2:55 PM yesterday, Mandaue City's Bureau of Fire Protection received a fire alarm from a residential area in Barangay Casuntingan, Mandaue, Cebu City, specifically behind Gethsemane Parish. Fire out was declared at 3:45 PM, according to the responding team of firefighters headed by Senior Inspector Joel Abarquez.
4:57 PM on the same day, the Cebu City Fire Department received an alarm, and this time, the incident was taking place in Barangay Lorega. After 3 hours, the fire was successfully controlled, leaving 8 sitios with 7,000 families homeless (reports said an estimated total of 500 houses were burned).
Cebu's firefighters were indeed busy yesterday, but hopefully, continuous fire incidents like those don't happen again...at least during Fire Prevention Month or the whole summer.
The hot season could really be a major factor houses made from light materials easily catch fire. This is why Cebuanos should pay attention to the following tips now that Mr. Sun is shining wildly and fire incidents are everywhere:
- Avoid smoking inside the house especially when sitting on the sofa or on the bed.
- Avoid throwing away cigarettes that are still lit; check if the cigarette is properly stubbed out before throwing.
- Make sure you use ashtrays if you really can't help to smoke inside the house.
- Check electrical wiring and installations regularly.
- See to it that all of your appliances are unplugged before leaving the house.
- In case of electrical problems, call in a professional electrician to do the repairs.
- Do not overload electrical circuits with additional lights or too many appliances.
- Know the telephone number of the nearest fire station.
- Keep matches and other flammable materials out of reach of children.
- Store them in cabinets and other appropriate storage areas so kids in your home don't get to access them easily and play with them.
- Get rid of unused pieces of paper as much as possible since they can easily catch fire.
- Check the LPG tank in your kitchen frequently. If you notice any leaks, seek professional assistance at once. Turn off your LPG tank and your stove as well every time you finish cooking and about to sleep at night or leave the house.
- Never place gas/oil lamps and candles near curtains, and don't let children play with these materials.
Prevention is always better than cure. Bear these precautionary measures in mind so the whole Cebu can be safeguarded from huge fires that could destroy properties and even lives.