Opposing fire-A A +A
Monday, March 11, 2013
A CALAMITY struck earlier this week, with a fire blazing through about 50 families’ houses in a barangay in Cebu City. Damage was extensive, totaling over a million pesos in losses.
As reported, the fire happened just hours after the barangay had a fire drill. Could this have played major role in the safety of Cebuanos?
Whatever the case, it seems like Cebu City is learning its lessons. Half-past March,
the city has had only two incidents reported.
A bright improvement since in 2012, the Bureau of Fire and Protection 7 (BFP 7) reported that it responded to a total of 30 fire alarms for the month of
March—although some of these are small according to the Bureau.
March is Fire Prevention Month. During this month, the BFP is supposed to hold activities that remind people in places like establishments, offices, or schools about what they are to do when a fire breaks out—or better—what not to do so a fire won’t break out.
The practice began in 1967, when then president Ferdinand E. Marcos issued Proc. 115-A. Why March? It’s the start of the hot and dry summer season.
Of course, the chances of sunlight setting a house on fire by itself are pretty improbable. And no, kids with their magnifying glasses won’t be kick starting pandemonium through sidewalk arson. So if such is the case, why then the high record of fire incidents during March here in the Philippines?
Reasons vary, but most cases report fires “are due to faulty electrical connections.”
Here are random tips from wikipilipinas.org to make sure that we don’t fall victim to this usually man-caused catastrophe for the rest of the month, year—even our entire lifetimes.
• Inspect electrical wires that they are still in solid condition; using metallic items like staples, nails, even thumbtack, are highly discouraged.
• Check electrical connections and make sure they’re properly installed
• Unplug electrical appliances right after every use
• Do not overload extension cords/plugs
• Inspect the kitchen. Properly maintain and connect gas stoves and LPG tanks.
• Avoid playing with matches, lighters. Store flammable liquids in safe places.
• Avoid smoking indoors. Check that cigarette butts are fully extinguished when throwing them.
• If possible, install fire detection and prevention devices
• Keep an eye on lighted candles and mosquito coils
• Secure a fire extinguisher, which should be Department of Trade and Industry certified.
Small fires may be easily put out, either by dousing water over it (if it isn’t near electricity, or isn’t caused by electricity), or by covering the flame with a non-flammable item like a dampened rag. If the case becomes too hot to handle, call the nearest fire department and flee away from the location. Head towards the nearest and safest exit, and in case smoke fills up the area, avoid suffocation by crawling as close to the ground as possible.
Be informed and remember that prevention is always better.
Published in the Sun.Star Cebu newspaper on March 12, 2013.