MANILA – Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) Secretary Benjamin Abalos Jr. on Friday ordered the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) to implement stricter rules and guidelines for the accreditation of all volunteer fire brigades.

“Ang sabi ko kay Chief (BFP chief Fire Director Louie Puracan) ay i-review ang present guidelines sa accreditation, lalo na ang qualification ng driver (no record on reckless driving, accidents, use of drugs, etc). Dahil nga ‘pag may emergency, mabilis ang takbo ng mga sasakyan at baka makaaksidente (I told the chief (BFP chief Fire Director Louie Puracan) to review the present guidelines on accreditation, especially the driver’s qualification (no record on reckless driving, accidents, use of drugs, etc). Because when there is an emergency, the vehicles are moving fast and may cause accidents),” Abalos said in a statement.

Abalos said members of volunteer fire brigades must also undergo seminars and examinations on emergency driving.

The order came after a 62-year-old woman was killed and eight others were injured after they were accidentally hit by a responding volunteer fire truck in Tondo, Manila last Monday.

The driver of the responding fire truck was identified as Rodolfo Pineda, 27, who is currently under police custody and is facing charges of reckless imprudence resulting in homicide, physical injuries and damage to property.

Abalos said volunteer fire truck drivers should also undergo drug test and neuropsychiatric exams to ensure that they are fit to drive a fire truck during such precarious situations.

He added that the BFP should enforce stringent rules to ensure that firetrucks of volunteer fire brigades are mechanically safe, sound and suitable for operation.

The DILG chief also said that BFP should also continuously require fire brigades to undergo training on fire prevention, fire suppression, and other related skills.

Abalos, meanwhile, offered his condolences to the family of the victim who died in the incident and asked the concerned volunteer fire brigade association to extend appropriate assistance to those injured. (PNA)