Fire-fighters rescuing people trapped during the fire at ESIC Hospital on December 17 last year

Mumbai: Fire brigade to crack down on civic hospitals

By Chetna Yerunkar | Mumbai

Updated: Jan 18, 2019, 08:47 IST

After blaze at ESIC hospital, fire dept personnel to conduct fire audit and inspect safety equipment at these hospital

After the fire at the ESIC Hospital in Marol last month, the Fire Brigade wants to ensure civic hospital buildings are safe. Fire department personnel will soon visit the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation's (BMC) hospitals to conduct a fire audit and check the safety equipment there. This will be followed by an awareness programme in civic and private hospitals. They are also preparing a module for training to be imparted to hospital staff.

Priority to govt hospitals
A senior civic official said, "The government hospitals will be taken up on priority considering the high number of footfalls there, and then we will move on to private hospitals for awareness." The fire broke out at ESIC hospital and killed 11 people, mainly due to smoke as the hospital had limited emergency exits, and ongoing repairs proved to be a hindrance during fire-fighting. What came as a surprise to Mumbai Fire Brigade officials, was the negligence on part of the administration and contractors who did not take necessary precautions. The smoke travelled fast and completely engulfed a majority of the hospital area, said sources.

Training for volunteers
While several government hospitals were constructed before the stringent fire safety norms were put in place, keeping staircases and exits free of obstacles is one thing that will be checked, as it is crucial during rescue operations. The fire officials said that it is the job of the owner and occupier of structures to get them audited biannually. In the awareness programme, the fire cell will be involved in training several volunteers on what to do in case of fire. RA Chaudhari, deputy chief fire officer (Technical), said, "We are preparing an awareness programme and will also carry out training sessions for hospital staff."

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