Only 24 of 1.1K nursing homes in Delhi have requisite fire clearances | Latest News Delhi - Hindustan Times
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Only 24 of 1.1K nursing homes in Delhi have requisite fire clearances

May 28, 2024 01:34 AM IST

The checks come against the backdrop of a fire at New Born Baby Care Hospital in Vivek Vihar, which left six newborns dead and five others injured

Only 24 of an estimated 1,100 nursing homes in the national capital have a fire safety certificate, officials of the fire department said on Monday, citing a failure by such facilities to apply for a NOC (no-objection certificate) and depending solely on a DGHS (directorate general of health services) licence for operations.

The site of fire at Vivek Vihar, on Monday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)
The site of fire at Vivek Vihar, on Monday. (Arvind Yadav/HT Photo)

Most suffer from problems of crowding, congestion, lack of fire exits and electric faults, according to applications rejected by the fire department, officials said.

A fire officer from the provisions wing said, “There are a total of 1,100 nursing homes that are on our radar. There can be other illegal establishments. But these are the total nursing homes which cater to children, elderly and other patients. These are 9 metres and above in height. Of these total, only 24 have a licence. Others either didn’t apply or were rejected by us.”

The checks come against the backdrop of a fire at New Born Baby Care Hospital in Vivek Vihar, which left six newborns dead and five others injured. Delhi Police said the hospital owner, Dr Naveen Khichi, did not have a DGHS licence or a fire department NOC, but said that the fire NOC was not required as the building was shorter than nine metres. However, fire department officials said Khichi failed to keep on hand fire safety equipment, ensure fire exits and install enough windows for ventilation or escape.

Delhi children hospital fire: Owner ran three hospitals without licence

On Monday, Delhi fire services (DFS) chief Atul Garg shared a list of 196 hospitals and nursing homes which have fire safety certificates. Of the total, only 24 have fire safety clearances. They are mainly located in Connaught Place, Greater Kailash, Safdarjung Enclave, Dwarka, Uttam Nagar, Nirman Vihar, Preet Vihar, Mayur Vihar, Shahdara and Jyoti Nagar.

“We allow facilities to reapply for permission. All they need is appropriate building structure and fire safety measures in place. Most of the violations include crowding. Even in Vivek Vihar, the nursing home had a small room and put all 12 babies together. There were no proper windows and machines were around. This was very risky for the babies. They endangered lives…” the provisions wing officer said.

DFS officials said that a fire NOC has to be renewed every three years, following inspections.

According to DFS data, there were 11 incidents of fire in hospitals and nursing homes in the city till May 26 (Sunday), which, on average, amounts to two incidents per month. Last year, there were fire incidents in 36 hospitals, and in 2022, the number of fire incidents in hospitals was 30.

Delhi hospital fire: Baby care centre owner, doctor on duty during blaze, sent to police custody

Overall, 55 people died and 304 were injured or safely rescued in 8,912 fire calls till May 26, 2024, much more than the 36 fatalities and 188 injuries and rescues from 6,436 calls in the corresponding period of 2023.

On February 26, a fire broke out in the emergency block of Lok Nayak Hospital due to a short circuit. Timely action by fire tenders contained the blaze, and patients were kept safe on the premises in the emergency ward.

On June 9, 2023, at least 19 infants were safely rescued from a fire that broke out in the basement of a three-storey building being used to run an infant care centre at Vaishali Colony, Dwarka. Nine fire tenders were used to douse the fire and there was no injury.

Earlier this year, more than 100 patients were shifted to other wards after a major fire broke out on the second floor of the All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS). The floor was reported from the old OPD building, which has a teaching block and endoscopy room. All patients were evacuated safely.

A senior fire official said that firefighting in hospitals and nursing homes is difficult and tricky when compared to such incidents in other establishments, because the evacuation process is complicated.

“Our firefighters are trained for evacuation and firefighting. It becomes difficult for them when they have to save the lives of patients at hospitals on their own because they do not know which patient is suffering from what ailments and how critical his or her condition is,” the officer said.

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