas is essential.

States/UTs are also urged to conduct follow-up reviews to ensure the effective implementation of these critical safety measures.

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