THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)-Northern Mindanao has intensified its advocacy to raise the public’s fire safety awareness as part of their observance of the Fire Prevention Month this March.
With its theme: "Ligtas na Pilipinas ang ating hangad, Pag-iingat sa sunog sarili ipatupad," BFP Regional Director Lindy Lauzon said there is "a need for partnership with the government and the private sector, individual, the public, for us to really be able to make a fire safe nation."
"Isa man gyud sa mga major challenges sa Bureau of Fire is kaning matawag nato nga public apathy, kaning pagkabanha sa katawhan in regards with the importance sa fire protection (Its been one of the major challenges of the Bureau of Fire is what we call public apathy, the concern of the public in regards to the importance of fire protection)," Lauzon said.
According to Lauzon, the BFP has recorded a total of more than 700 fire incidents in Northern Mindanao wherein more than 500 of them are "accidental," in which a huge percentage of it are due to electrical faults and usually occur in residential areas.
Although he also mentioned that the fire incidents in the region has reduced from 1,600 in 2016 to 700 in 2017.
"When we talk about accidental causes of fire makita nato na naa gyud sa (we can see that its usually due to) human error. When we say human error, it always goes down to one thing: kulang sa kaning matawag nga 'conscious' sa tao para maging safe as far as kaning mga disgrasya sa sunog. So dinha nato makita na (there is a lack of consciousness in the part of the public in regards to safety in times of fire incidents. So that when we notice that) there is a need for us to concentrate more in educating people kay dili man gyud malikayan sa usa ka tao, as human as we are, na usahay dili biktima, walay pagpakabana (since its unavoidable that the public won't be concerned about this especially those who are not victims of these incidents). We don't believe in a perfect fire prevention campaign unless we can get the cooperation of the public," Lauzon said.
Cagayan de Oro District Fire Marshal Richard Arbutante, meanwhile, said they have been conducting fire safety inspections throughout the city.
According to Arbutante, in 2017, they have recorded 913 establishments or businesses in Cagayan de Oro City which were identified as fire hazard or not compliant to the requirements as stated in the Fire Code of the Philippines.
Arbutante said these establishments considered as fire hazard will be given a notice to correct violation which will have to be accomplished within the period of 15 days.
He added that if the owner of building or business fails to correct or comply to the requirements upon re-inspection done by the BFP after the 15-day period, they will be imposing an administrative fine of P50,000 as provided by the Fire Code of the Philippines and will advise the notified person to "execute an affidavit of undertaking" stating therein how many days they need to comply or to correct the identified deficiency or defects during the inspection.
And if the notified person finished complying with the requirements, Arbutante said they will be given a fire safety inspection certificate, adding that the inspections are necessary to prevent possible fire incident and to ensure the safety of people occupying the area.
Aside from public awareness, Lauzon said there are also trainings conducted for BFP personnel and provide them with personal protection equipment, plans to add more fire trucks and replacing the old ones, and modernization of their equipment.
In observance to the Fire Prevention Month, the BFP will be conducting several activities all throughout March, such as a house-to-house campaign for the whole month; a Color Run on March 4 in Pueblo de Oro; and a mall show on March 8 in Limketkai Mall wherein they will be displaying the different uniforms of BFP personnel in an exhibit; and a poster making contest and essay writing contest on March 8.