It took the AMC the loss of eight lives to finally act on lack of fire safety equipment in a COVID-19 hospital. The fire department of the civic body has issued an ultimatum to Shrey Hospital to put in place a fire safety system within a week or face action.
After a fire in the ICU of the hospital led to the death of eight COVID-19 patients under treatment, it has emerged that the hospital did not have a fire safety system in place. All that it had was a few fire extinguishers.
It has also emerged that the fire NOC of the hospital had expired and it had not bothered to renew it. Despite this, the civic body had allowed it to function as a dedicated COVID-19 facility.
It even entered into an MOU with the hospital for the same.
Did the AMC check for fire safety before entering MOU?
This also raises questions of whether the AMC has done a background check of the hospitals with which it has entered into an MOU for COVID-19 treatment. It should be noted that before signing the MOU, the AMC said it makes sure that the hospital has the requisite facility to treat COVID-19 patients.
The fire incident at Shrey Hospital lays bare the fact that whether such hospitals had a fire safety system in place was not something the civic body bothered to check. Now, the AMC has moved to rectify its mistake.
The fire department has issued a notice to all hospitals with which it entered into an MOU. It has asked the hospital details of their fire safety system and to install the same in a week if it is not present.
It has also asked them to get a NOC in the matter.
Caught between various departments
Sources in the know said that those keen on getting a NOC from the fire department are often caught between various departments. They said initially they were asked to submit all necessary documents at the civic center.
But there was a delay in sending the same to the fire brigade office. Moreover, the receipt given in return for the document was also of poor quality. As a result, the citizens were asked to resend the document directly to the fire station.
Unfortunately, here too they were not given the receipt and were asked to collect it from the civic center. Several complaints about this lack of coordination have also been made to the AMC.
Who is responsible for renewing NOC?
Who is responsible for renewing the NOC once the same expires. Initially, the NOC is given by the fire department. But sources in the know said the department does not have a system to track whose renewal is due nor is any notice issued for late renewal.
Delay in renewing NOC does not even attract a fine. Sources said the department gets into action only after a fire incident happens.