CWM Hospi­tal fire sys­tem

Fiji Sun - - Comment -

Satish Nakched, Suva

It is with great dis­ap­point­ment to note that the Colo­nial War Me­mo­rial Hospi­tal is not in com­pli­ance with the Na­tional Fire Author­ity re­quire­ments due to the fact that the fire alarm warn­ing sys­tems are not op­er­a­tional.

The fire con­trol panel out­side the Chil­dren’s ward and two near the emer­gency has been van­dalised and are com­pletely dead. The fire panel glass door is smashed and the one out­side the Chil­dren’s ward do not have any clo­sure at all with ex­posed elec­tri­cal wires and it­self is a haz­ard. The chances are high that an un­su­per­vised child can be­come a vic­tim of elec­tro­cu­tion. There are smoke de­tec­tors mounted on the ceil­ing and if it de­tects smoke the sig­nal will be sent to the fire panel and the au­dio siren will be ac­ti­vated giv­ing the peo­ple in­side am­ple time to be evac­u­ated and move to safety. Apart from this most of the fire panels are di­rectly con­nected to the NFA Con­trol room and within min­utes the fire trucks will be dis­patched.

In a case of a fire time is sen­si­tive and such in­for­ma­tion must come through with­out any de­lays for a speedy re­ac­tion. The fire con­trol panels will also give the ex­act lo­ca­tion of the fire. This equip­ment is to be ser­viced twice a year and the equip­ment tags are up dated the same time. Upon closer in­spec­tions it was found out that most of the smoke de­tec­tor are de­fec­tive and are in de­fault mode. Poor ser­vic­ing, dust ac­cu­mu­la­tion and the faulty sig­nal com­mu­ni­ca­tion lines can cause this.

It is the smoke and the toxic gas that kills peo­ple in a build­ing fire rather than the heat it­self. So it is nec­es­sary to sound the alarm and alert the peo­ple for re­ac­tion. The es­cape route must not be ob­structed in any­way and ex­its clearly marked. There are dam­aged beds lined up near the stairs. A well trained evac­u­a­tion team on re­ceiv­ing such sig­nals can re­duce such risk of causal­i­ties. Timely spe­cial at­ten­tion must be given to the phys­i­cally chal­lenged and the very sick peo­ple to move out to safety. The CWM Hospi­tal at any given time has more than five hun­dred in­pa­tients and that num­bers in­creases if the out­pa­tient, staff and the visi­tors are added to the list. The list also in­cludes the vul­ner­a­ble new moth­ers and the ba­bies. The hospi­tal is lo­cated on a large area and is in a sense very com­pact if you di­vide the space avail­able with the num­ber of peo­ple present there. The hospi­tal op­er­a­tion is on­go­ing 24/7 and is burst­ing with ac­tiv­ity with a lot of the pedes­trian and ve­hi­cle move­ment. Ev­ery­one who is in the hospi­tal are in a very high red risk cat­e­gory should a fire break out which may have a cat­a­strophic re­sult. Ap­pro­pri­ate ac­tion must be taken now to en­sure that the risk of fire in the hospi­tal is min­imised by com­pli­ance at all times with the fire safety re­quire­ments of the Na­tional Fire Author­ity. The rel­e­vant Min­is­ter must im­me­di­ately in­struct the Safety Au­dit team to probe fur­ther with the view to elim­i­nate the haz­ard and rec­om­mend cor­rec­tive ac­tions.

Such threats will only oc­cur if the or­gan­i­sa­tion has a poor and a very in­ef­fec­tive OHS Com­mit­tee which it­self is a breach of the Act and other as­so­ci­ated leg­is­la­tions.

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