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TN Fire and Rescue Services conduct fire audits at COVID-19 hospitals

The TNFRS is also holding workshops to train hospital staff on safety measures

The Tamil Nadu Fire and Rescue Services (TNFRS) has started conducting audits of hospitals treating COVID-19 patients in the State, to ensure all fire safety norms are in place.

The TNFRS officials have inspected over 100 hospitals in the last few months and have given a check-list for the hospitals to follow in order to avert fire accidents.

The spike in COVID-19 cases has left the healthcare system strained, and even a small oversight in safety can lead to a massive fire and the death of patients. “Many fire accidents in temporary COVID-19 care centres and hospitals treating them in different parts of the country were reported recently. Most of the accidents that happened in Mumbai, Vijayawada, Rajkot, happened early in the morning or late at night when there was no one to notice the fire. This led to many deaths. Hence we wanted to ensure that hospitals in the State are safe,” said a senior TNFRS officer.

During the audit, the TNFRS officers educated the staff on common lapses in hospital safety. “This includes non-maintenance of fire safety installations, overloading of electrical installations and fires that happen due to leakage or burst of medical gas. We also spoke about measures we can take towards building a safe environment for the patients and occupants in the hospital so that we can avert any disaster,” said the officer.

Besides, workshops are also conducted regularly for the COVID-19 hospitals. “What makes a hospital fire worse is that the victims are often restricted in movement thereby slowing down the evacuation process. The medical equipment, supplies and services are combustible and this makes the training of staff a crucial element to deal with any disaster and confining a fire to ensure it does not spread,” the officer explained.

During one such workshop held on Friday, case studies of various hospital fires were presented. A presentation on maintenance of fire safety installations was presented by S. Vijayasekhar, additional director, TNFRS. The topic of electrical safety was dealt with by Gopakumar, member, National and International Standardisation and Ravi Shankar, an authorised medical gas verifier, spoke on medical gases safety and handling.

C. Sylendra Babu, director, TNFRS delivered the inaugural address for the workshop. Priya Ravichandran, joint director, TNFRS Northern Region, was also present. Representatives of around 110 COVID-19 hospitals attended the workshop.

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