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.

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. Each year BFP announces a theme and sets up programs and activities to educate the public about fire prevention. This year’s theme is “Buhay at Ari-arian ay Pahalagahan, Ibayong Pag-iingat sa Sunog ay sa Sariling Pamamahay Simulan.”

The Department of Interior and Local Government, through the Bureau of Fire Protection, recommends the following preventive measures:

1. Place the nearest phone numbers of the nearest fire station right beside your telephone.

2. Eliminate combustible materials through good housekeeping. Dispose wastes such as papers, rubbish and other materials that can easily be caught by fire.

3. Keep matches out of children’s reach.

4. Oil lamps, gas lamps and candles should be placed away from curtains. Put out the flame before going to bed.

5. Do not keep flammable materials like gasoline, alcohol and paint inside the house.

6. Regularly check your electrical installations and have all frayed wiring and electrical fixtures changed or repaired by a licensed electrician.

7. Do not overload electrical circuits by plugging additional lights and electrical appliances.

8. Blown fuses should not be replaced with wires or any metal.

9. Never leave a lit cigarette or cigar on pipe unattended. It may fall on flammable materials that could start a fire. Easily combustible household items are clothes, curtains, furniture, appliances as well as items that are made by paper, wood, plastic and rubber.

10. Always have a handy first aid kit.

Let us remember that Fire Prevention Month is not a festive celebration but a time to be extra cautious! The BFP, with its limited resources can only do so much. We should therefore do our share in the promotion of public safety awareness and disaster preparedness as fire is considered a human-induced calamity.

Fire prevention is thus everybody’s concern. Beware of the ravages of fire that may cause havoc to you, your loved ones or anybody else. Be fire safety-conscious to save lives and property not only during March, but all throughout the year. (Glenn R. Lawas)


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