Draw lessons from JB hospital fires

The fires at Johor Baru's Sultanah Aminah Hospital serve as an eye-opener for Singapore ("JB hospital hit by 2nd fire; patients evacuated"; last Thursday).

It is good to know what actually caused the fires, so that our medical institutions can draw lessons from the unfortunate incidents, in which six lives were lost ("JB hospital fire blamed on faulty wiring"; last Wednesday).

I wonder whether hospital staff here are equipped with the knowledge to conduct a systematic evacuation process.

As a fire can be caused by many factors, including electrical faults, it is important that the safety of patients should not be compromised.

Hence, fire drills and safety training programmes for hospital staff should be held periodically.

The recent simulated terror attack held at Ng Teng Fong General Hospital was a good exercise for its doctors and nurses, who learnt how to conduct themselves appropriately in the event of a real attack ("Anti-terror exercise held at hospital for first time"; Oct 24).

Besides conducting fire drills and anti-terror exercises, hospitals should ensure all electrical installations are in good order and are functioning well.

This necessitates regular and proper checks by competent safety personnel.

Given recent reports of smartphones catching fire, patients should be advised on the risks involved when using their devices or charging their batteries.

To ensure that a hospital is safe and secure, staff and patients should shoulder a shared responsibility of cooperation and understanding.

Jeffrey Law Lee Beng

A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on November 01, 2016, with the headline 'Draw lessons from JB hospital fires'. Print Edition | Subscribe