Government has directed the administration in all the 24 districts of the State to share details of “actions taken” to ensure fire safety at Covid hospitals, health officials said on Thursday.
A letter addressed by National Health Mission (NHM) Director Ravi Shankar Shukla to all the Deputy Commissioners stated that the districts should submit details regarding the measures taken for monthly fire safety audit of all Covid hospitals, appointment of nodal officers for fire safety in each of the Covid hospitals and ensuring fire safety NOC for the hospitals.
The “action taken report” on compliance of fire safety norms in Covid hospitals will be shared by the districts with the health department in a virtual meeting scheduled on June 12, officials said.
“As per the Supreme Court’s directive, all Covid hospitals will have to appoint a nodal officer for fire safety and conduct fire safety audit every month to avoid any lapses in future,” said the nodal officer for health department’s Information, Education and Communication (IEC) wing, Dr Siddharth Tripathi.
The apex court in December last year directed all the States to conduct fire safety audit of Covid hospitals and ensure that all such facilities get fire safety NOC from the concerned fire department within a month. Many High Courts too have reiterated the SC order amid a rise in fire incidents at Covid care facilities across India.
Several fire incidents have caused death of patients in many Covid hospitals across India in the past couple of months, highlight media reports. At least 24 fire incidents at hospitals have killed around 93 people, mostly Covid patients, since the Covid-19 pandemic hit India last year, highlight media reports.
Most of the fire incidents were reported from Maharashtra and Gujarat, leading to suo moto cognizance taken by the High Courts of the two States.
However, no major fire incident at Covid hospitals have been reported in Jharkhand since March 2020, when the deadly virus made its entry in the State, officials said. As per Government records, at least 15 hospitals in the State were running full-fledged Covid care facilities with ventilators and Intensive Care Units (ICUs).
Officials said hospitals with ventilator facilities were prone to fire incidents due to short circuits. Covid facilities were also prone to fire breakouts due to “overburden” on the hospitals running with limited resources, they added.