Benjamin Abalos

BFP to require regular drug tests, psycho exams to fire truck drivers

August 19, 2023 Joel dela Torre 224 views

THE Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) is set to revisit the memorandum circular on fire volunteers following the Tondo, Manila incident where a 62-year-old woman was killed and eight others were injured after a responding (volunteer’s) firetruck accidentally hit them.

According to Fire Director Louie Puracan, the BFP is considering a meet-up with volunteer fire brigades to discuss with them several guidelines and response protocols that need to be reviewed and possibly amended.

Following the Monday (Tondo) incident, Local Government Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr. ordered Puracan to implement stricter rules in issuing accreditation to volunteer firefighters and require them to have the qualification standards needed for this risky job.

At the same time, volunteer fire truck drivers should also be required to undergo drug tests and neuropsychiatric examinations regularly to ensure that they are fit to drive during such precarious situations.

“Ang sabi ko kay Chief ay i review na ang present guidelines sa accreditation, lalo na ang qualification ng driver (no record on reckless driving, accidents, use of drugs, etc). Dahil nga ‘pag may emergency, mabilis ang takbo ng mga sasakyan at baka makaaksidente,. . . if possible, dapat may seminar at exams sa emergency driving,” he said.

BFP-National Capital Region director Chief Supt. Nahum Tarroza described the Tondo accident as a case of “adrenalin rush” as he advised volunteer fire truck drivers to be on themselves and always adhere to traffic rules and regulations when responding to emergencies.

The BFP-NCR head, however, warned the volunteer drivers that they are not exempted from traffic violations and they can be apprehended anytime if they refuse to follow road courtesies.

Tarroza stressed that though if fire trucks have sirens (wangwang), there is always the need to have limitations because it is not a license to ignore traffic guidelines.

“Kapag red, dapat hinto, dapat rehistrado ang sasakyan, bawal counter flow, at higit sa lahat, bawal walang lisensya. . . hindi ko kayo maipagtatanggol kapag naka-aksidente kayo. . . yung iba kasi parang si superman eh,” he said.

Tarroza also reminded the fire volunteers that when it comes to the actual firefighting, they should always remember to coordinate with the BFP personnel because they are more knowledgeable than they are.