Pindi hospitals may prove fire traps
RAWALPINDI, June 11: The three government-run hospitals as well as several privately-owned hospitals in the garrison city are lacking fire safety in the premises to avoid any untoward incident like the one that took place at Services Hospital Lahore the other day claiming seven infants’ lives.
The provincial and city district governments had apparently given a free hand to the hospitals’ administration as the Civil Defence Department had not checked the presence of fire safety equipments in them.
According to rules, the City District Government Rawalpindi’s Civil Defence Department was responsible for providing training to the staff besides inspecting the fire safety measures in the high-rise buildings, shopping malls, hospitals and other public places.
Sources told Dawn the administration had installed oxygen pipelines and electricity wiring jointly at the buildings that could be dangerous as in case of short circuit the fire might erupt more readily.
They alleged the fire extinguishers were installed at different wards but most of them were out of orderand the hospital staff was ignorant of their use.
Sources also claimed there was a dire need to train the staff at the hospitals to tackle the fire emergency on war footing.
They disclosed the hospitals had no fire alarms to warn of any emergency.
When contacted, Benazir Bhutto Hospital Medical Superintendent Dr Asif Qadir Mir said there were some fire extinguishers installed at different parts of the hospitals which would be replaced in 2013.
“Yes, lack of trained staff to use them is a big issue. We will request District Coordination Officer Saqib Zafar to send the team of Civil Defence to the hospital to impart practical training,” he said and added that after the Lahore incident,
the hospital had formed a two-member committee to look into the matter seriously.
The situation at District Headquarters (DHQ) Hospital was even worse as the fire extinguishers installed in the premises were out of order and needed replacement. Despite repeated attempts, the Medical Superintendent Dr Sher Ali Khan was neither available in his office nor attending his cell phone.
Holy Family Hospital Assistant Medical Superintendent (admin) Dr Tariq Niazi admitted that there was a need to replace the old fire extinguishers and impart training to the staff.
District Officer Civil Defence Tayyamam Raza admitted that his department had not inspected the hospitals.
“Yes, the department will inspect the fire safety measures in hospitals and high-rise buildings and impose fines. But, we are
waiting for directives from provincial home department or the CDGR in this regard,” he said. When contacted, District Coordination Officer (DCO) Saqib Zafar said he had directed the concerned officials to carry out survey of fire fighting equipments installed in different building including the hospitals in order to avoid Lahore hospital like incident.