AboitizPower and its business units express support for National Fire Prevention Month in March, recognizing that while it is important to raise awareness on fire safety during this time, this mindset should be carried throughout the rest of the year.
The company’s distribution utilities Visayan Electric and Davao Light, which are respectively the country’s second and third largest electricity distributors, as well as Cotabato Light and the Enerzone Group are at the forefront of promoting fire safety in the group as this is also often linked to electrical safety.
The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) responded to an average of 15,733 fire incidents across the country each year between 2013 and 2018, the top three causes of which are faulty electrical connections, unattended cooking, and lighted candles or cigarette butts. In Metro Manila alone, electrical connection issues cause over 50 percent of fire incidents recorded each year.
With around one million customers within its franchise areas, the AboitizPower Distribution Utilities endeavor to educate the public on the importance of keeping their homes and workplaces safe from faulty electrical wiring-related risks.
“Our mission is not only to bring reliable power supply to homes and businesses but also to make sure this power supply reaches them in the safest way possible. We collaborate with the BFP and local fire brigades to enhance our personnels’ skills in handling fire incidents and, more importantly, how to prevent them. However, we need to have a total system safety approach. Everyone, especially the owners of these homes and establishments, must play their part in ensuring safe electricity distribution and use,” AboitizPower Distribution Utilities Chief Operating Officer Anton Mari G. Perdices said.
Among the DUs’ initiatives pushing for electrical and fire safety are its classroom rewiring projects, wherein outdated electrical systems in public schools within their respective franchise areas are upgraded to mitigate related hazards. The distribution utilities are also constantly reminding their customers to follow the latest electrical safety standards and best practices for electrical safety in their households.
Across the country, AboitizPower’s generation subsidiaries also play their parts in promoting fire prevention all year round through regular on-site fire drills, first aid training, and other associated initiatives.
“The observance of fire safety should be everyone’s concern not just for one month every year, but for every waking moment. On our part, we make sure that our facilities and operations are on par with the standards in the Fire Safety Code. We also welcome opportunities to partner with the BFP and local fire brigades to raise awareness and improve capabilities within our host communities,” AboitizPower Vice President for Safety, Health, Environment, and Security Richard A. Cruz said.
March was chosen as Fire Prevention Month in the Philippines since the country’s dry season is statistically when most fire incidents occur. This year’s theme is “Sa Pag-Iwas sa Sunog, Hindi Ka Nag-iisa” (In Fire Prevention, You Are Not Alone), driving the point that safety isn’t just one or two sectors’ responsibility.
Therma Visayas, Inc. (TVI), operator of AboitizPower’s 340-MW baseload power plant in Toledo City, Cebu, is a staunch supporter of the local BFP chapter, having participated in all of their Fire Prevention Month motorcades around the city since 2018. Meanwhile, TVI’s sister company, Therma South, Inc. (TSI), which operates a 300-MW baseload power plant in Davao, conducts virtual fire safety awareness sessions for its workforce as well as community members and is currently looking at a partnership with the BFP to level up their fire drills.
On top of this, AboitizPower’s facilities are installed with state-of-the-art fire suppression and paging systems as well as appropriate signages and evacuation maps such as in the Luzon-based geothermal facilities managed by AP Renewables, Inc. (APRI).
The company’s support to the government also goes beyond Fire Prevention Month, with AboitizPower subsidiary Therma Power Visayas Inc. (TPVI) donating to the BFP in the City of Naga, Cebu two motorcycles equipped with fire extinguishers, first aid kits, blinkers, and emergency sirens with a public address system back in December 2021.
These “fire motorcycles” will be used by BFP-Naga to respond to fire alarms in mountain barangays much faster, since these areas are difficult for large fire trucks to access. TPVI also donated other supplies and equipment such as a spine board, emergency trauma bag, static ropes for climbing, and patrol shoes, among others.
“As first responders, having these kits and supplies can help prevent any injury from getting worse and potentially save lives,” BFP-Naga Fire Marshal Senior Inspector Glory Ann D. Bicoy said.
AboitizPower believes that safety should be a priority not only in business but also in every household. Embracing safety as a mindset and culture will lead to a better future for everyone.