Palawan Capital Enhances Fire Preparedness in Response to Severe Heat Wave

PUERTO PRINCESA, Palawan — The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO) in Puerto Princesa is intensifying its efforts to combat potential fire outbreaks as the city faces an unprecedented heat wave. This move follows a recent wildfire in Barangay San Rafael that consumed approximately 60 hectares of open fields on April 18.

According to Philippines News Agency, the office has upgraded its early warning systems to ensure swift response to fire incidents, potentially preventing them from spiraling out of control. The city has also equipped its firefighters with personal protective gear and specialized tools, including 10-cubic meter water tankers designed for extinguishing forest fires.

Timbancaya detailed further enhancements, including the acquisition of a man bucket capable of reaching up to the fourth floor of a building and plans to procure a rescue ladder that could reach the city's tallest structures. Additionally, village personnel have been supplied with sirens and public address systems to rapidly alert both authorities and residents in the event of a fire.

The CDRRMO is also preparing for the heat wave's broader impacts, including potential threats to agriculture and public health. Although the city's Incident Command System (ICS) for extreme drought conditions is established, it has not yet been activated. The ICS is designed to enable collaborative efforts among various city hall departments to mitigate risks associated with severe weather events.

The CDRRMO noted that the current heat wave, which began on March 27 and persisted until April 22, might be the most severe on record for Puerto Princesa, surpassing the high temperatures of the 2016 and 2019 dry spells. Between April 17 and 22, the city's heat index never dipped below 42 degrees Celsius, with forecasts predicting highs of 44 degrees in the coming days.