(File photo)

MANILA – The start of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) modernization this year is expected to result in the acquisition of more assets and hiring of more personnel to effectively perform its mandate.

In a Laging Handa briefing on Thursday, BFP spokesperson Supt. Annalee Atienza said the force's modernization would start this year and will run for 10 years.

"We are also doing our best to use the available resources and we thank and appreciate our fire volunteers as they serve as our force multipliers during emergency response. Even in fire prevention, they are also the ones who are exerting efforts to raise awareness among the public," she added.

Atienza said the modernization of the BFP would help address the big gap in the fireman to population ratio, noting that there are still areas in the country that do not have fire trucks or activated fire stations.

She said the BFP needs 168 more fire trucks and 2,352 more personnel as each fire truck must have 14 personnel onboard.

Atienza, meanwhile, thanked the local government units (LGUs) from the mayors down to the barangays and fire volunteers for supporting the BFP’s programs aside from being responders and valuable assets during fire incidents.

Atienza also called on the public to be on the lookout against fire hazards in their homes, noting that most fire incidents are still due to electrical causes.

"From January 1 to March 1, we have 1,984 fire incidents this year. This is lower by 21 percent from last year's 2,520. Electrical emission is still the main reason for these incidents and it has something to do with the use of or appliances and maintaining proper wiring in our homes," she added.

March is commemorated in the Philippines as Fire Prevention Month, pursuant to Proclamation No. 115-A signed in 1966 by the late former president Ferdinand E. Marcos.

This year's observance of Fire Prevention Month carries the theme, "Sa Pag-iwas sa Sunog, Hindi Ka Nag-iisa (In Fire Prevention, You’re not alone).’’ (PNA)