Firetrap Hospitals

Healthbeat 2001 No. 7.jpgHealthbeat 2001 No. 7.jpg

In September, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) of the Department of Interior and Local Government gave the press a list of institutions that have violated the fire code. The list that almost reached a hundred included medical facilities, four of which were run by the DOH. The said hospitals, along with the others, were being recommended for closure.

Soon, the names of the four state-run hospitals were made known to the public. The Jose Fabella Memorial Hospital, Tondo Medical Center, Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center, and San Lazaro Hospital were branded as “firetrap hospitals”. (ManilaTimes, Sept. 19)

Fire authorities, however, “relaxed” the rules and said that the four DOH hospitals earlier tagged as “firetraps” will no longer close shop but has to make sure that fire safety devices are in place to temporarily address the problem. Among the corrective measures being undertaken in the four hospitals are the renovation of its alarm systems, procurement and installation of automatic-battery operated emergency lights, renovation of fire escapes, procurement of automatic fire suppression systems and fire extinguishers. (People’s Journal, Sept. 21)

The DOH faced a dilemma on the hospitals that were earlier ordered closed by BFP for violating the fire code. The department said that although plans to rehabilitate the said hospitals are underway, lack of funds has put it in a tight spot. (Manila Standard, Sept. 21)

In October, the DOH said that the four hospitals in Manila dubbed as “firetraps” by the BFP would need 83 million for the installment of automatic sprinklers and their hi-tech sensor gadgets required by fire authorities. Other requirements needed are fire extinguishers, fire hoses, and the installation of signages leading to fire escapes. The hospital with the most expensive requirement is Jose Reyes Memorial Medical Center with P43-million. (Daily Tribune, Oct. 1)