None of them has the mandatory no objection certificate from the Fire Department
A major fire accident was averted recently at an operation theatre in King George Hospital, State’s biggest government hospital, with the timely intervention of the staff present.
In 2017, the entire paediatric ward of Victoria General Hospital or popularly known as Gosha Hospital in the city was gutted. Luckily, there were no casualties and injuries, owing to the brave rescue effort put up by the staff again.
Visiting the Gosha Hospital, the then Health Minister Kamineni Srinivas, and HRD Minister Ganta Srinivasa Rao, promised to get fire fighting equipment installed and obtain the fire NOC. But so far, there has been no move in that direction, and what is astonishing is that none of the government hospitals in the district has fire NOC.
In the district, there are about 291 hospitals; of them 38 are government hospitals and of which 20 are in GVMC limits.
None of the 38, including the 20 in the GVMC limits, has fire NOC, said Regional Fire Safety Officer GVMC E. Swamy.
And of the 253 private hospitals, 213 have not obtained the NOC.
Hospitals are not only ones that are flouting the fire safety norms. When it comes to function halls, 85% have not obtained fire NOC. In Visakhapatnam GVMC limits, there are about 98 function halls and of them 45 are government owned.
All the 45 do not have fire NOC and only a few private ones have got it, said Mr. Swamy.
It is only the schools and colleges that have stuck to the norms, thanks to the strict enforcement of the DEO and officers from the higher education department.
In Visakhapatnam, there are about 281 recognised schools and 199 colleges and about 95% have adhered to the norms, he said.
Coming to the cinemas, multiplexes and shopping malls, almost all have the required fire fighting equipment in place and have obtained the NOC from the department, but what is observed is that the fire exits remained locked.
“This should not be the case. But owners say they close the exits due to security reasons,” said an officer from the Fire Services Department.
Main cause of fire
The main cause of fire in almost all the cases is electrical short circuit.Be it AMRI, SUM, Gosha or for that matter the recent one in KGH, the cause was said to be electrical short circuit. To cut corners, contractors do not use star-rated electrical wiring and instruments. Due to poor quality, the wires and instruments are not able to take the heavy load and it results in fire accidents, said K. Leela Prasad of Fire and Security Association of India.
The fire fighting equipment primarily depends on the type of occupancy (school, hospital etc) and the height of the building. National Building Code has clearly laid out norms basing on the occupancy, purpose and height, said Mr. Swamy.
For buildings below 15 m height, the GVMC or similar corporations in other cities are responsible to issue the NOC after survey. Beyond 15 m, which are considered to be high rise, the Department of Fire Services is responsible for issuance of NOC.
Giving an example for hospitals above 10 m, Mr. Swamy said the basic requirements are sufficient number of extinguishers in each floor, hose reels on each floor, landing walls, automatic smoke detectors, sprinklers, 10,000 litres terrace tank, 50,000 litres underground tank, 1620 lpp pump and jockey pump.
Date: July 5, 2018
Source: The Hindu