Fri, Jul 13, 2012 - Page 5 News List

Three-quarters of hospitals fail fire test

SOUND THE ALARM:A series of spot-checks on health facilities nationwide has revealed that many of the basic steps needed to prevent fires are not being followed

By Fan Cheng-hsiang and Stacy Hsu  /  Staff reporter, with staff writer

The Ministry of the Interior this week released an inspection report on fire safety and construction management in hospitals across the nation, with only one-quarter of the medical facilities scrutinized passing the inspections.

The report came after a joint supervision group, formed by officials from the ministry-affiliated Construction and Planning Agency and National Fire Agency, conducted spot-checks on 118 hospitals nationwide on their fire protection and construction management between April 1 and June 6.

Inspection results showed that only 30 hospitals passed all inspection criteria, while the remainder failed at least one, resulting in a certification rate of only 25.4 percent.

The report showed that hospitals tended to score higher on their facilities management, with more than half — 57.6 percent — of those examined up to standard. However, only 34.7 percent made the grade on their emergency preparation in the event of a fire.

The five special municipalities, 12 counties and three cities were divided into two examination groups based on the number of “regulated places” in the region. Administrative regions in the first group would see eight of their local hospitals inspected, while four would be inspected in the second group.

One hospital each was inspected on outlying islands, in Kinmen and Lienchiang counties.

Checking the consistency of original public safety inspection reports and on-site assessments, inspectors found that among the first group, the Greater Tainan Government conducted the most comprehensive inspections, earning a high consistency rate of 87.5 percent.

Next was the Changhua County Government, which scored 62.5 percent, while the Taoyuan County Government ranked last at 0 percent.

In the second group, the Kinmen County Government topped the list with a consistency rate of 100 percent, followed by the Chiayi City Government, Chiayi County Government and Yilan County Government — all of whose consistency rate stood at 75 percent.

However, inspection reports by five local governments — including the governments of Miaoli County, Nantou County, Keelung City, Hualien County and Lienchiang County — were found to be totally inconsistent with inspectors’ findings from on-site checks.

In terms of certification rates of local hospitals’ public safety facilities, the Changhua County Government was ranked the highest in the first group, scoring 62.5 percent, followed by the Taipei City Government at 50 percent.

However, none of the inspected hospitals in Greater Kaohsiung, Taoyuan County or Pingtung County managed to pass any of the qualification standards of checkup items.

Compared with the first group, the performances of local governments in the second group were far less desirable.

While the Chiayi City and Yilan County governments both enjoyed the highest rankings and earned an average certification rate of 75 percent, a total of seven local governments failed the random inspection.

Those included the governments of Keelung, Miaoli County, Nantou County, Hualien County, Penghu County, Kinmen County and Lienchiang County.

The ministry said that 54 hospitals failed inspections due to their lack of fire-fighting equipment, such as automatic fire alarms and smoke control, as well as indoor fire hydrants.

Fifty-three hospitals failed inspections mainly because of their poor fire prevention management, the ministry said, because the people they put in charge of the matter were not management-level employees and some staff members even exhibited a lack of familiarity with the operation of fire extinguishers and indoor fire hydrants.

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