THE development of a new generation of Filipino firefighters deserves the support of all sectors of Philippine society, particularly members of the Senate and the House of Representatives.
A bill now pending consideration in the Lower Chamber of Congress seeks to require all fire stations across the country to have at least three fully-trained paramedics 24 hours a day.
The training of paramedic firefighters is part of a new strategy to reinforce the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) as first responder not only to fire alarms, but also to other emergencies.
The emergencies include vehicular accidents and terrorist attacks, said the BFP in a position paper supporting House Bill (HB) No. 5338, authored by Makati City Rep. Luis Campos Jr.
BFP head Chief Supt. Leonard Banago presented the position paper to Antipolo City Rep. Romeo Acop, chair of the House committee on public order and safety and a retired police general.
Dubbed “emergency medical technicians” (EMTs), the paramedic firefighters will be trained in advanced pre-hospital care services and required to attend periodic refresher courses.
These specially-trained firefighters can administer life-saving medications; run blood transfusions; and use complex emergency medical devices, according to the BFP chief.
“We support the posting of at least three uniformed BFP officers who are certified EMTs in every fire station, with at least one on duty per eight-hour shift,” said Banago.
Various quarters said that once enacted into law, HB No. 5338 will go a long way in upgrading the country’s public emergency services.
The training of firefighters as “first aiders” is not only a good idea, but long overdue in the Philippines, where fires claim the lives of many people almost throughout the year.