March is being observed as Fire Prevention Month here in the Philippines–a perfect time to discuss and raise awareness about the causes, hazards, and dangers of fire.
By virtue of Proclamation No. 115-A, signed by then-President Ferdinand E. Marcos, and Proclamation No. 360 in 1986, the month of March was declared as “Fire Prevention Month” or “Burn Prevention Month.”
The fire prevention month campaign, according to the measure, promotes “safety consciousness among our people every day of the year as a positive preventive approach to a problem that can be solved by more caution, vigilance, sobriety, the exercise of common sense, and respect for the law.”
State weather bureau PAGASA said the temperature and humidity in March start to reach higher levels, with the hot, dry weather causing a rise in reported fire cases around the country.
March is one of the hottest months of the year and it marks the beginning of the summer season in the Philippines. It is also the month that has one of the most alarming fire incidents in the country, based on data by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP).
As we observe this advocacy campaign, we should exercise vigilance and be more aware and knowledgeable about fire prevention to keep ourselves and our family safe.
To make sure that your family and house are safe, the BFP recommends these tips to avoid the occurrence of fire:
1.) Unplug all electrical equipment when not in use and regularly check electrical equipment to avoid overloading of electrical circuits.
2.) When using cooking gas, check for gas leaks and always ensure that the LPG tank is stored in a well-ventilated area to avoid the accumulation of gas vapors.
3.) Enforce “No Smoking” policy inside or outside the house and dispose of cigarette butts properly.
4.) Practice proper housekeeping and keep flammable materials out of reach of children. Flammable materials include candles, lighters, and matches, which should be kept properly and securely.
5.) Plan ahead–establish an emergency and evacuation plan at home and familiarize with escape routes. And most importantly, keep flammables away from your children
6.) In case of fire, close the door of the burning area to stop the spread of fire. As smoke rises up, breathe slowly, and get a piece of wet cloth to cover the nose and mouth to avoid suffocation.
7.) When trapped in a fire hit area, it is highly recommended to go to a room with windows leading outdoors.
8.) If clothes catch fire, do not run or panic, do the: “Stop, Drop, and Roll. “In this life-threatening situation, shout for help or wave a cloth outside the window to alert the people around you and keep in mind to remain calm.
9.) The most important thing to do is to call 911, the nationwide emergency hotline number, and tell the emergency operator of your location right away.
Fire incidents are potentially deadly and very dangerous, but by following these safety precautions from authorities, we can prevent untoward incidents from happening. Just remember that having the presence of mind in any situation can also spell the difference between being a victim and being a fire survivor.
In line with educating the public on fire prevention, the BFP also encourages everyone to get involved and actively participate in fire drills conducted by barangays, schools, place of employment, and local government units. Fire drills are essential and allows everyone the chance to rehearse proper evacuation procedures. These also train participants to behave rationally amidst the crisis. Keep safe. (CA/PIA-Infocomm)
Christian Aguilar.(2019, March 7) March is Fire Prevention Month.