Rey Anthony H. Chiu
TAGBILARAN CITY, Bohol, March 11, 2013 (PIA) –Fire prevention in Bohol just got a little better with almost half of the towns acquiring fire-trucks.
But for Bohol Fire Marshall Esmael Codilla, fire prevention goes beyond acquiring fire-trucks and fire suppressing equipment, a good deal of its comes from active community vigilance and preparedness.
At the recent Kapihan sa PIA Thursday in commemoration of March as Fire Prevention Month, Fire Superintendent Codilla and his group of fire inspectors manning key fire stations in the towns admit that engaging communities is still more effective in fire prevention over buying equipment to suppress a fire that has already started.
Earlier, Supt. Codilla reported that for Bohol’s 47 towns and a city, about 23 fire stations have been activated, and they are hoping more fire stations could be activated in the next few years.
Giving a score of 8 for Bohol’s fire prevention awareness, F/Supt. Codilla also hinted that there is more room for Boholanos to improve in their fire prevention and readiness.
Fire prevention functions of the Bureau of Fire in Bohol has been brisk, especially with the new calendar year where businesses have to comply with their fire safety requirements, said F/Inspector Bongabong.
A law mandates that before business operator’s permits are issued by local government, a fire safety permit needs to be secured, Insp Bongabong, added.
There might be times when, because of the LGU set up one stop-shop for business permits, establishments needing fire safety inspections may not be covered on a day, but he assured these are certainly inspected within the next few days.
Their “for inspection” marks in their fire safety requirements for business applications are cleared as soon.
To engage communities into the fire awareness mode, BFP Bohol has accordingly strengthened its Junior Fire Brigades, one that it believes would be preparing the school kids into the proper thinking of fire prevention.
BFP also supervises fire drills and renders technical assistance for communities without fire escape plans, according to F/Inspector Raul Bustaliño, chief of the Jagna Central Fire Station.
With acute lack of manpower, the BFP also considers the help of LGUs in supplementing the organic personnel with LGU-paid fire aides, he reported.
These fire aides get the same inputs firemen get so that they can also be considered technically capable of assisting organic personnel in fire suppression operations, Bustaniño shared.
Towns then struggling to equip themselves with fire engine equipments have now seen that they can use their disaster funds to secure equipment, and Carmen, Antequera, Pilar, Batuan and Cortes are just some of the towns BFP named who recently bought fire trucks based on provisions of law. (30/sjp)