Building owners told: Follow fire safety standards

CEBU, Philippines – The Bureau of Fire Protection in Central Visayas made a stern warning to all building administrators and safety officers to comply with fire safety measures to prevent the occurrence of fire.

 A massive fire that recently engulfed a 24-story apartment building in west London has prompted the Bureau of Fire Protection to convene building administrators and safety officers yesterday at Ayala Center Cinema 5 in Cebu City.

“Nakita natin yung dalawang malalaking insidente sa Manila at saka sa London, nakita ko din na kailangan nating makausap itong mga building administrators para makita din natin yung compliance nila at kung may problema sila at least magkakaroon tayo nang open forum,” said Senior Superintendent Samuel Tadeo, director of BFP-7.

The London fire left scores of people dead. The 24-storey high-rise was home to 125 families, but visitors may also have been in the building when the flames took hold.

Tadeo said building administrators must comply with the Fire Code requirements, including the provision of an exit or escape route for people in the event of a fire, to ensure the safety of the public.

He said BFP is currently monitoring the fire safety compliance of buildings, such as dormitories, hotels, condominiums, lodging houses, apartments, schools and hospitals.

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He said that, so far, there are no reports about defective fire safety facilities in the city.

“Sa ngayon wala pang dumarating sa aming mga report of deficiencies pero maghihintay tayo,” he said.

During the meeting, Engineer Ariel Miranda, chief of the Fire Safety and Enforcement Section at BFP-7, discussed about the approach on safety protection for modern building construction.

He stressed the importance of “exits” in every building in case of emergency.

“Pinakamahalaga ang means of express talaga. Yung mga exits. Saan ka lalabas o tatakbo,” he said.

In 2008, BFP reported that 34,000 failed to comply with fire safety standards out of the 300,000 establishments inspected across the country.

 Some of the establishments, for example, do have fire escapes but the doors were locked while others are equipped with the fire escape but its doors are locked while others do not have stairs/ladders going to the escape doors.

Inspectors also observed that some fire exits are inside a room, which can be locked, thus, depriving the other occupants of the building to use the emergency exit door during a fire.

Moreover, a plan to form an organization for building administrators was also suggested during the meeting.

Miranda agreed to create such organization, which will serve as an avenue for administrators to raise their respective concerns.

“Sa tingin ko naman nakita naman ninyo yung response nang ating mga administrators and that they are willing to coordinate with the department. Di naman naming kakayanin ito kung kami lang, kung di sila susunod o kung di sila mag co-comply,” he said. (FREEMAN)

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