Fire safety measures in schools eyed for Ilocos Sur

By SHERWIN DE VERA
www.nordis.net

VIGAN CITY — An executive order on fire safety in schools is eyed by the Province of Ilocos Sur after a Gabaldon-type Building in Santa Central School burned on the morning of October 24.

Ilocos Sur Governor Ryan Singson shared his plan to issue a directive making the installation of fire alarms and sprinklers a standard safety measures in schools during the press briefing for Typhoon Rosita at the Capitol on October 28.

“Kapatang ko pay da apo vice governor ken dagiti board members tayo no mabalin ket aramidentayon nga ordinansa,” he said.

(I will talk to the vice-governor and board members if it is possible to craft an ordinance on the matter.)

He also intends to ask the Department of Education and the Department of Public Works and Highways to include such measures in future school building projects.

Last week, flames engulfed the building used as classrooms by grades one and two. The structure also houses the office of the principal and district supervisor. Investigation made by the Bureau of Fire Protection points to electrical short circuit or appliance left unplugged as possible sources of the fire.

Safety first

The ACT Teacher’s Union Region 1 welcomed the governor’s idea, noting “it is high time that authorities look into compliance of school buildings based on the country’s building code.”

“Officials should not wait for another school building to burn. They should conduct thorough inspection of educational institutions and mandate those without such measures to install it,” said Florante Lachica, the union’s secretary-general.

Besides fire safety, he also expressed concern over structural integrity, electrical lay-outs and water systems of DepEd’s buildings projects.

“We have received reports of substandard building projects, especially those rushed for completion for the implementation of K to 12. These must be reexamined to ensure the safety of the students and teachers,” Lachica said.

However, he reminded the costs of such measures must be shouldered by the government and not be passed to the teachers and parents.

Fire code

Under the Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008 or Republic Act No. 9514, fire alarm systems or devices must be provided for public and private buildings, structures and facilities.

In December 2008, the government passed RA 9514 replacing Presidential Decree No. 1185. The implementation of the new law, in effect, made those compliant with the old fire code non-compliant with the more stringent provisions of the new one.

As part of the occupants’ protection, Section 10.2.9.5 of the implementing rules and regulation mandates the installation of fire alarm facilities and automatic fire suppression system. # nordis.net

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