October 22, 2016
While the Bhubaneswar hospital fire accident, in which more than 20 were reported dead, shocked the nation and prompted other hospitals in the country to check their fire readiness measures, the Coimbatore Medical College and Hospital (CMCH) says that it is well prepared to combat any fire outbreak.
Built with multiple exits, and equipped with more than 100 fire extinguishers and a centralised water sprinkler system, the hospital, according to senior officials there, is safely designed to avert any casualties and safeguard patients.
The hospital has around 2,000 beds in its 11 buildings, including the newly opened Centenary Building, and sees around 5,500 footfalls on a daily basis. While there were 1,359 inpatients on Tuesday, there were 5,636 outpatients, accompanied by numerous bystanders.
“With so many persons moving in and out, safety becomes our major priority and we have made sure that all the buildings are equipped to tackle a fire outbreak. Every block has enough fire extinguishers,” said Dr A Edwin Joe, dean of CMCH, adding that the apart from the regular extinguishers, an extinguisher each has been installed at every X-ray and scanning machine here.
He added that the water sprinklers were deployed for every 10 ft in the new building, so every area is covered. “We have also kept water and sand in buckets in the old buildings,” he said. No fire evacuation demo has been conducted at the hospital, though the Fire Service Department have been asked in writing and an available date for a drill is awaited from them, said the dean.
According to sources, the CMCH faced a minor fire accident four years ago when one of the wires in the pharmacy depot short-circuited. There were no reported casualties and the fire was put out immediately. After the incident, officials have replaced the aluminum wires with copper wires, which have less possibilities of short circuiting.
However the fremale surgical ward and few other medical wards need replacement. The new blocks have enough space for the fire tenders to move around at the event of an accident, said a doctor at the CMCH.
“We also check the load on the wires periodically and change the wires when there is an additional load or damage,” said P Balan, assistant engineer (Electrical), Public Works Department, CMCH. He said that the CMCH consumes approximately 7993 units of electricity daily, amounting to 2.5 lakh units per month.