Text and photos by Aries B. Espinosa

WHERE there’s smoke, there’s fire. And where there’s fire, there will most likely be a red Isuzu fire truck hard at work dousing the flames.

The Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) just gave itself a much-needed boost in its daunting fire prevention campaign and modernization program, acquiring no less than 74 brand-new fire trucks comprised of 54 Isuzu FVR34, 20 CYZ52 heavy duty trucks, and three rescue trucks to be deployed to local governments across the country.

The 74 fire trucks have been specially equipped for firefighting by Korean-based body builders Hanseo (for the FVR34) and Nanomedics (for the CYZ52). The FVR34 has a 1,000-gallon capacity water tank, while the CYZ52 carries with it a 2,500-gallon tank.

The fire trucks were formally turned over Feb. 11 at the Camp General Emilio Aguinaldo military headquarters in Quezon City, with no less than President Rodrigo R. Duterte witnessing the proceedings.

In his speech, Mr. Duterte said, “I hope that with these fire trucks, the BFP will become more capable and effective in ensuring the safety of our communities and industries. I am confident that with your help, we can further boost our people’s confidence in their government and create an environment where our people can live and work in peace.”

IPC President Hajime Koso, who attended the ceremonies, said, “IPC, and the Isuzu brand in general, has always been on a mission to contribute to society by providing the most durable, reliable trucks — may it be for building bridges, airports, and this time in protecting the community against fire. With the upcoming Fire Prevention Month in March, we feel that these trucks may be in the right timing, as BFP now more than ever needs to continue to protect and serve the country against fire and other calamities.”

Isuzu Motors Limited (IML) General Manager Koichi Ito, who flew in from Japan to witness the proceedings, remarked, “Isuzu has always been supportive of providing the best vehicles to society. In Japan, in particular, you will see lots of private and government trucks produced by Isuzu, like these fire trucks and, recently, high-performance ambulances for Covid-19 prevention, which is why we are very happy the Philippines is doing the same.”

BFP Director for Logistics Senior Superintendent Jerry Candido told Velocity that the new fire trucks would be deployed to local governments that, up to now, don’t have their own firefighting vehicles.

“Since we started modernizing the BFP in 2009 with the enactment of the 2008 revised Fire Code of the Philippines, we had been updating our firefighting equipment. We have already ordered 191 brand-new fire trucks from Isuzu, to be distributed all throughout the Philippines. We are prioritizing the local fire departments that still use old fire trucks, and the almost 300 local government units with fire stations that still do not have any fire trucks.”

IPC Sales Division Head Joseph Bautista confirmed to Velocity that this would be the single biggest transaction between IPC and BFP. “We are very happy to support the modernization program of the BFP. These fire trucks not only provide the latest technology in firefighting equipment, but also makes sure that the firemen are transported in much more comfortable conditions,” he said.

The FVR34 16-tonner trucks are powered by the 6HK1TCL engine producing up to 240ps of power and maximum torque of 706Nm, while the CYZ52 33-tonners are powered by the Euro 5-compliant 6WG1TCN Isuzu direct-injection common rail engine that delivers maximum power of 420ps and maximum torque of 1,863Nm.

According to data provided by the Bureau of Fire Protection, a total of 2,269 fires in January and February this year were recorded. Since 1966, March had been declared Fire Prevention Month, as most fires have occurred during this period.