NABH – Advisory for Minimum Essential Fire Safety Measures for All Healthcare Facilities
NABH (National Accreditation Board for Hospitals And Healthcare Providers) has issued an advisory recently on Minimum Essential Fire Safety Measures to be followed by healthcare organizations in the country.
This was the advisory for Minimum Essential Fire Safety Measures applicable to Healthcare Units under all schemes of Certification and Accreditation offered by NABH. These guidelines are meant to ensure patient safety and in no way absolves the organization of fulfilling its statutory obligations with regard to fire safety while implementing Certification, Accreditation Programs in the country.
The Advisory has listed out the scenarios where a Healthcare Organisation has Fire NOC, has No Fire NOC in place. The content of the advisory released by NABH is shared below for information purposes :
Advisory Content :
When the Healthcare Facility has Fire NOC in place, advisory calls for health facilities to check on the compliance to the minimum essential home Act/DHO fire safety measures are in place and or functioning.
Advisory says when the Healthcare facilities don’t have Fire NOC , following steps have to be addressed by a healthcare organisation :
- Approval/Registration from local health authority Eg: Nursing home Act/DHO
- If Fire NOC is not applicable, organisation has to provide valid justification for the same.
- If Fire NOC is applicable, confirm that the organization has applied for fire NOC and there is regular correspondence (at least once in three months) with fire department which is acknowledged. Any correspondence received from the fire department has to be submitted.
- In the absence of Fire NOC, Third Party Inspection Certificate should be made available.
- The third-party audit should provide evidence to suggest that statutory norms are adhered to Any Observation by the third party should have been addressed.
- The third-party inspection certificate is valid for a maximum period of one year
- Head of the organization/Promoter to give an undertaking on the organization’s letter-head stating that fire safety measures are in place and adhered to at all times.
- During assessment, verify that the points in the checklist are in place and are functioning
*NABH prescribes that Fire & Life Safety Inspection Certificates under NABCB accreditation issued by NABCB accredited Type ‘A’ Inspection Bodies for Fire & Life Safety Inspections of hospitals/health care providers shall be in accordance with the following:
a. National Building Code of India
b. Model Bill to provide for the maintenance of Fire and Emergency service for the state (2019)
c. Respective State Fire Safety Rules
d. NABH accreditation requirements for fire safety and applicable statutes
e. Any other applicable statutes.
Such Fire & Life Safety Inspection Certificates shall be accepted in lieu of statutory Fire NOC, only for consideration for the purpose of NABH accreditation. This does not absolve the hospitals/health care providers from complying to Fire NOC requirements/any other extent applicable statutes. It shall be sole responsibility of hospitals/health care providers to obtain Fire NOC, as applicable.
NABCB accredited Inspection Bodies shall be required to issue a final Fire & Life Safety Inspection certificate under NABCB accreditation bearing NABCB Accreditation Mark after the inspection is carried out and satisfactory corrective action and resolution of non-conformities, if any.
NABH accreditation requirements for Fire & Life Safety : (in addition to above)
- Firefighting equipment like wet riser, hydrants, auto sprinkler, fire alarm system, fire extinguishers of all types and sizes should be available as per table below (adapted from NBC 2016).
- Operational and maintenance plan for firefighting equipment including refilling of extinguishers.
- Up to date fire drawings to be available. Where applicable, the fire drawings should also specify the location of fire dampers.
- Fire detection and smoke detectors exist across all floors. The detectors shall be tested for functionality at regular intervals, and records maintained.
- Central fire alarm system is installed at a location which is staffed 24/7.
- Fire exit plan for each floor. Exit door should be openable and free from any materials which will obstruct way.
- Fire Exit signage on all floors well illuminated/ self-glowing, as per NBC guidelines.
- Emergency illumination system in case power goes.
- Designated place for assembly of patients and staff in case of fire.
- Mock fire drill records and schedule of conduct of drills.
Minimum Requirements for Fire Fighting Installations
Advisory can be downloaded by clicking on the link below.
Above advisory says that Healthcare organisations need to obtain a Fire and Life Safety Inspection Certificates from Third Parties – Type A accredited Inspection Agencies accredited by NABCB in accordance with NBC 2016 and various other Regulations as mandated under various statutes, Rules, laws of centre , state etc
Hospitals , Healthcare Institutions have to look out for Type A Inspection Bodies (IBs) accredited by NABCB if they don’t have Fire NOC to seek Fire and Life Safety Inspections. Type A IBs have to obtain necessary accreditation scope as per various regulatory requirements, standards in the country. These IBs may have to seek accreditation as per IAF Code 34 ; NACE Code 71 which addresses the Inspection of Buildings activities
At the moment NABCB Accredited IBs with above IAF Scope are not found NABCB Registry. Few IBs may seek Accreditation under above scope to cater to the requirement specified by NABH in future. Healthcare organisations have to refer NABCB’s Registry for more updates on the accredited IBs list.
It’s a good move to encourage healthcare businesses to show compliance and adherence to Regulatory, Statutory requirements by offering Safety and Assurance to the users of healthcare facilities and Employees as well.