Union Health Ministry & NDMA Issue Advisory on Hospital Fire Prevention

With the onset of summer bringing rising temperatures, the risk of hospital fires looms large. To avert potential tragedies, the Union Health Ministry and the National Disaster Management Authority (NDMA) have jointly issued an advisory to all States/UTs, emphasizing the urgent need for proactive measures to prevent such incidents. This press release was published on March 23, 2024.

The advisory underscores the necessity for State Health Departments and State Disaster Management Authorities to collaborate closely. They are directed to ensure that all accredited hospitals within their jurisdictions take immediate action on several fronts:

  1. Thorough Inspections: Conduct comprehensive fire safety audits and on-site inspections to assess compliance with fire safety measures. Ensure that firefighting systems are in place and fully functional, including alarms, extinguishers, hydrants, and fire lifts.
  2. Electrical Load Audits: Address concerns regarding insufficient electrical load capacity by conducting regular audits, especially when new equipment is added or spaces are converted into ICUs. Rectify any identified discrepancies promptly.
  3. Fire NOC Compliance: Hospitals must strictly adhere to regulatory requirements and obtain valid fire No-Objection Certificates (NOCs) from state fire departments. Focus on recalibrating electrical loads in older buildings constructed before the adoption of fire safety norms.

Chief Secretaries of all States and UTs have been provided with detailed instructions outlining the steps and measures hospitals must undertake to ensure fire safety compliance.

These instructions include:

  • Regular inspection and maintenance of firefighting systems.
  • Scheduled electrical load audits.
  • Strict control measures for oxygen safety.
  • Installation of smoke detectors and fire alarms.
  • Control of combustible materials and use of non-combustible alternatives.
  • Adherence to the National Building Code and obtaining Fire Safety NOCs.
  • Comprehensive staff training and evacuation plans.

States/UTs are urged to conduct follow-up reviews to ensure the effective implementation of these critical safety measures. By prioritizing fire safety protocols, hospitals can mitigate the risk of devastating fires and ensure the safety of patients, staff, and visitors alike.