Strengthening firefighting in Oro

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Sunday, March 16, 2014


FIRE fighters representing the twelve fire brigades of the barangays here competed in the annual Fire Olympics at the Limketkai Mall parking area Saturday.

“The Fire Olympics have been an annual event in Cagayan de Oro City highlighting the fire prevention month. This aids our fire prevention campaign through promoting safety awareness and enhances the capability of the different fire brigades of our barangays,” said Supt. Shirley Sausal-Teleron, District Fire Marshall.

Teleron is optimistic that the activity would help in enhancing the camaraderie of the different fire brigades with the personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in working as a coordinated team in fighting fire.

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“Presently the City’s BFP has around 130 personnel, in reality we can’t keep up with the demands of our task without the help of our barangay fire brigades and the different civic fire volunteers. We acknowledge the need for more personnel as well as technologically high-end firefighting equipment as the city is growing and there are new high rise buildings,” she said.

Inspector Arnold Lagbas, commander Puerto Fire Station 8 and chairman of combat fire challenge, echoed the need to enhance the ability of the fire fighters in firefighting.

“Our different fire brigades are going to be the first responders in the field. This event would help enhance their capability since it will train them to push their firefighting abilities to the limit,” said Lagbas.

Engineer Noli Dela Rita, BFP-10 spokesman, said that in March alone the fire bureau recorded around 56 fire incidents.

As to the amount of damages due to fire, Dela Rita said they have not collated the data yet for the month but it could be less than a million excluding the fire incident in Initao, Misamis Oriental last week. The damage of the said fire was pegged at P3 million.

He added that during the first quarter this year, BFP-10 estimated around 100 fire incidents that were recorded in their office.

“There are days that fire incident reports would range from one to three and some days none,” Dela Rita said.

He said that faulty electrical wirings have remained the main reason for fires, but the incident reports have increased due to grass fires as dry spell is being felt now.

Teleron said that one of the reasons of the spike of fire incidents would be the rubbish and grass fire. “This is the first that the fire bureau includes the grass and rubbish fire incidents.”

Based on a document given to this paper, residential fire incidents in the year 2013 reached 583 while in 2012 there were only 324.

For industries and factories, the fire bureau tallied P54,327,800 worth of damages in 2012 and P323,373,892 in 2013.

Dela Rita said the costliest fire incident last year was the Granex Corporation in Barangay Kiwalan, Iligan city, where it took five days of firefighting with an estimated damage of P583 million.

Dela Rita said he is urging the public to be careful with fire use.

‘It is normal that fire incidents would spike in March because of the hot weather.

He furthered that dried leaves and other materials that can easily burn during hot season is the usual reason behind fire incidents.

“If we can implement something that is beyond red alert status, we would implement it all year round,” Dela Rita said.

He also encouraged people in houses to become conscious of the dry leaves that can cause fires.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 16, 2014.

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