MANILA–A Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) inked Tuesday between the Bureau of Fire Protection – National Capital Region (BFP-NCR) and other concerned agencies of the government formalized the implementation of “Fire Lanes.”
“Fire Lanes” is a project of the BFP –NCR which “exclusively” uses a lane of EDSA for easier and faster access to the busy major thoroughfares of Metro Manila in times of fire incidents and emergencies.
The MOU was signed by BFP-NCR Director Senior Supt. Wilberto Rico Neil Kwan-Tiu and Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA)’s Chief of Staff Manuel Gonzales who represented chairman Tim Orbos, and affiliated fire brigades in the metropolis.
Kwan-Tiu said it has been agreed that the second innermost lane of EDSA will automatically be given to fire trucks responding to fire incidents to be able to beat the required time of response which is seven minutes.
Under the MOU, motorists who tend to obstruct or interfere will be slapped with a fine of PHP12,500 to PHP25,000 or an imprisonment of one day to one month or both.
All MMDA personnel and other traffic enforcers along the way are directed to assist in clearing fire lanes from all other vehicles.
As this developed, markings and signages in the form of instructions or precautions are yet to be submitted to the MMDA as part of the implementation proper.
Asked by reporters why they chose the second innermost lane, Kwan-Tiu said it is very dangerous for a speeding fire truck filled with water to keep on swerving and overtaking other vehicles while responding to fires.
“Kaya yong ibang sasakyan na lang ang binibigyan natin ng choice kung sa kanan o sa kaliwa sila pupunta,” he added.
If a fire truck can reach the point of emergency destination in less than seven minutes, the BFP official said the possibility of saving more lives and properties are high since a fire gets to burn an entire house made of light materials in just three minutes.
“Maabutan pa natin bago kumalat at maapektuhan ang mga katabing bahay kaya kailangan ng mga motorista ng konting sakripisyo lang,” he said.
Records in the first quarter of 2017 show a significant reduction of structural fires in Metro Manila with only 1,212 compared to 1,391 in the same period of 2016, which Kwan-Tiu attributed to the fire marshals’ continuous effort in reminding and educating the general public about the dangers of fire.