Fire safety compliance lacking in majority of Pune hospitals

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In Pune, a concerning reality has come to light regarding the adherence to fire safety regulations in hospitals, particularly private clinics and healthcare facilities. Despite the critical importance of fire safety, a significant number of hospitals under both the Pune Municipal Corporation (PMC) and Pimpri Chinchwad Municipal Corporation (PCMC) are operating without the necessary Fire NOC (No-Objection Certificate), posing serious risks to patients, staff, and visitors.

According to official records from the fire brigade department, out of the 899 private hospitals and clinics registered under the Maharashtra Nursing Home Registration Act 1949 in PMC, only 92 have successfully completed fire compliance measures. This alarmingly low compliance rate raises concerns about the safety standards maintained in the majority of healthcare establishments.

Similarly, the situation is dire in PCMC, where out of 617 private hospitals and 1,456 clinics officially registered with the civic body, a staggering 85% lack the required documentation for fire compliance. This translates to 525 private hospitals and 1,237 private clinics operating without the essential Fire NoC.

The lack of fire safety compliance in these hospitals is particularly alarming given the potential risks associated with fire hazards in healthcare settings. Not only do hospitals house vulnerable patients who may have limited mobility or medical conditions, but they also handle various flammable materials and medical equipment. In the event of a fire, the consequences could be catastrophic.

Recognizing the severity of the situation, the Union Ministry of Health and National Disaster Management Authority have issued directives to states and Union Territories to prioritize preventive measures against hospital fires, especially with the onset of summer and rising temperatures. 

This includes conducting thorough inspections, addressing discrepancies in electrical load capacity, and ensuring all accredited hospitals obtain valid Fire NoCs from the respective fire departments.

In response to these directives, local health authorities, including district health officers, officers of corporations, and civil surgeons, have been tasked with ensuring comprehensive fire safety audits and on-site inspections of all hospitals within their jurisdiction. Dr. Sunita Golhait, Joint Director of Health Services, emphasized the importance of proactive measures to enhance fire safety compliance in healthcare facilities, emphasizing the need for stringent enforcement of regulations to safeguard the lives and well-being of patients, staff, and visitors alike.

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