Just a few days after the Health Ministry announced plans to upgrade electrical wirings and gas pipes in old hospitals to prevent fire incidents from recurring, a fire broke out, this time in Segamat Hospital, Johor, forcing a total of 61 patients to be evacuated.

“The hospital’s crisis management team did well in dealing with the situation,” said Johor Health, Environment, Education and Information Committee chairman Datuk Ayub Rahmat, who added that the blaze was extinguished by hospital staff within 20 minutes.

Patients evacuated after fire broke out in linen room

The incident took place on 28 March, and allegedly started in the linen room in Ward 3, where blankets and patients’ hospital garments were stored said Bandar Putra Fire and Rescue Station operation chief Mohd Aizad Mamat. According to Aizad, the fire and rescue department dispatched four firemen to the hospital in a fire engine after receiving a distress call at 5.34pm.

“The room only suffered about 10% damage as the fire was put out by the hospital staff and security team,” he said.

Fortunately, all 45 male and 16 female patients were evacuated to the hospital’s lobby area, and no injuries or casualties were reported from the incident.

“The staff was able to transfer the patients out within a short time,” Ayub said.

The cause of the fire is currently being investigated.

Segamat Hospital among many in need of upgrade works

Segamat Hospital is one of many hospitals in need of wiring systems upgrade, said Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr S. Subramaniam following the incident. He added that the ministry has requested for additional allocation amounting up to RM600 million for upgrading works of wiring systems at hospitals between 30 and 50 years old.

“As for now, we have yet to identify how many hospitals need to undergo upgrades for its wiring systems,” he said.

“Some hospitals need minimal wiring upgrading works, while there are other hospitals that need an overall upgrade of the wiring systems.”

The decision to initiate upgrading works was made following fire safety audits which were conducted at 46 hospitals nationwide. The audits were conducted following several fire outbreaks in various hospitals over the past few months, including a blaze in Sultanah Aminah Hospital last October, which resulted in the deaths of six patients.

“From the fire safety audit, numerous risks had been identified, among others the ageing fire prevention system, old electrical wirings and installations and the installation of medicine gas system which did not comply with current standards, and other findings,” said Deputy Health Minister Datuk Seri Dr Hilmi Yahaya at the time. MIMS

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