Fire brigade members

August 19, 2023 People's Tonight 211 views

THE recent death of a 62-year-old woman hit by a responding fire truck has thrust outfront the need to impose stricter rules and guidelines in the accreditation of “volunteer fire brigades.”

Reports said the volunteer fire brigade truck killed the woman and injured eight others while responding to a fire in Tondo, Manila last Monday, August 14.

Members of private “volunteer fire brigades” are on call 24 hours a day to respond to emergency calls. Likewise, they are expected to perform non-emergency duties, like water rationing.

In the eyes of various quarters, including the ordinary citizens, it’s high time for the government, through the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), to review the current accreditation guidelines.

Specifically, the Bureau of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) told BFP chief Director Louie Puracan that no fire truck driver should have a record of reckless driving incidents.

Not only that. A volunteer fire brigade truck driver should undergo regular drug test to ensure that he is not an illegal drug dependent, according to the DILG.

DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” Abalos Jr., a former chairman of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), said drivers ought to pass neuropsychiatric exams.

Of course, this is to ensure that the driver is fit to drive a fire truck during precarious situations, Abalos added.

Let’s give priority to developing a new generation of dedicated firefighters capable of preventing and suppressing fires not only in urban areas but also in the countryside.

By training our firefighters, including members of the so-called private “volunteer fire brigades,” we are on track protecting and serving the people and the community.