Department of the Interior and Local Government Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. has asked the public in general to practice fire safety precautions to avoid losses of lives and property due to structural fires.
Abalos also urged the Bureau of Fire Protection to press its fire safety awareness campaign to ensure that communities and households are safe the whole year round.
Abalos made the appeal amid a series of fire incidents in Metro Manila and in the provinces.
“The DILG and the BFP strongly reminded the public to continue to be careful and vigilant to avoid fires,” he said.
The latest fire incident happened at the Pritil Market in Tondo, Manila where two people were reported hurt, and more than P100 million worth of property were destroyed. The blaze, which reportedly started at a food establishment, reached the fourth alarm and gutted the whole market.
BFP records showed that fire incidents increased by nearly 40 percent from April 1-26, 2023, compared to the same period last year.
From 953 fire incidents in April 2022, there were 1,332 recorded fires nationwide this April of the current year, it stated.
The BFP explained the reasons for the increase in fires are the high demand in electricity this summer season “which may compromise the paled power lines, dry leaves, grass, and garbage that are easily burned by the heat of the sun or wild cigarette butts.”
Most fire incidents happened also due to fault electrical lines, unattended gas lamps and cooking stoves and overheating appliances.
Abalos tapped local government units to conduct inspections and coordinate with local BFP offices to ensure proper compliance of establishments with the rules of Republic Act 9514 or the Fire Code of the Philippines (FCP).
“Let’s make sure that the buildings have fire exits, fire protection systems such as sprinklers, hose boxes, and other fire safety features in accordance with the Fire Code of the Philippines. Let’s not ignore these things because the lives and safety of our countrymen depend on it,” said Abalos.
Among the simple fire safety protocols that the people must be aware of include the unplugging of appliances that are not in use; not leaving the stove open; regular inspection of the liquefied petroleum gas or LPG tank; and storing flammable items in a safe location.