In 1966, Proclamation No. 115-A declared March as Fire Prevention Month. But of all the months in the calendar, why does it have to be March?
Fire Officer 3 Irvin B. Ramos, a 30-year-old firefighter at Bay Fire Station in the Province of Laguna, has a short explanation for that! (Read: Blessed Sacrament Found Intact As Fire Razes Santo Niño Church in Manila)
“March is the start of the summer season, when the occurrence of fire is more likely to shoot up because of the naturally humid air that is perfect to support combustion,” he says. “Also, you will notice that during this season, grass and garbage fires are common occurrences because dry leaves are perfect for burning.”
Irvin has been a full-time firefighter for more than 10 years now. He says his main purpose “is to serve the people I swore to protect by preventing the occurrence of fires and responding whenever duty calls.”
So to help us ensure that our homes are fire-proof, Irvin gives us five tips to keep in mind!
Tip #1: Get involved.
As part of the Fire Prevention Month celebrations, local government offices would usually hold different programs that promote awareness in fire prevention. Irvin advises taking the opportunity to participate in these. “Participate in planning how to prevent the occurrence of destructive fires at homes,” he says. (Read: Virus-proof your home with these easy (and affordable!) ways)
Tip #2: Have your electrical connections checked.
A report by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) claims that the three most common causes of fires in the Philippines are faulty electrical connections, lighted cigarette butts, and open flames due to torches. These also contribute to the 3 percent rise in the number of fires in 2019 (16,382 compared to 15,848 in 2018).
To prevent this, Irvin advises to regularly have your electrical connections at home checked. “As mentioned, one common cause of fire is faulty electrical connections. Have your electrical connections checked by a professional electrician,” he says.
Tip #3: In case of fire, get out and stay out.
While our home is an investment that we tried so hard to put up through the years, it still means nothing compared to our and other people’s lives. As such, in case of fire or any calamity, Irvin’s advice is to prioritize your personal safety and that of your loved ones. “Leave everything in case of a fire at home. Life is more valuable than anything else,” he says.
Tip #4: Don’t capture it— report it.
“Nowadays we are very hooked on social media platforms and sometimes tend to capture the fire incidents instead of reporting them,” says Irvin. “Remember, the main purpose of mobile phones is for communication. Make use of it.” (Read: Here’s Why You Should Put Trigger Warnings on Social Media)
Tip #5: Take basic precautions.
From the Bay, Laguna, Fire Station’s Facebook page, here are some suggestions that could save you, your family, and your home:
- Turn off LPG tanks, stoves, and other cooking appliances before leaving. Never leave cooking unattended.
- Switch off all electrical appliances or main switches before leaving your house. Do not leave lighted candles or lamps unattended. Never place a lighted candle or lamp near the window curtain.
- Keep matches and lighters away from children’s reach.
- Repair or replace defective wires, switches, and sockets.