28 percent hospitals in Pune fail fire audit

This is the third fire audit in the city since the pandemic began.

Credit : Representational image

Of the 218 COVID hospitals within the limits of Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC), the Pune Fire Department has issued notices to 61 hospitals regarding inadequacies in the fire safety equipment. The audit holds importance considering the rising number of COVID patients in the city and instances of hospital fires across the state.

“This is the third fire audit we have conducted in the city since the beginning of the pandemic. However, this is the first time that we have tried to include almost all, government as well as private, hospitals in the audit. Our focus was on identifying problems with the fire fighting systems at these hospitals,” Prashant Ranpise, Chief Fire Officer, Pune Fire Department told Indie Journal.

While a fire safety system exists in most of the hospitals, Ranpise said that the system was either inefficient or non-functional in many. “Maximum of these are private hospitals. Some don’t have the required arrangements for the use of hoses, some don’t have an automated fire extinguisher system installed,” he added. These hospitals have been given a week’s notice to rectify all the inadequacies.

Two hospital fires have shaken Maharashtra, both in Mumbai’s vicinity, since the beginning of the second wave of coronavirus pandemic. Around 20 patients admitted at these hospitals lost their lives in the fire. Even last year, a fire at a special intensive care unit at Bhandara district hospital had killed 10 infants. The Bombay High Court took cognizance of these fire accidents in hospitals in the state on Thursday. The court also said that fire audits have to be carried out in all hospitals with immediate effect.

Ranpise also added that apart from the audit, the fire department also trains the staff at the Pune hospitals in fire fighting and fire safety practices. “Staff at all hospitals has been provided with the necessary training. We have fire vehicles stationed outside both the Jumbo COVID hospitals in the city, at Shivajinagar and Baner, and we also train the staff there every week,” he added.