Union Health Ministry Emphasizes Fire Safety in Hospitals

The Ministry of Health and Family Welfare (MoHFW) has called for scrutiny of fire safety measures in hospitals across the country following a series of fire incidents attributed to electrical issues. This press release was published on June 3, 2024.

Recent hospital fires, linked to faulty electrical systems and overloaded circuits from air conditioners, have highlighted the critical need for improved fire safety protocols.

To safeguard patients, staff, and visitors, the Ministry is urging states and union territories (UTs) to prioritize fire safety initiatives. This includes the following measures:

  • Regular Fire Risk Assessments: States/ UTs must conduct routine assessments to identify potential fire hazards.
  • Robust Fire Safety Plans: Implementing comprehensive fire safety plans will ensure proper response and evacuation procedures in case of emergencies.
  • Fire Drills: Conducting regular fire drills will familiarize staff and patients with evacuation routes and safety protocols.

The Ministry has repeatedly emphasized the importance of fire safety during summer months, when hospitals are more susceptible to fire risks.

Additionally, a recent meeting co-chaired by senior health officials reviewed fire safety practices and propounded the following outcomes:

  • Strict adherence to fire safety regulations with regular assessments was emphasized.
  • Improved coordination between health departments, public works departments (PWDs), and local fire departments was advised to expedite obtaining fire safety certificates (NOCs).
  • A checklist on fire safety prevention and maintenance was shared with states/UTs for distribution and completion by all healthcare facilities.
  • States/UTs will ensure stricter compliance with fire safety regulations and conduct regular mock drills based on feedback from macro-level assessments.