VISAKHAPATNAM: A day after 10 infants were killed in a fire accident at a hospital in Bhandara city of Maharashtra, the fire wing of Greater Visakhapatnam Municipal Corporation (GVMC) has issued notices to several hospitals, including government ones, over their failure in adhering to fire safety norms.
Shockingly, King George Hospital, the premier teaching hospital in north Andhra having 1,100 beds, does not have an NOC (no-objection certificate) from GVMC’s fire unit. The hospital has a 200-bed paediatric wing that has 40 intensive care units (ICUs).
KGH superintendent Dr. P. Mythili, however, informed Deccan Chronicle n Sunday that modern fire safety equipment is being installed in all wards, including the paediatric wing. All fire safety norms will be in place within a few days. The work would have been completed much earlier if not for the Covid-19 pandemic.
GVMC regional fire officer Niranjan Reddy said notices had been issued to over 40 hospitals in August last year and 20 hospitals recently. “We have not issued any notice to KGH since its anti-fire installation works are nearing completion,’’ he maintained.
Reddy admitted that there are over 250 hospitals within the jurisdiction of GVMC, which have no fire NOCs. The civic body’s fire officials had recently conducted a survey in view of Covid-19 and served notices to hospitals with no adequate fire-safety measures. He said major designated Coronavirus hospitals are adhering to fire safety norms but need to conduct mock drills at regular intervals.
He pointed out that after notices were issued in August last year, 60 hospitals, including 10 dental ones, obtained NOCs. However, 200 hospitals are yet to respond. Letters have been sent to the government for initiating action against these hospitals, said the fire officer of GVMC, which is responsible for supervising safety measures at hospitals below 15 metres in height.
It may be recalled that a major fire accident had been averted in an operation theatre of King George Hospital with timely intervention of staff. In another incident, the entire paediatric ward of port city’s Victoria General Hospital, popular as Gosha Hospital, was gutted. Here too, there were no casualties due to immediate evacuation by the staff.
There are about 340 hospitals, including private and government, in the entire Vizag region. Only 80 of them have fire NOCs. Over 250, including 20 government hospitals, have not obtained the NOC so far, Niranjan Reddy added....