Property damage from fire incidents in Valenzuela City has been reduced to as much as 85 percent in the last five years.
Speaking during the inauguration of the new Valenzuela City Central Fire Station on Monday, December 15, FS Mel Jose P. Lagan, City Fire Marshal, said that only Php 27 million worth of properties were destroyed by fire this year, compared to Php 149 million in 2010.
Lagan also pointed out that responses to fire incidents for the last five years have almost doubled. The central fire station posted 410 responses so far this year, up from 209 in 2010.
“We believe this is due to the trust and confidence of the community to its fire department,” Lagan said, adding that neighboring cities like Meycauayan, Obando and Malabon are calling for the Valenzuela City Central Fire Station when there are fire incidents in their place.
There have also been no reports of fire-related deaths or injuries in Valenzuela, he added.
Lagan thanked the city government, whose unwavering support for the firefighters enabled them to carry out their duties.
“As a national government agency whose service is focused on the local community, it’s difficult to keep in step with the city’s great strides (towards progress),” Lagan said. “But with your help and support, we are able to fulfill our duties, and give integrity to ourselves as your firefighters.”
The new fire station is expected to further improve the performance of the firefighters, who have nonetheless responded efficiently and delivered faster response times during emergencies even with limited resources in the past.
The city is also set to acquire four more fire trucks this year, in addition to the eight existing ones. In addition, more sub-fire stations will be opened in 3S Centers across the city.
The fire station is part of the ALERT Center, which is in line with the city government’s plan to make Valenzuela more liveable and disaster-ready.
“This day is a testament to our commitment that Valenzuela is not simply planning for disasters on paper, but, in reality, we are already doing it,” Mayor REX said during the inauguration.
ALERT Center stands for Allied Local Emergency and Evacuation Response Teams Center and is designed to house all agencies focused on keeping the local government functioning in times of calamities. The formal opening of the central fire station is the first phase.
“In January, we will start the construction of the ALERT building, or the disaster-preparedness building, on the vacant lot across the fire station,” Mayor REX said.
When finished, the building will house the CCTV group and the whole rescue unit, both of which are currently in the Action Center; the disaster-preparedness group of the CSWD; the disaster arm of the Public Information Office; and a room that will serve as the mayor’s office in case of disasters.
The ALERT Center was conceived in response to the plight of Tacloban, whose local government was devastated after Typhoon Yolanda hit the city on November 8 last year. The storm left around 6,300 dead and cost around Php 89.6 billion in damage.
“We have learned from what happened in Tacloban,” Mayor REX said. “In case the strongest typhoon or earthquake hits us, Valenzuela City is ready and willing to go.”