Senator Sherwin Gatchalian has called for a more intensified fire prevention awareness campaign as the country observes Fire Prevention Month this March.
Gatchalian, principal author of the LPG Industry Regulation Act or Republic Act No. 11592 reminded consumers of the proper handling of liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) to prevent fire-related incidence since a little over 50 percent of households depend on LPG for daily cooking needs.
Last Friday, the senator distributed relief goods and personally visited more than a thousand families in Piapi, Davao City who were all fire victims.
The fire took place last February 25 which reportedly started from children wo were burning copper wires in the area or from a resident who left the butane stove unattended while cooking.
“Maging mapagmatyag sa paligid at maging mapanuri sa mga binibiling LPG cylinder. Siguraduhing nakasara ang tangke ng LPG sa tuwing hindi ito ginagamit upang maiwasan ang aksidente na maaaring kumitil ng buhay (Be vigilant around and be critical of the LPG cylinders you buy. Make sure the LPG tank is closed whenever it is not in use to avoid an accident that could take lives),” Gatchalian said.
In the case of the Davao City fire, the lawmaker noted that firefighters took some time to declare a fire-out due to narrow and inaccessible pathways, making it hard for fire responders to use their equipment.
“Kailangang maging maalam ang ating mga kababayan sa fire prevention. Kung kakayanin, kailangan maglagay ng fire extinguisher sa kanilang mga tahanan at dapat alamin kung saan ang pinakamalapit na fire hydrants (Our countrymen need to be knowledgeable about fire prevention. If possible, fire extinguishers must be placed in their homes and they must find out where the nearest fire hydrants are),” the senator said.
RA 11592 aims to fill in regulatory gaps in the industry, including ensuring the removal of unsafe tanks from circulation to prevent LPG-fire-related incidents.
Gatchalian added the law also institutionalizes the cylinder exchange and swapping program to allow consumers to bring any brand of empty LPG cylinder to any retail outlet and use it to purchase another brand of LPG cylinder carried by the retail outlet.
On the other hand, the LPG Cylinder Improvement Program ensures the quality of all LPG cylinders in circulation to protect consumers.