Fatal fires: the need for strict safety norms

 

 

 

Fatal fires: the need for strict safety norms

Fire safety norms for hospitals need to be strengthened and strictly enforced
The devastating(विनाशकारी) fire at the Andheri hospital of the Employees State Insurance Corporation in Mumbai that killed at least eight people is a shocking(भयानक/चौंकानेवाला) reminder of the low priority(प्राथमिकता) fire safety gets in India. That a blaze(ज्वाला/दहकना) could break out in a relatively new building with such deadly consequences(परिणाम ) calls into question the precautions (सावधानियों)taken by the authorities. The Maharashtra government should conduct(प्रबंध/व्यवहार) a thorough probe and examine the claim(दावा ) made by the Fire Department that the hospital had failed an inspection(निरीक्षण/मुआयना) recently and was served a notice. It would be shockingly negligent(लापरवाही/सुस्त) if the hospital continued to function without adhering(पालन) to fire safety standards in spite of an adverse report from the statutory(व्यवस्था से स्थापित/क़ानूनी) authority. Ironically(विडम्बना से), ESIC is a welfare organisation working to protect the health and well-being of the labour sector, and is expected(उम्मीद ) to set an example through the quality of its facilities(सुविधाएं). The Andheri horror evokes(आह्वान करना/उजागर) memories of the AMRI hospital blaze in Kolkata seven years ago, in which 92 people died. It led to an assessment(मूल्यांकन) of hospital safety in all States, but evidently (बेशक/स्पष्ट रूप से)the impact(प्रभाव) has been patchy at best. In fact, the Justice Tapan Mukherjee Commission appointed(नियुक्त) by the West Bengal government held the directors of AMRI hospital responsible(जिम्मेदार), since they actively(सक्रिय रूप से) reviewed the institution’s administrative measures( उपाय). This year, critically(गंभीर रूप से) ill patients had to be carried outside by relatives during(दौरान) a fire at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

A strong building code with features for reduction(छूट/न्यूनन) of fire hazards is important(महत्वपूर्ण) for all structures, but it is more so for hospitals since they host people who are incapacitated(अक्षम/अपाहिज) and cannot be evacuated(खाली) quickly. The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) goes by the National Building Code and its specific(विशिष्ट ) norms for hospitals, which include(शामिल ) minimum requirements(आवश्यकताओं) for multi-storeyed structures, such as alarms, sprinkler(बुझानेवाला)systems, specified-width staircases, smoke barrier(प्रतिबंध) enclosures and checks against storage of combustible(दहनशील/शीघ्र जलनेवाला) materials in areas where patients are kept. Going forward, all State governments should require mandatory(अनिवार्य ) compliance(अनुमति/अनुपालन) with such safety features for any institution handling patients or giving care. Certification of facilities through third-party audit should be made compulsory to eliminate(निकाल देना/हटाना) conflicts(संघर्ष) of interest involving(शामिल) official agencies. The institutions should also be insured for the highest levels of public liability(जिम्मेदारी।). At a broader level, governments must shed their indifference and work to make all spaces safe. The situation today is depressing. In private, public or commercial buildings, official agencies tend to favour(पक्ष) tokenism rather than high standards for the safety of occupants(आगंतुकों।/.रहने वालों) and visitors(निवासियों ). They are ever-willing to “regularise” deviations(हटना/विचलन) in construction(निर्माण ) over time. It is time to fix responsibility for deadly accidents on a single official agency.

 

 

Important Vocabulary

1. Devastating(विनाशकारी)
Synonyms: calamitous, destructive, disastrous, overwhelming, annihilating
Antonyms: blessed, fortunate

2. Priority(प्राथमिकता)
Synonyms: arrangement, preference, antecedence, lead, order
Antonyms: inferiority, last, subservience, unimportance

3. Conduct(प्रबंध/व्यवहार)
Synonyms: charge, handling, management, manipulation, oversight
Antonyms: mismanagement, disorganization, disregard, ignorance, neglect

