WATCH: Pasig City battles blazes with unmanned firefighting machine
MANILA, Philippines – Pasig City firefighters are brave, but when it gets too hot and dangerous to enter a building, they know they’ve got a friend to back them up.
The city recently acquired an Unmanned Firefighting Machine (UFM) – a remote-controlled machine that pumps a combination of high pressured air and water to fight fire. It’s the first of its kind in the Philippines.
Although the UFM may look small compared to a standard fire truck, it is one of Pasig City’s strongest firefighting weapons. It runs on continuous track wheels and can pump 2,500 liters of water a minute through a hose that connects the machine to a tanker truck. With one man maneuvering the machine using a remote control, the UFM can shoot water to suppress fires in confined spaces. If water is unavailable, it can spew air to clear smoke and toxic gasses, and allow rescue teams to enter the scene.
In a turnover ceremony on April 24, Pasig City Mayor Robert “Bobby” Eusebio said the city council acquired the P19-million UFM because there was a gap in the city’s ability to fight large factory or industrial fires. It also addresses the problem firefighters encounter when entering narrow streets or spaces.
“Tamang-tama na merong unmanned vehicle katulad ng ganito para kahit papaano sa mga maliliit na eskinita, madali namin maipapasok, maisusupo ang sunog,” said Eusebio. (It’s the right time for us to have an unmanned vehicle like this so that it’s easy to enter narrow streets and quench fires.
It is useful especially during factory, basement, and chemical fires. Since it’s unmanned, it can enter areas which may typically pose a high threat to humans, such as areas which may have hazardous gasses or extreme heat.
Pasig City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Chief Ritchie Van Angeles said that the UFM will help firefighters do their jobs safely.
“Isang malaking bagay kung may ganitong equipment para rin makatulong ng mas mabilis, at tas ligtas din sa firefighter habang nagpi-penetrate sa mga sunog,” Angeles said.
(It’s a big thing if you have this kind of equipment to help in a faster and safer way for the firefighter when penetrating through fires.)
Unmanned FireFighting machine in Action at Trinoma Fire. Pasig City responded to the request assistance call. A project of Mayor Bobby Eusebio for the City DRRM program. (The Bureau requested assistance to help cool down the area and do positive ventilation in order for other responders to penetrate deep inside the facility.) There are other videos not shown here wherein the UFM entered a gate inside in another part or section of the facility. The Fire started around 2:25pm and the equipment was requested around 3:30pm and from Pasig to Trinoma it took 1 hour to reach via EDSA.Posted by Pasig Command Center (Pasig C3) on Monday, March 13, 2017
The purchase of the UFM is part of Pasig City’s disaster mitigation and response initiatives that focus mainly on 3 areas: flooding, earthquakes, and fires.
Aside from the UFM, the Pasig DRRM Office also received other items and vehicles that can aid them in their emergency response missions such as an aerial ladder, a communications van, an amphibious vehicle with jetski, a fire truck with hydraulic platform, a 40-footer mobile kitchen attached to a tractor head with crane, and a mobile shower trailer.
The Pasig City government has invested in constructing and improving drainage lines along some streets in the city to reduce the impact of flooding during typhoons and strong rains.
It also has a City Command Center (C3), which is an operations center that monitors crimes and emergencies. It was one of the initiatives to improve the city’s disaster response and hazard-monitoring facilities after Typhoon Ondoy struck Pasig and forced around 30,000 residents to evacuate their homes.
The city, vulnerable to earthquakes and floods, aims to be one of the most prepared cities in the country. The West Valley Fault traverses the city.
Pasig City has been awarded the Gawad Kalasag by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) as Best Government Emergency Response Managers from 2010 to 2012. The City Council won the Best City Disaster Council award in 2013 up to 2015, afterwhich it was inducted in the Hall of Fame. - Rappler.com
Samantha Bagayas is a Rappler intern studying at Xavier University-Ateneo de Cagayan.