Aged fire-fighting equipment increases threat in Jammu hospitals

Vishal Sharma

Be on alert if you are in a hospital and run for cover! Hospitals across Jammu and Kashmir are seriously short of modern and credible fire-fighting equipments.

They have ignored to upgrade their old fire extinguishing measures despite repeatedly being asked for the same by the concerned fire and emergency department. Not only this, several renowned private clinics and hospitals in Jammu don’t have even the minimum level of fire fighting measures installed in their buildings. Neither state government nor the Department of Fire and Emergency ever asked them about turning a blind eye toward addressing this serious issue.

If sources are to be believed some work was initiated by the Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H) for upgrading the firefighting equipment but it was not of satisfactory level and was not approved by the department of fire and emergency services Jammu. Rest no government or private hospital has taken any step for upgrading or installing the same.

It is pertinent to mention here that the Fire and Emergency Department after a deadly fire incident in one of the hospital in Kolkata had issued advisory in July 2012 to all the major hospitals of the city which included Government Medical College and Hospital (GMC&H) Jammu, Shri Maharaja Gulab Singh (SMGS) Hospital, Government Hospital Gandhi Nagar, Government Hospital Sarwal, Government Dental Hospital Jammu to upgrade their outdated fire fighting measures in the hospitals.

Sources disclosed that the advisory comprised of many suggestions by the concerned department to minimize the loss of life and property due to any fire incident as most of the hospitals are running in the old buildings with years old fire fighting measures which have not been upgraded till yet. With the passage of time, these hospitals have witnessed massive increase in infrastructure and patients as both SMGS and GMC&H have been upgraded to the capacity of 900 beds each with many different units.

Source informed that these hospitals had to take No Objection Certificate (NOC) from the concerned department after working on the said advisory but none of the hospital in the city has upgraded the fire fighting measures till date. Many times these hospitals have witnessed the fire incidents. The possibility increases manifold with rise in temperature resulting in heavy loss of life and property.

Even the newly constructed building of the Super Specialty Hospital (SSH) had caught fire twice in the year 2014 and 2015 respectively though it is equipped with the latest fire fighting measures, but despite that these hospital have not upgraded their old fire fighting measures and infrastructure.

It is worthy to mention here that the department of Fire and Emergency Services is organizing ‘Fire Service Week’ from 14th April to 20th April to spread awareness among the general public regarding fire safety with a quote “Prevent Fire Accident-Promote Nations Development”, but unfortunately the department has turned blind eye towards this kind of institutions who are running either with outdated fire fighting measures or even without them.

Director Fire and Emergency Services Jammu, R.S Sodhi when contacted said that in few hospitals, up- gradation of fire fighting measures was started and is under progress. “Now the government is showing some interest in upgrading the fire fighting measures and at few places it is under progress but it will take long time in completion,” added Sodhi. When questioned about the status of private clinics and hospitals he said that he has no information regarding them.


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