By Jel Santos
A fleet of 19 fire trucks, 16 water tankers and thousands of trained responders were geared up by the Philippine Red Cross (PRC) in observance of Fire Prevention Month.
PRC said they are one with the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in raising fire prevention awareness.
According to PRC Chairman Richard Gordon, the public must remain vigilant, especially throughout this month, and be informed of fire safety tips.
“The PRC is always on the ground to provide prompt response in case of fire incidents, but we must also learn how to reduce the risks in case of emergencies and, on top, how to prevent it. Let every month of the year be a time for awareness and vigilance,” Gordon said.
Based on PRC data, the humanitarian body has responded to 134 fire incidents in 2018, while in 2017, the PRC responded to 436 fire incidents.
On March 1, PRC responded to a fire that hit Barangay Tatalon in Quezon City, which affected 2,200 individuals, and in Barangay Tanza, Navotas, where around 40 houses were razed.
This year’s theme, dubbed “Ligtas na Pilipinas ang ating hanagad, pag-iingat sa sunog sa sarili ipatupad,” intends to promote to the public that diligence is key to prevent fires.
The PRC, meanwhile, advised the public to make sure every member of the household knows where the fire escape is; agree on a meeting place at a safe distance from the home; teach everyone at home how to use a fire extinguisher; if smoke, heat, or flames are blocking your exit route, stay in the room with the door closed; if you can, move near a window and wave something bright (a flashlight, glow stick, or a brightly colored cloth) to signal for help; once you are out, stay out; and if you haven’t already called the fire department, call them once you make it to safety.
The humanitarian organization was cited by the United Fire Association as a volunteer fire brigade with the most fire response in 2016 and 2017.
The PRC has 103 chapters with about two million well-trained volunteers.