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Fire Safety Directorate urges Delhi govt to ensure compliance to fire safety norms in hospitals through third party certification

Shardul Nautiyal, Mumbai
Wednesday, February 1, 2023, 08:00 Hrs  [IST]

Fire Safety Directorate, Delhi has urged the Delhi government to ensure compliance to fire safety norms in hospitals through third party certification.

Dr Girdhar Gyani, director general, Association of Healthcare Providers of India (AHPI) informed that third party certifications can be taken from Nagpur based National Fire and Safety Service College (NFSSC) in the absence of a national level guideline. “Centre will direct States to follow the Fire Safety Inspection Scheme which we are working on to address the fire safety needs of the healthcare industry,” Dr Gyani added.

Dr Narin Sehgal, secretary, AHPI added that this is required at the moment as the National Building Code (NBC) is not implementable considering the infrastructure bottlenecks of the hospitals in India.

This comes in the wake of several incidents of fires in hospitals including the recent one in Dhanbad. Fires can be devastating, especially in a hospital where a large number of people who need to be evacuated may be vulnerable – immunocompromised, on life support, and incapable of moving on their own.

“There are special requirements that must be met while evacuating such people in case of fire emergencies. The National Building Code of India (NBC)– 2005’ on ‘Fire & Life Safety’ gives detailed guidelines for construction materials, general requirements for all buildings, life safety, fire protection, specific occupancy wise requirements and specific requirements for buildings above 15 meters,” according to a National Accreditation Board for Hospitals & Healthcare Providers (NABH) official.

AHPI today has 20 functional chapters in Andhra Pradesh, Bihar, Chhattisgarh, Delhi NCR, Gujarat, Haryana, Jharkhand, Karnataka, Kerala, Madhya Pradesh, Maharashtra & Goa, North Zone, Odisha, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Telangana, Uttar Pradesh, West Bengal and North East.

The ‘part 4’ of ‘National Building Code of India (NBC)– 2005’ on ‘Fire & Life Safety’ covers the requirements for fire prevention & life safety in relation to fire and fire protection of buildings. The Code specifies construction, occupancy and protection features that are necessary to minimize danger to life and property from fire.

Buildings on the basis of occupancies have been divided into different groups in the chapter. Hospitals have been classified as sub-division C-1under Group C for Institutional Buildings with some specific requirements applicable for this category in addition to the general requirements common for all occupancies.

AHPI recently 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.

The Fire Safety Inspection 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.

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.


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