Some nineteen municipalities in three provinces in the Cordillera have no operational fire stations amidst the commitment of the leadership of the Baguio Fire Department (BFP) for each of the municipalities to have their own fire stations to help in the government’s aggressive campaign against fire incidents.
Chief Inspector Jose Paatan, chief of the logistics division of the Cordillera office of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP-CAR), said that of the 19 towns without fire stations, 16 municipalities are in Abra, 2 towns are in Ifugao and 1 locality in Kalinga.
Further, the BFP-CAR official claimed there are also 69 ambulances owned by the bureau while 19 ambulances are owned and purchased by the local governments.
One of the hindrances for the realization of the put up of fire stations in every municipality is the failure of the local governments to donate a parcel of land where the fire station can be built with funds from the national government, he added.
He said that funds for the put up of fire stations in the different municipalities in the country are provided by the national government but the land where the structures will be constructed will be the counterpart of local governments meeting the required area of not less than 400 square meters.
Aside from providing the funds for the construction of municipal fire stations, the BFP also intendeds to provide the municipal fire stations with a state-of-the-art fire trucks and personnel to help in combatting fire incidents in their areas of jurisdiction.
Paatan expressed optimism that the remaining 19 municipalities will be able to donate suitable lands in their areas of jurisdiction for the put up of the municipal fire stations to serve the greater interest of their constituencies.
Under existing guidelines of the BFP, a fire truck is to be staffed by 14 personnel to help enhance firefighting purposes.
However, BFP-CAR regional director Senior Superintendent Ma. Sofia Mendoza admitted that the current manpower of a fire truck is only 7 personnel considering the insufficiency of fire personnel hired by the agency to be deployed in different parts of the country.
During the previous administration, municipalities that do not have municipal fire stations were required to donate a property measuring not less than 400 square meters as the site for a municipal fire station.
She added that the BFP will be hiring additional fire personnel to be deployed in the different provincial, city and municipal fire stations around the region to complete the required ratio of 14 personnel manning a fire truck to help in improving the firefighting capability of firefighters regionwide.
Mendoza claimed the BFP continues to provide the needed trainings to firefighters and fire brigade volunteers for them to become effective and efficient firefighters who will be able to contribute in the government’s efforts for zero fire incidents in the different parts of the country and be able to spare lives and properties from being exposed to eminent danger.