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AHPI joins hands with IFE to develop a Fire Safety Inspection Scheme to address fire safety needs of hospitals

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Tuesday, January 24, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

The Association for Healthcare Providers (India) (AHPI) has joined hands with the Institution of Fire Engineers (India) (IFE) to develop a Fire Safety Inspection Scheme to address the fire safety needs of the healthcare industry.

AHPI has 20,000 plus big and small hospitals under its fold across India. The IFE is a 50-year old pan India association of fire safety professionals.

There have been a series of fire incidents, some with grave consequences lately especially in the healthcare sector. While fire safety is covered under regulations in each state with a designated regulatory authority, what is needed is a panel of competent inspection agencies which are available to healthcare industry, or for that matter, any building owner, who may wish to ascertain where he stands as far as compliance to regulations and standards is concerned to be able to address the gaps and be better prepared for regulatory inspections.

The Scheme envisages fire safety inspections to the applicable regulations/National Building Code Part 4/any recognized standard or part of them to be carried out by competent inspection agencies, duly accredited to the international standard, ISO 17020 as per a defined inspection process for uniformity across various agencies. The Scheme provides for truly third party agencies who can issue a certificate of compliance based on the inspection as also inspection agencies who can besides inspection, can also help address the gaps, and thus are not truly third party agencies.

“An expert group comprising fire safety, healthcare and inspection experts have developed the following documents like fire safety inspection criteria, fire safety inspection process and system for provisional approval of fire safety inspection agencies. These draft scheme documents have been placed in public domain for inviting comments for one month upto February 5, 2023 at info@ifeindia.org,” informed Anil Jauhri, chairman, Fire Safety Inspection Scheme Expert Group.

This draft scheme document describes the Inspection process to be followed by the Fire Safety Inspection Agencies (FSIAS) approved under the Fire Safety Inspection Scheme operated by Institution of Fire Engineers (IFE) jointly with the Association of Healthcare Providers (India), (AHPI) for the purpose of conducting fire safety inspections of the health care facilities in accordance with the regulations in force.

The document shall supplement the provisions contained in the document titled; "Criteria for Fire Safety Inspection" lay down vide Doc. No. 0.3 An Inspection Certificate/Report shall be made available after inspection duly indicating the compliance with local regulations or non-compliance there from in the health care facility as indicated in the application and available at the time of inspection.

The inspection report/certificate under this scheme shall remain valid till the time any changes are made in the structure/electrical/mechanical/medical equipment including change in key personnel responsible for fire safety.

An application shall be made afresh for Fire Safety Inspection to re-validate the report/certificate taking into account the changes in the facility and consequential impact. The Fire Safety Inspection shall be conducted at the cost and risk of the applicant and the Scheme Owners shall have no liability of any kind for any loss or disruption of business and damage caused during the inspection.

The scheme shall be operated by the following Inspection agencies, who shall give the report/ certificate as mentioned against each; namely Type A Inspection Bodies-means the third party bodies competent to conduct the fire safety inspection of the facility and to issue "Certificate of Compliance” after inspection or after resolving non conformities observed within a reasonable time up to 60 days or else provide a report for action on "Non-Compliance" by the applicant.  Type C Inspection Bodies-means the third party bodies competent to conduct  inspection of the facility and provide solutions to "Non-Compliance” issues but not competent to issue "Certificate of Compliance" instead issue a report indicating observations.

The Scheme has provision for two types of inspection bodies namely; Type A, and Type C as per ISO 17020. The applicant shall carefully select the type of Inspection Body based on his need.


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