The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is calling on the public to be conscious of fire safety as the onset of El Niño may adversely affect the capability of responders to suppress fires.
Personnel from the San Jose (Antique) Municipal Fire Station were recently deployed to conduct house-to-house visits to remind residents about the hazards that threaten public safety.
They also reminded residents to help conserve water and set aside an emergency water supply which they could use in case of fire in their communities.
Senior Fire Officer I (SFOI) Maria Christina Reyes said their information campaign also included proper water management to ensure that communities will have sufficient water supply, especially in case of emergencies.
Reyes noted that heat and absence of rain during El Niño result in materials becoming dried up, hence, their vulnerability to easily burn and potentially cause widespread fires.
To avoid the occurrence of fires and prevent damage to lives and property, Reyes warned residents, particularly in households where there is a smoker, to be mindful in disposing of cigarette butts as these could ignite dried leaves and other combustible materials.
Apart from causing fires, the fire officer stressed that the open burning of garbage in any quantity which leads to the emission of toxic and poisonous fumes is also prohibited by law due to its implications for the environment and public health.
Further, SFOI Ramil Escander underscored that fire safety awareness must not only be observed every March as Fire Prevention Month, but throughout the year, because fire incidents may happen anytime, especially when caution is disregarded.
He noted that one vital way of securing one’s family and property from fire is practicing good housekeeping, which includes unplugging appliances from the electrical socket when not in use, avoiding “octopus” connections and overloading, and not leaving fires unattended when cooking.
Fire sources must also be out of reach of children, gas stoves be regularly checked for any leak, flammable materials be kept away from fire sources such as candles and kerosene lamps, and fully extinguish live charcoal or firewood after use, among others.
Escander also enjoined families to practice EDITH, or Exit Drill in the Home, as a way of instilling in the younger generation the advantages of fire consciousness and emergency drills.
Fire Officer III Jethro Estilo said that fire calls decreased in 2023 compared to 2022, with reduced fire damages as well — an indication of improved fire consciousness among the public through BFP’s information and education campaigns. (PIA Antique)