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Fire fighting volunteers compete in a buck relay contest during the 14th Fire Olympics held at the SM Uptown grounds in Barangay Carmen on Wednesday. The Bureau of Fire Protection says it needs to upgrade its fire fighting capability in a city like Cagayan de Oro where high-rise buildings are mushrooming. (photo by Jigger J. Jerusalem)

With its rapid urbanization, Oro needs firefighting trucks, equipment upgrade

By Jigger J. Jerusalem
Correspondent .

IN KEEPING with the mushrooming of high-rise buildings due to rapid urbanization here, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said it would need to upgrade its equipment and acquire fire trucks that can enable fire fighters to put out flames on high structures.

Supt. Alan Cabot, city fire marshal, said it’s about time that Cagayan de Oro upgrades its fire fighting equipment as the city has now become highly urbanized with towering condominiums, hotels, and commercial establishments dotting the city’s skyline.

Cabot said the city must have fire trucks equipped with an aerial ladders.

He said President Duterte has said recently that he would allocate some P15 billion for the BFP modernization.

Part of the modernization program of the fire bureau here is the procurement of six new fire trucks with upgraded capabilities.

“Hopefully, we can obtain one of those brand new fire trucks with aerial ladder,” Cabot told reporters.

He said the upgraded fire truck has an aerial ladder that allows fire fighters to put up flames in eight-story buildings. It will cost from P24 million to P27 million.

The standard ratio set by the BFP is one fire truck per every 25,000 inhabitants. According to the Philippine Statistics Authority’s 2015 data, Cagayan de Oro has more than 676,000 people.

Cabot said that with only 15 fire trucks and 105 personnel, it would be difficult for fire fighters to effectively respond to fire distress calls.

Meanwhile, Cabot said they are organizing Community Fire Auxiliary Group (CFAG) in all of the city’s 80 villages.

At present, more than half of the city’s barangays have organized their respective CFAGs.

“The CFAGs  play a vital role in fire fighting as we consider them our force multiplier,” he said.

Chief Supt. Lindy Lauzon, BFP regional director, said CFAGs can prevent fires from spreading before the fire trucks arrive.

He said fires start at the incipient stage and it is essential that it will be put out right away.

“With the CFAGs, we expect them to do the necessary initial action against  fires. That’s how important their role is,” Lauzon said.

Cabot said the CFAG can act as the first responder in case of fire.

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