Mumbai: Sunrise Hospital tragedy yet again raises safety concerns

Fire at the COVID -19 hospital in the Dreams Mall has yet again raised the question mark over the fire safety.

After 10 newborns had died in the Bhandara district general hospital, both CM Uddhav Thackeray and DCM Ajit Pawar had announced the fire audit at the government and private hospitals. But no fire audit was done in the Sunrise Hospital nor was there any adequate fire safety equipment as per the stipulated norms.

As far as Sunrise Hospital is concerned, the BrihanMumbai Municipal Corporation’s (BMC) fire department found out that the management had not paid enough attention to put in place fire safety equipment and also earmarked the space for quick evacuation. The fire alarm and smoke detection system were not active. It was also found that compartmentation where by rooms or wards are segregated with fire walls was not done. The compartmentation is necessary to prevent the penetration of smoke or heat in other rooms or wards.

This is not all, the installation of additional safety equipment has not been done in hospitals coming under the jurisdiction of the state Public Health Department even after it was recommended after conducting a fire audit. The Public Health Department has passed the buck on the Public Work Department for slow pace of work and also because of lack of availability of sufficient funds to install necessary fire safety gadgets.

After the orders from the chief minister and his deputy, the fire audit was done in 425 of the total 512 hospitals under the jurisdiction of the Public Health Department. The department had prepared a proposal for the installation of necessary fire safety equipment in 337 hospitals. Of these 337 hospitals, the Public Work Department had prepared a proposal of 156 hospitals costing Rs 43 crore. Ironically, work has not been started as on date.

The Public Health Department has estimated a cost of Rs 300 crore for the installation of fire safety equipment in all hospitals.

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