THERE is a steady increase in fire incidents prompting the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Davao Region to intensify its call for fire prevention awareness.

BDF Davao Region assistant regional director Samuel Miralles said in a press conference Friday that BFP Davao Region recorded a 21.96 percent of fire incident rise from 2008 with 346 incidents to 422 fire incidents in 2009.

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Miralles said there’s a rising trend this year as well. “As of February this year, we have already recorded 51 fire incidents in the region,” Miralles said.

According to the BFP’s January data, Davao City recorded the highest incidents with 16, followed by Davao del Sur with six, Davao Oriental with four, Compostella Valley with two, and Davao del Norte with none, to a total of 28 fire incidents, Miralles said.

Davao City again topped the February data, recording 17 fire incidents. Davao Oriental, Compostella Valley, and Davao del Norte each recorded two incidents while Davao del Sure had none. This totals to 23 fire incidents in the region in February.

A total of P16,510,000 was lost in fire incidents in January while P4,206,000 was lost in February.

BFP assistant regional director for operations Sydney Besana said the BFP will engage the public in a series of activities on fire prevention this month.

Besana said drills and seminars will be conducted to raise awareness and remind the public on fire safety.

“The most common causes of fire is cigarettes and matches, unattended cooking equipment, kitchen grease, unattended lighted candles or kerosene lamps, electrical short circuits, overheated electrical appliances, unattended flammable chemicals in the house of kitchen, debris burning in forest and neglected camp fires, lightning, or acts of arson,” Besana said.

Assistance can be sought from emergency hotline numbers 117, 110, and Davao City's 911, he said.

"If your clothes catch fire, what you should do is stop, drop and roll. Stop when you’ve been in motion. Drop to the ground and cover your face with your hands. Roll over and over to smother the flames," Besana added.