4. Inspection(निरीक्षण/मुआयना)
Synonyms: analysis, checkup, inquiry, investigation, probe
Antonyms: ignorance, neglect

5. Ironically(विडम्बना से)
Synonyms: amusingly, jokingly, absurdly, facetiously, ironically

6. Evidently (बेशक/स्पष्ट रूप से)
Synonyms: doubtless, manifestly, obviously, officially, ostensibly
Antonyms: improbably, unlikely, doubtfully, mistakably, obscurely

7. Facilities(सुविधाएं).
Synonyms: doubtless, manifestly, obviously, officially, ostensibly
Antonyms: improbably, unlikely, doubtfully, mistakably, obscurely

8. Critically(गंभीर रूप से)
Synonyms: badly, critically, gravely, painfully, seriously

9. Actively(सक्रिय रूप से)
Synonyms: actively, earnestly, passionately, sincerely, vigorously
Antonyms: casually, funnily, lightly, minor, trivially

10. Reduction(छूट/न्यूनन)
Synonyms: contraction, cut, cutback, devaluation, discount
Antonyms: increase, enlargement

11. Combustible(दहनशील/शीघ्र जलनेवाला)
Synonyms: fiery, flammable, incendiary, volatile. explosive
Antonyms: noncombustible, nonexplosive

12. Compliance(अनुमति/अनुपालन)
Synonyms: conformity, consent, acquiescence, amenability, assent
Antonyms: difference, disagreement, refusal, disobedience, rebellion

13. Sprinkler(बुझानेवाला)
Synonyms: aerosol, sprayer, sprinkler, atomizer, drizzle

14. Evacuated(खाली)
Synonyms: abandon, depart, desert, discharge, displace
Antonyms: allow, come, continue, hold, keep

15. Occupants(आगंतुकों।/.रहने वालों)
Synonyms: denizen, dweller, holder, incumbent, inhabitant
Antonyms: displaced person

16. Deviations(हटना/विचलन)
Synonyms: aberration, alteration, anomaly, breach, detour

17. Precautions (सावधानियों)
Synonyms: care, caution, insurance, protection, provision
Antonyms: harm, hurt, injury, neglect

 

 

Credit To The Hindu News Paper

Fire safety norms for hospitals need to be strengthened and strictly enforced
The devastating fire at the Andheri hospital of the Employees State Insurance Corporation in Mumbai that killed at least eight people is a shocking reminder of the low priority fire safety gets in India. That a blaze could break out in a relatively new building with such deadly consequences calls into question the precautions taken by the authorities. The Maharashtra government should conduct a thorough probe and examine the claim made by the Fire Department that the hospital had failed an inspection recently and was served a notice. It would be shockingly negligent if the hospital continued to function without adhering to fire safety standards in spite of an adverse report from the statutory authority. Ironically, ESIC is a welfare organisation working to protect the health and well-being of the labour sector, and is expected to set an example through the quality of its facilities. The Andheri horror evokes memories of the AMRI hospital blaze in Kolkata seven years ago, in which 92 people died. It led to an assessment of hospital safety in all States, but evidently the impact has been patchy at best. In fact, the Justice Tapan Mukherjee Commission appointed by the West Bengal government held the directors of AMRI hospital responsible, since they actively reviewed the institution’s administrative measures. This year, critically ill patients had to be carried outside by relatives during a fire at the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital.

A strong building code with features for reduction of fire hazards is important for all structures, but it is more so for hospitals since they host people who are incapacitated and cannot be evacuated quickly. The National Accreditation Board for Hospitals and Healthcare Providers (NABH) goes by the National Building Code and its specific norms for hospitals, which include minimum requirements for multi-storeyed structures, such as alarms, sprinkler systems, specified-width staircases, smoke barrier enclosures and checks against storage of combustible materials in areas where patients are kept. Going forward, all State governments should require mandatory compliance with such safety features for any institution handling patients or giving care. Certification of facilities through third-party audit should be made compulsory to eliminate conflicts of interest involving official agencies. The institutions should also be insured for the highest levels of public liability. At a broader level, governments must shed their indifference and work to make all spaces safe. The situation today is depressing. In private, public or commercial buildings, official agencies tend to favour tokenism rather than high standards for the safety of occupants and visitors. They are ever-willing to “regularise” deviations in construction over time. It is time to fix responsibility for deadly accidents on a single official agency.

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