FIRE SAFETY FOR CHILDREN. Marikina City Mayor Marcelino Teodoro (right), BFP-NCR director Chief Supt. Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu (middle), and DepEd-Marikina Superintendent Sheryll Gayola (left) ink a memorandum of understanding (MOU) on facilitating a monthly Fire Square Road Show program in the city, on Monday (Feb. 24, 2020). It aims to raise the level of awareness of children on disaster response, especially on fire incidents. (Photo courtesy of Marikina City government)

MANILA – The city government of Marikina on Monday signed a memorandum of understanding (MOU) with the Bureau of Fire Protection-National Capital Region (BFP-NCR) and the Department of Education (DepEd) on the conduct of fire safety roadshows for children.

Marikina Mayor Marcelino “Marcy” Teodoro; BFP-NCR director, Chief Supt. Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan Tiu; and DepEd-Marikina Superintendent Sheryl Gayola signed the MOU after the traditional flag-raising ceremony.

The Fire Square Road Show is the frontline program of the BFP designed to impart awareness among children on Fire Prevention Education and Emergency Response.

“This is the first MOU in Metro Manila and entire country signed between a local government unit and the BFP. With this initiative, we hope that we could showcase and model in the whole country what we could do when everyone works and help each other,” Teodoro told reporters.

He lauded the BFP-NCR for its tireless efforts in promoting fire prevention awareness among children.

“This is the first time in Metro Manila, and in the whole country to ink an MOU with the BFP. I am hoping that with this initiative, it will be showcased and become a model in the country. This is what we can achieve when we come together and work hand in hand,” he said.

He added that it is the joint responsibility of authorities and the people to ensure readiness to respond to fire incidents in order to avoid loss of lives and property.

Tiu said that Marikina City was the first LGU to forge a partnership with the BFP-NCR for the conduct of the fire safety and disaster awareness program of the bureau.

Tiu said children are the most vulnerable in times of fire incidents.

“The Fire Square Road Show serves as our vehicle to disseminate to the entire community the importance of fire safety. It is vital to educate our children on what to do in case there is fire, and how to prevent fire incidents. The young people are the most vulnerable to disasters and fire incidents because they cannot think clearly. This is why they are already charred when they are found by firemen,” he said in Filipino.

Marikina City and the BFP-NCR have also activated the city’s own Search and Rescue Unit (SRU) under the supervision of BFP-Marikina.

Tiu said Marikina City was the first LGU to have a fully activated specialized search and rescue unit under the BFP.

The unit, composed of 14 personnel, is equipped with skills on search and rescue of victims who were either trapped or required to be rescued from fire-hit buildings or destroyed structures.

Tiu added the SRU–Marikina could also respond to “extraordinary situations” and not only limited to fire incidents.

Teodoro, meanwhile, donated rescue equipment to BFP-Marikina such as hydraulic tools which are vital in the rescue operations of the newly activated unit of the local bureau.

In a short program after the flag-raising activity, members of the BFP-Marikina SRU demonstrated their skills in high- and low-angle rescue.

In order for the rescue team to exercise their functions, the BFP-NCR also turned over its own rescue truck to the Marikina City government. (PNA)