Non-segregation of electrical, manifold lines caused PGI fire, reminders overlooked : The Tribune India

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Non-segregation of electrical, manifold lines caused PGI fire, reminders overlooked

Non-segregation of electrical, manifold lines caused PGI fire, reminders overlooked

Electrical and manifold lines before and after restoration work at Advanced Cardiac Centre in PGI on Sunday.



Tribune News Service

Naina Mishra

Chandigarh, March 31

In a concerning revelation in the wake of yesterday’s fire incident at the Advanced Cardiac Centre (ACC) of the Post Graduate Institute of Medical Education and Research (PGIMER), serious lapses in fire safety measures have come to the fore.

Following a fire incident at the operation theatre, where short-circuit led to a fire, necessitating the swift evacuation and relocation of a 70-year-old patient in the middle of the surgery, the electrical and manifold points at the OT were segregated during the restoration work today.

An engineering team of the PGI is now tasked with segregating electrical and manifold units in other areas of the institute. “As soon as the heart line machine was plugged in an electrical socket, there was short-circuit. It caused a fire, which was augmented by the manifold line carrying oxygen. We segregated the electrical and manifold lines during the restoration work,” said a source.

The recent fire incident, which is reminiscent of a previous fire outbreak in March 2021 at the Advanced Trauma Centre, has again brought to the fore a recurring threat stemming from the convergence of electrical points and oxygen manifold lines.

Despite previous documentation and calls for preventive action, including a detailed journal titled “Fire Incidents in Bed Panels – Causes and Prevention”, authored by a team of doctors of the PGI, the implementation of the recommended safeguards for fire prevention remains inadequate at the institute. The fire on March 23, 2021, which was triggered by a spark in an electrical point and augmented by oxygen leak, is a stark reminder of the persistent risk. As many 68 critical patients in the affected area were evacuated to safety that day.

A root-cause analysis highlighted regular cleaning, maintenance and the segregation of electrical and manifold units to prevent incidents in future. The authorities also believe that in areas where equipment that usually functions 24x7, especially in the critical care wings, the possibility of a spark, overloading and short-circuit cannot be ignored. It was then decided that the design and installation of electrical services and manifold supplies should be as per the building codes.

Despite deliberations on optimal fire-prevention measures and compliance with building codes, unaddressed vulnerabilities across multiple areas is a cause for concern.

Fire-prevention steps inadequate

Despite previous documentation and calls for preventive action, including a detailed journal titled “Fire Incidents in Bed Panels – Causes and Prevention”, authored by a team of doctors of the PGI, the implementation of the recommended safeguards for fire prevention remains inadequate at the institute.

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