Checks find hospital a fire risk

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THE Angau Memorial Hospital in Lae lacks basic preventative measures and equipment to protect assets and lives during a fire.
Many health workers and administration staff interviewed during fire safety check, admitted that they did not have any idea as to how to use fire extinguishers.
Lae Fire Services commander Superintendent Bal Kenna led his 20 officers in a fire safety and emergency check with the hospital quality assurance officer Steven Nawik yesterday.
Notable were wards without emergency exits, like the intensive care unit (ICU), accident and emergency unit, special care infant nursery, operating theatre, surgical and acute wards.
Kenna said according to the Building Board Act and management rules, it was paramount to have in place fire safety and prevention measures during emergencies to protect human lives and assets to minimise the risks.
Similarly, the trainings to enrich staff in respective units on how to use fire extinguishers and how to rescue patients and move them to safer assembly areas were crucial in such government institutions that dealt with people’s lives.
The hospital has 56 sections with 550 workers.
Kenna said there was no water booster, lack of stand-alone Millcock pumps or water hydrants within the square perimeter of the hospital, no emergency direction signs and emergency assembly area or emergency direction signs.
“Although there were main fire indication systems, the one located at the Gware Wing and two at the newly built wards, they were not linked to a central coordination centre that could indicate which particular unit or building was under threat of fire,” Kenna said.
“It is crucial to include the installation of fire-fighting equipment at an initial stage of planning before building of such institutions.”
Kenna advised Nawik to provide the hospital’s site map and building plot plans to ensure they identified apt locations to install necessary equipment.
Nawik said the critical units included ICU, emergency unit, surgical and acute and special care nursery. “Also the possible fire-hazard buildings are the deteriorating two cancer wards and tuberculosis ward,” Nawik said.
Nawik said he would provide a detailed report to hospital chief executive Dr Christopher Kenyhercz who was abroad.

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