Koronadal City, South Cotabato – In celebration of the annual Fire Prevention Month every March, the Bureau of Fire Protection – South Cotabato Provincial Fire Office (SCPFO) was invited to a Kapihan sa Kapitolyo Press Conference on March 3, 2021 at the Provincial Capitol of South Cotabato.
The presscon, organized by the Provincial Information Office (PIO) was graced by SCPFO Chief Admin SFOI Elias M. Guiomala, Emergency Medical Services and Logistics Chief FO3 John Paolo M. Cabucan, Public Information Section Staff FO1 Dearlie S. Espera, and Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO) OIC Rolly Doane C. Aquino.
The celebration kicked off last March 1, 2021 with a motorcade of firetrucks joined by the BFP’s public and private partners and volunteer fire brigade. The blowing of siren indicated that the activities have already begun in the regional and national level but which conform to the strict guidelines on COVID-19.
By virtue of Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A, the month of March was declared as Fire Prevention Month because of the alarming increase of fire incidents happening across the country during this particular period.
The BFP, as the government agency mandated to prevent and suppress all kinds of destructive fires, investigate its causes, enforce fire-related laws and provide emergency medical and rescue services, anchors all the activities for the Fire Prevention Month towards fire safety at home by introducing innovative programs and activities leading towards motivating the public to take fire safety as everyone’s concern.
This year’s theme is “Sa Pag-iwas sa Sunog, Di Ka Nag-iisa.”
The fire prevention month campaign, according to the measure, promotes “safety consciousness among our people every day of the year as a positive preventive approach to a problem that can be solved by more caution, vigilance, sobriety, exercise of common sense and respect for the law.”
A recorida for Fire Safety Tips or Oplan Ligtas Pamayanan New Normal On the Road has also been conducted. Recorida comes from the word “recorrida” used in Spanish to mean “tour and record.”
To avoid the occurrence of fire, the BFP has recommended these tips:
- Unplug all electrical equipment when not in use and regularly check electrical equipment to avoid overloading of electrical circuits.
- When using cooking gas, check for gas leaks and always ensure that the LPG tank is stored in a well-ventilated area to avoid the accumulation of gas vapors.
- Enforce “No Smoking” policy inside or outside the house and dispose of cigarette butts properly.
- Practice proper housekeeping and keep flammable materials out of reach of children. Flammable materials include candles, lighters, and matches, which should be kept properly and securely.
- Plan ahead – establish an emergency and evacuation plan at home and familiarize with escape routes. And most importantly, keep flammables away from your children.
- In case of fire, close the door of the burning area to stop the spread of fire. As smoke rises up, breathe slowly, and get a piece of wet cloth to cover the nose and mouth to avoid suffocation.
- When trapped in a fire-hit area, it is highly recommended to go to a room with windows leading outdoors.
- If clothes catch fire, do not run or panic, do the: “Stop, Drop, and Roll. “In this life-threatening situation, shout for help or wave a cloth outside the window to alert the people around you and keep in mind to remain calm.
- The most important thing to do is to call 911, the nationwide emergency hotline number, and tell the emergency operator of your location right away.
In the province, SFOI Elias M. Guiomala reported that fire incidents have decreased for the year 2021.
Based on the data, there were thirty eight (38) fire incidents from January to March 2020.
Meanwhile, there were only eighteen (18) incidents from January to March 2021, despite the lack of the agency’s personnel and firemen.
In 2020, there were one hundred fifteen (115) incidents all in all, with P51.7M total damages. March and April recorded the most number of cases due to the very hot weather and the dry surroundings.
This month, the agency will conduct a training for its Special Rescue Unit which specializes in all forms of rescue, to boost the “response capabilities” of firemen.
Through this special training, firemen will sharpen their decision-making skills and hone their techniques on collapse structure rescue operations, water search and rescue, high angle and vertical rescue and vehicular accident rescue.
After this, the graduates equipped with operation management capabilities and medical rescue services are expected to respond in unfortunate incidents, natural disasters and emergencies other than destructive fires.
The BFP is responsible for the prevention and suppression of all destructive fires on all buildings, houses and other structures, forest, transportation vehicles and equipment, ship or vessel docked at piers or wharves or anchored in major seaports, petroleum industry installation, plane crashes or other similar incidents, and the enforcement of the Fire Code and other related laws.