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BMC to conduct fire safety audit for all hospitals

In view of the recent fire incidents in Covid hospitals across the city, the Brihanmumbai Municipal Corporation (BMC) will conduct a fire safety audit of all private, government and municipal hospitals.

In a circular issued on Monday, Municipal Commissioner I S Chahal directed the chief fire officer (CFO) to inspect all private, municipal and government hospitals for their fire safety compliance. The CFO has been directed to submit a report of the audit within 15 days.

“In case of any shortcomings/deficiencies observed from the fire safety point of view during such inspection, action under the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, shall be initiated,” read the circular.

On March 29, Chahal directed all 147 private, government and civic body-run hospitals and Covid-19 facilities to assess their structural stabilities and conduct a fire audit. As per the circular issued on Monday, the civic body itself will conduct the fire audit.

As per the Maharashtra Fire Prevention and Life Safety Measures Act, 2006, owners get 120 days to fix the shortcomings of their properties and submit a report to the fire brigade. All establishments are mandated to submit the fire audit reports from a government-authorised third-party auditor every six months (January and July), while the fire brigade conducts random checks for audit.

The latest BMC direction comes in the wake of two fire incidents – at a Covid hospital and a jumbo Covid care centre – in the past 11 days. Fifty Covid-19 patients were moved to safety after a fire broke out at hangar ‘F’ at the Dahisar jumbo Covid centre on Sunday. The fire eventually spread to the adjacent hangar ‘G’ where another 49 were admitted.

Firefighters and security staff at the centre doused the flames, using extinguishers installed at the spot. Officials said a short circuit in electrical wiring possibly caused the fire. This was the third incident of fire at Covid care centres/hospitals in the past six months.

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