JOHOR BARU: The Fire and Rescue Department is working with 72 hospitals nationwide – both government and private – to ensure they meet fire safety standards and are eligible for fire certificates (FCs).
A task force had been formed to help these hospitals improve their fire safety procedures, said Fire and Rescue Department director-general Datuk Mohammad Hamdan Wahid (pic).
He said this included installing automated sprinkler systems, fire doors and alarms, repairing or fixing the main fire alarm panels, and installing and repairing hose reel systems.
“Some of the hospitals have been given between six months to two years to comply with the requirements in order for them to get their FCs.
“Each hospital has different issues in meeting their FC safety requirements.
“We understand the constraints as some of these hospitals such as the Sultanah Aminah Hospital (HSA) in Johor is more than 100 years old.
“It will require more time and a big budget,” he said.
He added that sufficient time frame was being given as the cost of installing all these fire systems in old buildings would run into the millions.
On June 28, a fire broke out at the Women’s Medical Ward 1 at HSA where 24 patients were warded.
Fortunately, there were no casualties.
On Oct 25, 2016, a major fire occurred at the same hospital, killing six patients.
Hamdan said that all the hospital authorities and stakeholders were cooperative with the department.
He spoke on the importance for hospitals to have FCs since such premises were categorised as high risk when it comes to fire safety as they house sick people.
While waiting for hospitals to
get their FCs, he said the department had taken proactive action including carrying out frequent
fire drills, training and setting up more emergency response teams, installing basic portable fire systems and informing the nearest fire stations to quickly respond during a fire.
Asked about the number of hospitals with valid FCs nationwide, he said presently 158 government and private hospitals had such certification.
He said the public should not confuse FC with the Certificate of Completion and Compliance (CCC).
Under the Fire Services Act, designated buildings including government buildings nationwide are required to have FC, which is renewed annually.
These include libraries, hospitals and home treatment centres, hotels, hostels and dormitories, offices, shops, factories, assembly areas and storage, and general facilities.
“For those without FCs, we will give them notices to instal or repair their fire safety systems.
“However, during this time, they can still operate,” he said.
He added that under Section 33 of the Fire Services Act, those who did not comply risk legal action including a RM50,000 fine or five years’ imprisonment.
Presently, he said the department has issued 4,233 FCs nationwide.