BASED on previous assessments, the Bureau of Fire Protection Davao Region estimated that 60 to 70 percent of boarding houses in Davao City are safe.

"I cannot say that boarding houses in the city are 100% safe. There are those who are still in the process of complying, others are non-compliant, while there are others that do not declare they are boarding houses," said fire inspector Nestor Jimenez of the Fire Safety and Enforcement branch of BFP.

BFP data for January-May 2014 reported 41 hotels, 80 dormitories, 129 apartment buildings, 159 boarding houses, and 1,161 single-and-two family dwelling establishments inspected.

"So far this year, there have been two fire incidents in boarding houses, one in Barangay 5 and one in Barangay 21," Jimenez said.

He said that BFP has been conducting regular inspections of boarding houses and other residential establishments since May this year, as part of BFP's Balik Eskwela Program.

"We call [these inspections] the Balik Eskwela Program, because in May and June, there is a high influx of students," he said.

Jimenez warned students and parents to check BFP compliance of boarding houses and dormitories.

Residential establishments such as boarding houses, apartments and dormitories are required to comply with BFP's standards to get a fire permit, a requirement for business permit.

Residential establishments are required a minimum of 1.83 meters corridor or hallway width. Other requirements include a secondary exit, a fire alarm, a smoke detector, and emergency lights.

Jimenez said BFP also inspects the surrounding areas to ensure ease of evacuation in case of fire.

"If their equipment is substandard, and they lack requirements, then we will not approve their permit," he said.

Those that are unable to comply with the requirements are issued a notice to correct violation and are given a minimum of 24 hours and a maximum of 15 days to comply, he added.