A series of fire prevention and safety seminars will be conducted in Metro Manila following the spate of fire incidents that struck the National Capital Region, where 615 fires were recorded in the first two months of the year.
Chairman Francis Tolentino of the Metro Manila Development Authority said the free seminars is part of Lingap sa Barangay, the agency’s community outreach project in densely populated and depressed areas.
The campaign, coinciding with the fire prevention month, also aimed to give Metro Manila residents an update on prevention, safety and quick response during the summer months when fire usually occurs.
“In 2013, we recorded 12, 301 fire incidents and this number increased in 2014 by 40 percent,” said Tolentino.
Fire bureau officials said a total of 615 fire incidents happened in Metro Manila from January to February, killing 18 people and injuring 46 others. They added most of the fires arose mostly from faulty electrical lines, unattended gas lamps and cooking stoves and overheating appliances.
In Manila, two consecutive fires struck the densely populated Parola Compound in Tondo, Manila yesterday and on Monday. Casualties included 2,000 families.
Several people including firemen and volunteers, were also hurt in a series of fires in Barangay Pinagbuhatan, Pasig City; Antonio, Rivera Street in Manila and Cubao and Araneta Avenue, both in Quezon City over the weekend.
Last month, three fires were recorded in Pasay City, two in Makati City, and another in Malabon City.
Regional Peace and Order Council chairman and Pasay City Mayor Antonino Calixto earlier called on Metro Manila residents to take all necessary measures to prevent the incidence of fire.
“It is indeed a sad time for us as lives and properties are lost because of carelessness and neglect of people,” he said.
MMDA also urged local government units to grant incentives and benefits to volunteer firemen, whose lives are also at risk in assisting government firemen.
Tolentino said it is high time that the government should also recognize the hard work and efforts of volunteer fire fighters in combatting fire.
Tolentino suggested the government provides volunteer fire fighters free equipment, fire fighting gears and automatic insurance coverage. He said volunteer firemen might be enrolled in Government Service Insurance System (GSIS) and Philhealth.
At least 700 fire volunteers are assisting the Bureau of Fire Protection for free.
Local government officials should also provide allowance to volunteer fire fighters whenever they respond to fire incidents and the fund would come from their respective peace and order councils, Tolentino said.