The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) identifies 125 of the 180 barangays in Iloilo City as fire-prone areas.

According to the BFP, materials used in the construction of houses, the number of houses in a given area, the number of residents per house, and the condition of passageways in the area are among the basis in determining whether a barangay is fire-prone or is a high-risk area to fire incidents.

BFP-Iloilo City stated that though the 125 fire-prone barangays of 180 (or 69.44 percent) is quite challenging to manage, the bureau demonstrates a readiness for situations through its preventive measures in place, being in a highly urbanized city.  

Among these preventive measures through “Oplan Ligtas na Pamayanan” is the creation of Community Fire Auxiliary Group (CFAG) in barangays.

However, the BFP laments that only 15 of these 125 fire-prone barangays (or a measly 12 percent) have supported this specific goal of the fire bureau.

One of the identified fire-prone barangay is Salvacion Habog-habog in the district of Molo. In December 2023, a huge fire razed to the ground over 70 houses in the said area. Three residents trapped inside their houses died in the blaze.

To avoid a similar incident, the barangay has submitted a request to BFP for the creation of CFAG, according to barangay treasurer Jing Salbino.

Salbino said that clearing operations against vehicles parked illegally, especially along narrow passageways, have been done repeatedly. Illegal parking is considered pernicious as vehicles become obstructions to fire response. After each clearing operation, vehicle owners come back to park illegally owing to lack of parking spaces.

The barangay further allocated funds for the repair of leaky fire hydrants in three zones, while filling up of five water tanks is assured. A fire drill is on the mapping board for residents to participate in.

The drill is slated in time for the observance of Fire Prevention Month in March.

BFP reiterated measures to prevent fire such as regular inspection of electrical wiring, checking on unplugged appliances and gadgets, avoiding octopus connection and smoking, as well as being vigilant when lighters or matchsticks and anything flammable are in the possession of children.

Further, a secondary exit is a must in each house or in a community.

The public is also advised to keep contact numbers or emergency hotlines of fire stations, police stations, and disaster risk reduction and management teams or emergency rescue teams.

Fire responders have always reminded the public to contact first the fire station before taking videos of the fire incident for social media content purposes. In the event of a fire, the BFP reiterated that composure has a strong chance of beating the heat.