When rushing firetrucks end up causing death, injuries | Inquirer News

When rushing firetrucks end up causing death, injuries

By: - Reporter / @dexcabalzaINQ
/ 05:46 AM August 19, 2023

Interior Secretary Benhur Abalos has ordered the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to adopt stricter guidelines for the accreditation of volunteer fire brigades and require these groups to thoroughly screen the people they enlist as firefighters and firetruck drivers.

The directive came following the death of a 62-year-old woman and the injuries suffered by eight other people, including three minors, who were accidentally hit by a firetruck as it was rushing to a burning neighborhood in Tondo, Manila, on Monday afternoon.

“I directed BFP chief [Director Louie Puracan] to review and fix the present guidelines of accreditation [on volunteer fire brigades], most especially the qualification of their drivers—they should have no record on reckless driving, road accidents, use of drugs, etc.—because when responding to emergencies, they drive their firetrucks fast and might cause accidents,” Abalos said in a statement on Thursday.


“If it’s possible, they should have seminars and exams on emergency driving. It is important that we review the present guidelines,” he added.


Drug tests

Abalos also proposed that volunteer fire brigades’ truck drivers also undergo drug tests and neuropsychiatric exams to ensure that they are fit to drive a firetruck, especially during emergencies.

The driver of the responding firetruck in the Tondo incident was identified as Rodolfo Pineda, 27. He is currently under police custody and facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, multiple physical injuries, and damage to property.

Abalos said the BFP—an agency under the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG)—should ensure that its firetrucks that are being deployed are “mechanically safe, sound and suitable for operation.”

The fire brigades should regularly undergo training on fire prevention, fire suppression, and other related skills, he added.

No specific creds

DILG Memorandum Circular No. 2008-090 prescribes the procedures, policies, and guidelines for the accreditation of volunteer fire brigades. It was signed on May 30, 2008—months prior to the signing of Republic Act No. 9514, or the Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008, on Dec. 19, 2008.

The memorandum circular did not contain any specific provisions on the qualifications of volunteer firefighters, except that they must be 18 years old and above.


All accredited volunteer fire brigades must undergo at least one week of orientation on the protocols when responding to a fire. In case of training deficiencies among members, BFP personnel will serve as resource persons in workshops on fire suppression, rescue emergency services, and first aid, among other trainings.

The BFP currently has 34,363 personnel and 2,799 firetrucks nationwide.

Its current manpower is still short of the ideal 55,270 fire officers to serve the country’s more than 110 million population. The agency also needs 4,191 firetrucks to comply with the international standard of one firetruck per 28,000 people.

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TAGS: BFP, Bureau of Fire Protection, Fire, firetrucks

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