I still remember hearing the blaring sirens of fire trucks and even more notably, the cries of the Torres couple and their daughters, who all escaped the blaze unscathed but lost their home and all they owned. I was about five years old and remember grabbing a bucket of water and a pail, thinking it would help put out the fire. I never learned what caused it.
Fast forward to Christmas Eve 2004. A house nearby was a picture of everything gone wrong as the flames ate it away. Again, fortunately, nobody was hurt. Thank God for helpful Barangay patrolmen, firemen and concerned neighbors, no one was hurt, although the beautiful house was reduced to cinders. Candles spread across the living area were said to have caused the fire.
Fires are always disastrous - physically, financially and emotionally – and they often happen out of neglect. Precaution, it seems, is something we all need to be reminded of. Thus, by virtue of Proclamation No. 115-A , March has been observed as Fire Prevention Month since 1966.
This year’s theme, “Kahandaan sa Sunog Tungo Sa Kaunlaran” or Fire Prevention Towards Progress, reminds us of the degree of devastation fires can cause, and how prevention is necessary on a national level so we can truly move forward. A project of the Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP), the Fire Prevention Month kicked off with activities such as school and Barangay visits, building and equipment inspections, and drills, demonstrations and competitions are conducted to promote awareness and get citizens to cooperate.
Though there are no actual statistics on the BFP website, we all know that the heat of summer ushers in more blaze. Here are some tips you can share with your family members:
1. Invest in home fire extinguishers. Keep them clean, and take note of their expiry dates for reloads. Make sure every capable adult knows how to use them. Buy the ABC type to cover all fires. Class A is for trash and wood, B for liquids and gases and C for energized electrical equipment.
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2. Install and maintain smoke detectors.
3. Keep lighters, matches, flammable liquids and sprays away from children, preferably in a locked cabinet inaccessible to kids. Teach your children not to play with these items.
4. Do not smoke inside the home. Notonly is it unhealthy but it is a fire hazard as well.
5. Check your house for escape routes, and plan and practice with the family. You can make this a fun Sunday activity.