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Month’s notice for safety in hospitals

- DC demands firefighting plans, promises free training

The Ranchi district administration on Friday finally cracked its whip on hospitals and nursing homes in the state capital for flouting safety norms, with the deputy commissioner ordering every medical unit to submit a disaster management plan within a month.

The diktat comes in the wake of a series of reports published in The Telegraph, following the AMRI tragedy in Calcutta, which exposed the complete lack of blaze fighting measures in nearly all health hubs in the urban centres of Jharkhand.

Addressing a meeting attended by representatives of around 25 major medical units, Ranchi DC K.K. Soan said, “From now on, I am not concerned about what arrangements you have at your units. But I want you to know what measures each of you should have in place to combat disasters after this meeting. And I want a commitment from every medical entity to be ensure safety measures.”

Officials of fire department and the district disaster management cell also took part in the meeting, which listed dos and don’ts for tackling fire and other mishaps in hospitals.

Soan told The Telegraph that the main objective of this meet was to openly discuss the status of hospitals with the owners and offer necessary help to chalk out disaster management plans.

“The fire department is ready to conduct workshops and train hospital staff for free. Our doors are also open to extend any expertise for preparing safety and disaster management plans. But the accountability and responsibility of utilising our services lie with the organisations concerned. The administration won’t spare those guilty if mishap strikes a hospital on account of carelessness,” the DC said.

The district administration is also preparing a holistic disaster management plan for all categories of buildings in Ranchi. Soan said the rough draft had been revised and uploaded on the administration’s website and they would come out with a final version by January 26.

He argued that the administration would be able to rest assured of preparedness at the micro level only if hospitals were equipped with their own safety plans and dedicated strike force.

“We are open to comments and inputs for improving our disaster management plan,” said Soan, adding they were working phase-wise and that after hospitals, they would focus on sensitising architects and builders, followed by professional bodies in the city.

The DC promised action against building owners if they failed to comply with rules.

The hospital owners welcomed the administration’s directions.

“All hospital owners have decided to meet on January 6 to discuss and chalk out details about fire and other safety norms. A copy on the outcome of meeting, which will include details of hospitals that are adequately safe, which aren’t and initiatives that will be taken, will be submitted to the district administration,” said Jogesh Gambhir, chairman of Association of Hospitals and Nursing Homes of Jharkhand.

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