City Fire Department has admitted that its existing inventory of fire trucks is not sufficient to service a growing city population.
Nilo Caabay, Senior Fire Inspector, said their situation is common among fire departments throughout the country.
With Puerto Princesa’s 255,166 population, Caabay said the City Fire Department ideally should have more or less 10 firetrucks. The ideal ratio, he explained, is one fire truck for every 28,000 population.
“Kung titignan natin ang number ng community natin vs firetruck natin ay kulang na kulang. May existing tayong pito at bawat firetruck is proportionate to 28,000 populations at ang dapat per firetruck may 14 fire men na pang set A and set B, or pitong tao sa bawat dalawang truck,” he said.
Caabay also raised his concern on the usability of the firetrucks that are in service right now, which he stated that the firetrucks in the department is “older than me in service”.
“Yung tatlo sa mga firetrucks natin, mas matanda pa sa akin sa serbisyo. Siguro ay mahigit 40 years na serbisyo ‘yung mga firetruck na ‘yun o baka sobra pa nga,” said Caabay.
He noted however that the fire department is getting support from the city government which has provided them four of their firetrucks.
“Ang kagandahan lang dito ay apat sa firetrucks natin ay galing sa city government,” he said.
Caabay said that with their shortage of personnel, their agency is teaching barangay officials how to conduct aid and rescue during fire incidents, and is also organizing fire brigade in barangays.
“Yung ginagawa natin para ma-compensate yung lack sa number ng personnel, lahat ng urban barangays, lahat ng barangay officials, may organized fire brigade na naturuan, ang purpose nito ay kung merong sunog sa barangay nila, sila yung unang reresponde. Pero ‘yung community hindi natin mapilit ‘yan kung ayaw nila,” he said.
Caabay added that they need additional substations around the city, especially in the populated areas such as barangays Tiniguiban and Sta. Monica. He noted there is only one main fire station in the city and one substation located along East Central School.
“Sana madagdagan rin ‘yung substation natin, sana may mailagay sa Bgy. Tiniguiban. Mabahay na rin ‘yung area na ‘yan. Sta. Monica rin, sana magkaroon na rin ng subtstation dyan,” said Caabay.
He added that Sitio Sabang in Barangay Cabayugan is also in need of its own fire substation as it is identified as a tourist spot.
“Sana rin sa Sabang magkaroon na ng substation, lalo pa at tourist destination, ‘wag lang sana sila masunog, dahil siguardo walang tatakbo sa kanila,” said Caabay.