AIIMS plans round-the-clock fire tender after blaze

IANS Aug 20, 2019

Having learnt lessons from the major fire at All India Institute of Medical Sciences (AIIMS) on August 17, the administration has revised its standard operating procedures and is also planning to have a fire tender round-the-clock at the premier hospital.

Subhashish Panda, Deputy Dean (administration) said "Prior planning to ensure in case of fire in the campus where the patients or items or things need to be moved specifically in order to avoid last minute confusion. We are also planning to identify staff, medicos and people at the hospital who can act as fire safety officers not for dousing the fire but to manage the situation and ensure people follow specific measures in case of a tragedy."

The hospital is also planning to station a fire tender inside the complex so as to avoid delay in case of a mishap. Sources in the Delhi Fire Services stated that the teaching and PC block where the fire occurred did not have a valid No Objection Certificate (NOC). "They did have firefighting equipment and surplus water supply but we need to now investigate if the firefighting mechanism at the hospital is maintained or not," said an officer from the Delhi Fire Services.

S.K. Dheri, former Delhi Fire Services chief when asked about the fire at AIIMS said "Safety is the last priority in this country and also there is no accountability as well. The AIIMS hospital is a huge complex and should have a Safety Director whose job is to ensure each and every ward has the necessary equipment which are up-to-date."

Dheri who was the fire chief during the 1997 Uphaar fire tragedy elaborated how fire can be contained in the initial few minutes if people are trained and equipped. "The buildings need to be accessible from all sides unlike at the AIIMS hospital where various new buildings have come up which need to have access. Everyone needs to look after their own property. Firefighters alone can't do wonders overnight."

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