FOLLOWING the fire incidents that hit two shopping malls in Davao and Cebu, Inter-Agency Anti-Arson Task Force (IAAATF) spokesperson Jerry Candido reminded mall owners to regularly conduct inventory of their fire safety equipment to ensure that these will function in case of emergency.
"They themselves must always conduct inventory of their own fire safety requirement system especially the alarm system," Fire Senior Superintendent Candido said on Wednesday.
During the fire safety inspection of the buildings or business establishment by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) fire safety inspector, all the fire safety requirement checklist must be followed and in compliance with the safety standards before they issue Fire Safety Inspection Certificate (FSIC).
Since fire safety inspection is only conducted once a year, mall management and its safety officers must have regular checkup of the fire safety measures to ensure that these are functioning and to address deficiencies.
The FSIC is a pre-requisite or one of the requirements for the issuance of a business permit and its renewal is done every year.
"Kung kami po, pag-conduct namin ng fire safety inspection operational yan we do not know after that kasi anytime mag down yan," Candido added. "Everyday dapat ini-inspect. May mga safety officers naman sila alam nila yan," he added.
Aside from the automatic alarm system, the fire suppression systems, like the sprinklers, must be checked as well if these are operating.
It can be recalled that based on their investigation inside the NCCC Mall Davao that was razed last December 23, 2017, they noted that the fire alarm system of the mall is not interconnected to the Sampling Survey International (SSI) office at the fourth floor and caused the late warning of the SSI employees.
Another violation they cited was the sprinkler didn't function when smoke started to blanket the building that could have lessened the smoke if it worked.
The fire resulted to the death of 38 individuals after being trapped. It also triggered the mall management to close down the mall and the BFP to recommend its total demolition after the fire gutted it down. It posed danger when an earthquake occurred because of its instability.
A separate fire incident, which hit Metro Ayala Center in Cebu, started at the toys stockroom on the third floor of the Metro Ayala department store around 9:30 p.m. Friday, January 5. No casualties were recorded.
Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on January 13, 2018.
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