BFP records zero firecracker-related fires in 2020 revelry

Maris Federez   •   January 2, 2020   •   200

MANILA, Philippines — The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) has recorded a zero firecracker-related fire in the country during the New Year revelry.

This is contrary to the period December 31, 2018 to January 1, 2019, wherein the BFP recorded four firecracker-related blazes.

Based on BFP data, from Dec. 31, 2019 to around six in the morning of January 1, 2020, a total of 13 fire incidents were logged down although these were not due to the use of firecrackers.

BFP Spokesperson F/SSupt. Geranndie Agonos, the low fire-incidence is due to the public adherence to the advisories and warnings on the use of firecrackers and pyrotechnics.

“Kyung mayroon man pong firecracker-related sa kabuuan ng taon, makikita po na lalo po itong bumababa. Naitala po sa taong 2018, mayroon pong 22 sunog na bunga ng firecracker. Pero ngayon pong taong 2019 ay 13 na lamang po. So, higit pong bumaba ang bilang ng sunog bunga ng firecracker,” Agonos said. — (with details from Asher Cadapan, Jr.) /mbmf

DILG wants firearms for firefighters issued this year

Robie de Guzman   •   February 13, 2020

MANILA, Philippines – The Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) is looking to arm 29,286 firefighters of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) this year in line with the government’s drive against illegal drugs, criminality, terrorism and violent extremism.

“Maintaining law and order is not an easy task. Despite the decreasing crime rate in the country, having the BFP’s firefighters in our peace and order campaign is a boost and welcome addition in ensuring a safe and secure country,” DILG Secretary Eduardo Año said in a statement issued Wednesday.

The DILG chief said firemen will be armed with 9MM pistols to strengthen the government’s law enforcement campaign, and also for self-defense purposes as fire victims, out of frustration, sometimes gang up on fire personnel during firefighting operations.

“May mga pagkakataon na sa kagustuhan ng mga tao na unahing isalba ang kanilang nasusunog na bahay, kinukuyog nila ang mga bombero at nagkakagulo. Nais din naman nating protektahan at sundin ng mga tao ang ating mga bombero habang ginagawa nila ang kanilang trabaho,” he added.

Año believes the move is “timely and critical,” and in line with President Rodrigo Duterte’s directive of engaging BFP’s help to maintain law and order and not to limit their roles to firefighting.

He also said that the BFP, along with the Philippine National Police and the Bureau of Jail Management and Penology, is permitted by law to assist government troops in times of national emergency if ordered by the president under the Republic Act 6975.

“The BFP also does law enforcement functions because they enforce the Fire Code so they already have some experience in this regard. The BFP can help ensure public safety, as a support to the PNP and AFP but of course, their primary responsibility is still preventing and suppressing fire and enforcement of the Fire Code,” he said.

Año revealed that the BFP has already requested funds from the Department of Budget and Management for the procurement of the firearms.

He also assured that firemen would undergo marksmanship and gun safety training before they will be issued their firearms.

“Hindi rin naman natin basta-basta aarmasan sila ng walang tamang training,” he said.

For his part, newly-appointed BFP Director Jose Segundo Embang said he welcomes the move to arm BFP personnel, adding that this is a necessary upgrade in terms of responsibilities and skills “to cope with the demands of the times.”

“Hindi na ito yong conditional firefighters na nakikita natin before. Ito na iyong mga modern heroes, kung makikita ninyo sa mga disasters. Hindi lang sa mga natural disasters but even during man-made disasters, kasi sila talaga ang first responders, sila ang cornerstone of emergency preparedness and response,” Embang said.

“Ngayon ay makakasama na kami sa pagpapanatili ng public safety,” he added.

Fire reduces around 100 houses in Quezon City to ashes

Maris Federez   •   January 1, 2020

QUEZON CITY, Philippines — Around 100 houses were reduced to ashes as fire razed Barangay Vasra in Quezon City an hour before the turning of the new year.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said the fire immediately reached task force alpha on Palanas street at around 11 in the evening on Tuesday (Dec. 31) which left residents scurrying to leave the place with whatever household items they can bring.

Most of the households in the area were busy preparing for the new year festivities when the fire broke out.

The BFP firefighters declared fire out at past 1 in the morning.

Investigation on the cause of the fire is now in place said the BFP. — (with details from Nel Maribojoc) /mbmf

Firecracker-related injuries reach 19 —DOH

Maris Federez   •   December 26, 2019

MANILA, Philippines — The Department of Health (DOH) reminds the public anew of preventing firecracker-related injuries as the number of victims of firecracker lighting has reached 19 since Saturday (Dec. 21).

This means that the DOH has failed to achieve its target for a zero-fireworks related injury for 2019.

The health department said the 19 victims, mostly male age 14 to 60, sustained burns and eye injuries and severe damage that needed to be amputated.

DOH spokesperson Usec. Eric Domingo has advised the public to just watch the community fireworks display instead.

The local government units (LGU), he said, usually have a fireworks display scheduled in the communities.

“Sa New Year pwede naman tayong mag- enjoy, mag- ingay […] Pwede namang mag- ingay at salubungin ang bagong taon nang hindi paputok ang gagamitin para ma- prevent natin iyong mga sakuna,” Domingo said.

The health official also mentioned alternative noise-makers to be used during the end-of-year festivities, such as drums, blowhorn, and even metal pots and pans.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) added the use of whistle as a noise-maker.

The health department hopes for a total ban of firecrackers in the country in the coming years. — (from the report of Aiko Miguel) /mbmf

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