Earth Hour and fire management

PERSPECTIVE - Cherry Piquero-Ballescas (The Freeman) - March 30, 2019 - 12:00am

Show your concern for our earth and nature by switching your lights off for an hour from 8:30 tonight! Celebrate Earth Hour tonight and join the rest of the world’s environmentalists connect to earth!

The Cebu City Environment and Natural Resources Office (CCENRO) is inviting all to celebrate tonight’s Earth Hour at Plaza Independencia from 7 p.m., with the theme “Change the Way We Live.”

You may want to enjoy watching the night sky during the Earth Hour or even have a romantic candlelight dinner! You can go solo or be with a group or a crowd. What is important is that you switch off the lights at home for an hour tonight. So go ahead, celebrate and enjoy tonight’s Earth Hour however you want to.

Just make sure that you keep your home and your surroundings safe, just in case you use matches and candles later. Be careful not to cause any fire please, during Earth Hour and during this month of Fire Prevention.

Let us all continue to be vigilant always about fire. Let us also organize to effectively manage fire in our homes and our communities.

Ms. Suzanne Assane-Aly, E&V Water and Life Philippines Inc. Program Manager, shared the following steps for fire management in the communities they have organized in Luzon and in Cebu.

Community volunteers are organized to form a Fire Brigade, composed of 15 to 25 dwellers with the water network built by E&V Tubig Pag-asa in the community.

E&V Water and Life Philippines is able to install fire hydrants (around four to six fire hydrants per area). According to Ms. Suzanne, it is important to install fire hydrants inside the community because the fire hydrants of the city are outside the communities of intervention, and in case of fire (if the fire is in the middle of the area), the BFP will not be able to use these fire hydrants to extinguish the fire.

With the installation of the fire hydrants and the creation of the fire brigades, E&V Water and Life Philippines also provides firefighting equipment (fire hoses and nozzles to be used with the fire hydrants, fire extinguishers, water pumps and protective equipment).

The fire brigade volunteers are trained by the local BFP and the Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office. In Mandaue City, for example, E&V Water and Life Philippines has the support of the BFP, the DRRMO, the PERT (Paknaan Emergency Rescue Team) to train the volunteers on the following topics; organization of a fire brigade, evacuation technique, use of the firefighting equipment (water pump, fire extinguishers, fire hydrant, fire hoses, and fire nozzle), and techniques on fire extinguishing.

Each Fire Brigade undergoes four firefighting training (once per quarter) and at least three mock drills (exercises in real situation managed by the BFP). Women are actively recruited to participate in the fire brigade.

Fire brigades organized by Eau & Life Philippines in Mandaue (Guizo and Tipolo) and in Talisay (Tangke) have won awards.

The costs of the firefighting equipment are around P70,000 (per area) including the purchase and the installation of the fire hydrants (plus the fire hose and the fire nozzle) plus the fire extinguishers and the water pump.

Barangays may find these costs initially expensive but the residents and officials may want to consider creating the fire brigades, investing in the firefighting equipment and providing steady water supply to save residences, resources, and lives.

It’s best for all communities to be organized, prepared, and ready for any disaster always!


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