Less fires, but more deaths: BFP
The Bureau of Fire Protection ( BFP) on Monday said they recorded a total of 93 deaths in fires from January to March higher compared to last year.
BFP spokesman Chief Inspector Jude Delos Reyes said in an interview with The Daily Manila Shimbun that as of March 25, they reported a total of 3,398 fire incidents, 20.60 percent lower compared to last year's 4,279.
But Delos Reyes said 93 deaths were reported compared to 52 during the same period in 2018.
He said this is due sometimes to negligence in homes as in some cases children were left when a fire occurred.
“Actually its (incidents) more on residential… Really negligence in the home,” Delos Reyes said.
BFP recorded 214 persons injured, higher from 185 last year while number of injured fire personnel reached 18 from 14 last year.
Delos Reyes said there are three main causes of fire.
“Number one, we have electrical. Electrical is the main culprit because ...the use ( sometimes) of substandard wires and also octopus wiring. Our appliances nowadays are more powerful but if a substandard wire was used and it cannot carry its electric capacity, it will overheat and cause fire,” Delos Reyes said.
“Number two is cigarette butts. It should be personal responsibility for all those smoking to make sure that once they disposed their cigarette butts, it would really (be) put off, even the ember, so it will not rekindle,” he said.
“Number three is the open flame...: one is cooking, unattended cooking. (Its) simple but when left out and you are not properly observing fire safety, it could account to burning... included are candles and then torches being used in the provinces that cause grass fire,” he added.
Delos Reyes said they are doing information drive for the public, even fire drills in schools and companies.
He said people should consider “good housekeeping” as it can minimize or at least deter fires.
“We don’t want to judge people but somehow these (incidents) happens on the lower (income) bracket,” said Delos Reyes.
Based on BFP records, the highest number of fire incidents occurred in residential with 1,202, lower from last year’s 1,508. This is followed by mercantile at 148, six higher from last year and storage at 76, down from 89 last year.
He said BFP is not inspecting residential areas as looking over business establishments is difficult for them.
For three months, estimated damage to structural, non-structural and vehicles properties reached to P1, 558,392, 880. 74.
Delos Reyes said though there are lack of fire trucks, firemen respond promptly.
He said the standard is one fire truck should cover about 27,000 to 28,000 people.
“We have been able to manage our firefighting capability well that if we lack fire trucks and personnel, we offset it through our fire campaign and prevention,” Delos Reyes said.
He said firefighting is just secondary to protect people as the main action is preventing fires.
Delos Reyes said based on the Commission on Audit report, the BFP is 44 percent short in firetrucks as it commits to get 1,507 fire trucks but the bureau was able to procure 621 fire trucks.
“For one fire truck, at least 15 personnel, so if you multiply that to 56 fire trucks to be delivered this year, almost one thousand fire personnel is what we need,” said Delos Reyes.
He said for this year they are expecting 3,000 fire personnel.
He added there are 308 municipalities nationwide which have no fire stations and fire trucks. ''Not to mention the service upgrade need for all the cities,” said Delos Reyes.
Delos Reyes said they are having a hard time procuring fire trucks that’s why they thank donors, which makes it easy for them.
“It will shorten the process. If you have studied the procurement process, it’s hard to buy and you cannot choose what you want. Sometimes there will be failure in bidding because players are suing each other. That prolongs the process so because this is donated. We don’t have to think (about) anything... It can really help a lot especially that we lack fire trucks,” he said.
Just last week, around 250 homes were hit by fire and reached general alarm in Barangay Damayang Lagi in Quezon City.
Though no casualties were reported, around 750 families were affected by the blaze, allegedly caused by cooking or faulty electrical wiring. Ella Dionisio/DMS