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Q. Hospital fires in India: In the backdrop of recent hospital fire in Bhubaneswar, comment on issue of hospital fires in India.
Oct 19, 2016 Related to : GS Paper-3

Ans :

Introduction-

Recently a major fire incident has witnessed in SMU hospital in Bhubaneswar and the incident has caused death of at least 22 people and injured more than 120 people. Five years ago such fire incident was happened in AMRI hospital in Kolkata, which claimed 90 lives. India’s hospitals were witnessing fewer events annually, with a sharp decline in casualties, but it reflects that we have not learnt complete lessons from previous incidents. The various aspects of hospital fires must addressed by impartial investigation.

Mains causes of hospital fires-

  • There are many reasons are for fire incidents, but here we will discuss specific aspects related to hospital fires.
  • The enrichment of the local environment by oxygen leaks, which sets off fires in thin plastics in hospital premises.
  •  Absence of horizontal evacuation systems and sprinkler system will result in spreading of the fires.

Issues in India context-

  • Prevention of fires and emergency response are not high priorities in India, these aspects are viewed by the Central government as a municipal function under State governments. 
  • Similarly steady decline in the enforcement of urban regulations and building plans resulted into increase in fire risks particularly in public buildings.

Suggestions-

  • India should follow the global trend, as causes of hospital fires are understood better, and regulations tightened for safety of patients, their families, visitors and staff.
  • There is an urgent need of enormous political will and active judicial oversight to enforce best practices and rein in violators.
  • The Centre and State governments should address fire risk in medical institutions as a top order priority. 
  • Such fire issues can be addressed by understanding the hazard, adopting the right infrastructure, enforcing the building code, and holding frequent fire drills to do things correctly in an emergency.

Conclusion-

The fire accidents in India have become common phenomenon, and we have not learnt any lessons from previous incidents, particularly in hospital fire incidents. India being developing country cannot afford such loss of lives. There is an urgent need to address this issue and it is possible only through firm political will.  

 

 


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