Fire safety provisions must for nursing home

New Delhi: With Kolkata`s AMRI hospital fire fresh in its mind, the Centre has directed all states and Union Territories to tighten norms in granting licence to open new medical institutes and ensure fire safety provisions mandatory for launching any such new ventures.

The Home Ministry order came weeks after a devastating fire at the Kolkata hospital claimed more than 90 lives, most of whom were patients. All the states and UTs were directed to ensure that hospital building bylaws provide for mandatory fire safety provisions.

"We have asked the states to make fire safety provisions as mandatory licencing condition for setting up new medical institute. Without fire safety provisions, no licence should be given to anyone for setting up any hospital or nursing home," a Home Ministry official said.

The states and UTs also were directed to conduct the fire safety audit in all major hospitals and nursing homes through the State Department of Fire and Emergency Services and ensure that the safety measures put in place by the respective institute were adequate to deal with any emergency situation.

The Home Ministry asked that mock drills should be conducted in some of these hospitals and nursing homes to see how doctors and nursing staff respond in case of emergency and their patient evacuation plans.

The state governments and UT administrations were asked to ensure that all hospitals and nursing homes equip their institutions with the required firefighting gadgets to avoid any untoward incident.

On December 9, 2011, a devastating fire gutted a major portion of the AMRI Hospital in Kolkata killing at least 93 people, mostly patients admitted there.