Dysfunctional fire safety at Gandhi Hospital exposed

The minor fire at Gandhi Hospital on Wednesday night points to, again, dysfunctional fire safety equipment there. Hose reels and fire extinguishers are either missing or damaged. Officials from the hospital said that they have submitted proposals to replace the equipment. However, such proposals were tabled many times in the past but the there is no result.

On Wednesday night, a minor fire broke out in linen room on third floor of the main building. The origin of the fire was electrical. It was extinguished before it spread to other rooms. Such accidents occurred in many parts of the hospital in the past.

On any given day, thousands of patients, attendants, doctors, nurses, staff and others will be at the hospital, which calls for functional fire safety equipment.

While hose boxes are intact, fire hoses which are missing are not replaced. Hose reels are damaged, and required number of fire extinguisher cylinders are not available. The situation is the same on the third floor where the minor fire occurred on Wednesday night.

Hospital superintendent M Raja Rao said that he had submitted proposals to re-install the measures which costs around ₹2.5 crore.

Besides the measures, a proposed fire station at the hospital did not materialize yet. In the beginning of 2020, officials of the State Health department and Telangana State Disaster Response and Fire Services department said that fire stations would start functioning at the tertiary care centre in a few weeks. Works in this direction were apace. However, it came to a halt owing to COVID-19 pandemic.

Officials of the Fire Services department said that only minor works were pending. A shed was already constructed.

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