Fire Prevention Month
Fire Prevention Month is an annual nationwide observance held every March in the Philippines during which fire prevention activities are administered by the Bureau of Fire Prevention (BFP), local government units, firefighting agencies, schools, and other institutions.
Education on fire safety and prevention needs to be consistently prioritized in the Philippines given the large number of fires that occur throughout the country, most of which are due to faulty electrical connections. In 2006 alone, there were some 8,823 fire incidents in the Philippines, causing 271 deaths, 596 injuries, and about P3.2 billion worth of property damage.
The observance of Fire Prevention Month in the Philippines began in 1967, under Presidential Proclamation No. 115-A, which was issued by then President Ferdinand E. Marcos on November 17, 1966. March was chosen as the month for this as it marks the start of the hot, dry season during which most fires occur.
Fire prevention tips
The following fire prevention measures are generally recommended:
- Proper installation and maintenance of electrical connections
- Avoiding the use of metal items like staples or nails to fasten electric cords
- Proper maintenance of electric cords
- Proper use, storage, and maintenance of all electrical appliances
- Unplugging of electrical appliances after use
- Proper connection and maintenance of gas stoves and LPG tanks
- Keeping flammable liquids, matches, and lighters out of children’s reach
- Avoiding smoking indoors and making sure that cigarette butts are fully extinguished when discarding them
- Making sure that lighted candles and mosquito coils are never left unattended
- Obeying of “no smoking” signs
- Installation and maintenance of fire detection and prevention devices
- Securing an appropriate and effective fire extinguisher for your home, which should be Department of Trade and Industry (DTI) certified
- Proper storage of flammable items
- Keeping flammable objects away from stoves and other heating devices
- Observing vigilance when cooking
What to do in case of fire
- Small fires may be extinguished by covering the flame with a non-flammable item like a pot cover or a dampened towel or blanket. Water should be used only for non-electrical fires.
- If the fire gets out of hand, the nearest fire department should be called.
- Escape quickly. Your household should agree on an escape plan and each room should have at least two easily accessible escape routes.
- Avoid suffocation in a smoke-filled room by crawling as close to the ground as possible on hands and knees to the nearest exit.
- If your clothes catch on fire, stop, drop and roll to extinguish the flames.
- Antonio, Raymund F. ; Cornelio, Raissa C.; Fernando, Jean; Villas, Liza T.; and De Vera, Ellalyn B. “To the rescue! Fire Prevention Month.” In Manila Bulletin, March 6, 2005.
- "Fire Prevention Saves Lives and Property.” In BusinessMirror, February 22, 2007.
- “Fire Prevention Tips for LPG Users.” In Malaya, May 13, 2007.
- Luar, Diane. “Fire Prevention Tips.” In Cebu Daily News, October 15, 2007.