After the two recent tragic incidents of fire in hospitals in Bhandara and Nagpur, the administration has issued Standard Operating Procedures (SOPs) for fire prevention and rescue in COVID hospitals. Dr Sanjeev Kumar, D i v i s i o n a l Commissioner, has issued the SOPs to all District Collectors and M u n i c i p a l Commissioners in Nagpur Division. The first and foremost point in the SOPs issued on Thursday is carrying out ‘preventive maintenance’ of oxygen storage/plant and distribution system. Checking all electrical fittings and connections, ensuring that there is no loose contact, getting fitness check of electrical systems done from a certified electrical engineer are next points. Keeping in mind that curtains and such material first caught fire in the recent incidents, the SOPs suggest removal of all curtains and any other easily combustible material near air-conditioners/electrical fittings/switch boards. The District Collectors of Nagpur, Wardha, Bhandara, Gondia, Chandrapur, and Gadchiroli; and M u n i c i p a l Commissioners of Nagpur and Chandrapur have been asked to provide at least 20 sets each comprising two nose-masks and one face-shield at security gate and entrance of COVID ICU ward in hospitals.
Public address system for entire building, first aid fire-fighting and evacuation training to all doctors and nursing and other staff are other suggestions. Before adding any electrical load in terms of ventilator or any electrical instruments, the respective administrative authorities should take advice from electrical engineer, it is suggested in the SOPs. Provision of Very Early Smoke Detection Apparatus (V ESDA) in COVID ICUs for immediate smoke detection, provision of escape/saver set (ELSA 15-minute Oxygen sets) minimum three-fourth in number of ICU capacity to rescue patient in case of fire, training all security and medical staff for use of escape sets, keeping all escape access clear and display of floor-wise evacuation plan, provision of illuminated (with power back-up) escape route/exit signage are some other points of the SOPs. Observing that the hospitals are full and all instruments are loaded, Dr Sanjeev Kumar has stressed upon proper management of additional connections like water heater and mobile charger connections to avoid over-heating of electrical cables. Also, he has suggested maintenance of fire protection system (fire-extinguishers/hydrants/sprinklers) in a healthy condition, and procurement of first aid fire extinguishers.