Letters sent by Health department officials to private hospital managements enquiring about fire no-objection certificates (NOCs) have drawn inadequate response. Hyderabad District Medical and Health Officer (DMHO) J. Venkat said they will hold a meeting with the hospital managements to stress that fire fighting equipment has to be installed on their respective premises, and that an NOC has to be sought.
Rangareddy DMHO K. Swarajya Lakshmi said notices have been issued to hospitals managements who did not respond to the enquiries, directing them to submit the fire NOCs.
The enquiries were prompted by a fire accident at the Neonatal Intensive Care Unit of Shine Childrens Hospital at L.B. Nagar, Hyderabad, on October 21 in which an infant died and at least four more received burns. The tragic incident exposed the lack of fire safety equipment at scores of private hospitals. In fact, officials from the Health department have earlier said that there are many hospitals in and around the city which do not have the required equipment to fight fires in case of accident, and hence, enquiry letters were sent out.
Among the respondents, a few said they believed hospital buildings less than 15 metres in height do not need the fire NOC.
According to Section 13 of the Telangana Fire Services Act, 1999, any person proposing to construct a building of a height of over 15 metres for commercial purpose has to apply for the NOC from the Telangana Disaster Response and Fire Services Department. In case of commercial buildings below 15 metres, the NOC should be applied for with Greater Hyderabad Municipal Corporations Enforcement, Vigilance and Disaster Management (EVDM) wings director.
Medchal DMHO N. Narayan Rao said they have nevertheless insisted on the NOC.
Only a few hospitals managements responded to our letters. We will conduct a meeting to insist that they need to get fire NOC, said Dr. Venkat.
Rangareddy DMHO said that they are focused on hospitals which have more than 30 beds. We have issued notices to the managements which did not respond to the letters, asking them to get the NOC. Besides, we have inspected around 20 hospitals and issued notices over lack of fire safety equipment, Dr Lakshmi said.