"We feel deep remorse and guilt, I hereby express our deep condolences for the victims, and express our sincere respects to the victims' families, the injured and their relatives, and apologize to the people of the whole city”- Li Zongrong, Deputy Mayor Fengtai District
On 18th April 2023, a massive blaze broke out at a major hospital in Beijing around 13:00 hours (local time). The fire was one of the deadliest to hit China in recent years with 29 killed as per the latest reports. The Hospital’s director was detained following the incident. The tragic part is, out of the 29 who passed away in the fire, 26 were patients. Read about the news here. This was the deadliest tragedy in Beijing since 2002 when a fire killed 25 students in an internet café.
As per, Zhao Yang, an official at Beijing’s fire department said that the fire was caused by sparks ignited by ongoing interior renovation work on flammable paint. The situation was so dire for the patients that when the fire broke out that the patients had to seek escape routes through windows. The above incident serves as a stark reminder that a disaster can strike at any time and it is really important to be prepared for any eventuality.
This blog will primarily be focusing on creating awareness of different types of fire, the use of fire extinguishers, and fire safety guidelines for hospitals as they are an essential service since a hospital fire can not only impact the admitted patients but also individuals trying to get admitted in case of an emergency.
SOURCES OF FIRE IN THE HOSPITAL AND DIFFERENT CLASSES OF FIRE
Uncontrolled fire knows no frontiers
In hospital premises, there are many sources of fire. Some of them are
1. Surgical cloth
2. Cotton waste
4. Electricity equipment
5. Laboratory chemicals
6. Cooking oils
As per Indian Standard IS 15683:2018, there are mainly 5 types of fire
1. Class A Fire: When a fire is caused by solid combustible materials which are organic in nature like paper, plastics, etc.
2. Class B Fire: A fire caused by flammable liquids like paints, diesel, petrol, laboratory chemicals, etc.
3. Class C Fire: When a fire is caused by flammable gases under pressure like LPG.
4. Class D Fire: A fire caused by combustible metals like sodium, zinc, etc.
5. Class F Fire: Fires of this type are caused when cooking oils and fats are involved.
CAN A SINGLE FIRE EXTINGUISHER WORK FOR ALL CLASSES OF FIRES?
Fire safety on, accidents gone
The simple answer is no. For each type of fire, you will need a separate class of fire extinguishers.
There are four main types of fire extinguishers Foam, Carbon dioxide, Dry powder and wet chemical excluding water.
The below tabular column gives an explanation as to which type of fire extinguisher to be used for a particular fire.
Now after understanding the different types of fire and what fire extinguishers are to be used, let’s now look at the Fire Safety guidelines for hospitals. Source: Handbook series on Fire Safety, Gujarat Institute of Disaster Management
FIRE SAFETY GUIDELINES FOR HOSPITALS
Know fire safety, no pain, no fire safety, know pain
1. Hospital staff should be adequately trained by ensuring frequent fire drills in the facility.
2. Whenever a fire breaks out, a fire exit is the first route for people to escape. Regular inspections must be carried out to ensure that exits are not blocked and are working properly.
3. Firefighting equipment should be easily accessible, and all members of the staff should be aware of the location of the firefighting equipment.
4. Fire alarms should be regularly tested and inspected.
5. Cooking activities should only be completed in the designated cooking area. No other place should cooking take place.
6. Hospital laboratories may contain flammable liquids and proper care should be taken that their usage should only be done under supervision.
7. Combustible materials should not be stored in the hospital under any circumstances except if really necessary and their storage should be supervised.
8. Laundry rooms in hospitals contain bed sheets and clothes that are washed and put in a dryer. While using a dryer, ensure that there would be no entrapment of air, failing which would result in overheating and potential fire of clothes.
9. Hospitals should also have sprinklers and they should be tested frequently to ensure in case of any fire the situation is brought under control immediately.
10. Fire safety audits should be conducted so as to ensure that the areas of improvement can be identified, and gaps can be filled.
PRELIMINARY CAUSE FOR BEIJING HOSPITAL FIRE
Carelessness is the biggest cause of fire
Preliminary reports as suggested earlier say that the fire was caused due to sparks landing on the paint generated during renovation work. Clearly, it was a Class B fire and the basic guideline of not keeping flammable liquids unsupervised was flouted.
The fire in Beijing was tragic and Gorisco expresses deep remorse to the families who lost their loved ones’ In this incident. The cost of not adhering to safety guidelines has been demonstrated with the loss of lives and is a lesson for all of us to ensure that guidelines should be adhered to strictly.
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