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1.

INTRODUCTION
Fire is one of the most feared disasters by many because if not suppressed in time,
there is almost nothing that can be salvaged from it. Peoples properties that came from their
sweat, blood and tears are just turned into ashes.
All over the country, we often hear in the news that destructive fires devastated certain
populated areas or certain buildings, which were not readily suppressed because access to
water in order to fight fire were not available. This was what happened at Barangay Maria Clara,
Iloilo City where fifty two (52) families lost their homes during fire last March 2016.
Water is used as the primary element to suppress fire and the group is interested to
know whether Iloilo City is prepared in cases of fire incidents considering that it is a fast growing
city in terms of population and industrialization.
1.1.

BACKGROUND

Cities in the Philippines are faced with urban problems such as congestion,
overcrowding, poor quality of life, and rapidly growing poor urban communities. The government
needs to address the current situation, by planning and financing substantial urban development
needs. This is an urgent concern in light of the fact that the urban population is expected to
grow by as much as 67% by 2030, adding an additional 34.8 million inhabitants to the countrys
urban areas. This rapid rate of urban growth is being driven by limited employment opportunities
in rural areas, land shortages, natural disasters, and the negative impacts of climate change
(ADB, 2013).
But growth can strain community resources that include but are not limited to fire alarm,
and emergency communications, fire departments response to structural fires and other
emergencies, and most importantly the community water system. New construction, increasing
population, and expanding economic activity place demands on a wide variety of services in the
public sector like fire protection. In many places, the need to enlarge public services, especially
those functions related to fire protection, come at the time when other priorities are competing
for the same budget (Hickey, 2008).
A growing community faces the risk of property loss and personal injuries if the fire
department, emergency communication facilities, and water supply cannot keep up with the
demand for services, (Hickey, 2008).
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The countrys water resources are under mounting stress because of rapid population
growth, increasing demand for food production, urbanization, pollution, excessive and inefficient
use of water, and climate change. Ensuring adequate availability of water in the future will
require protecting the countrys water sources through improvement of catchment areas and
watershed protection, regular assessment and monitoring of consumption patterns and trends,
and efficient allocation of existing water supplies. All of the latter need to be taken into account
in the institutional decision-making framework. The challenge is to assess and manage water
resources comprehensively, covering urban and rural areas in a holistic manner (ADB, 2013).
To avoid devastating results, it is the policy of the State to ensure public safety and
promote economic development through the prevention and suppression of all kinds of
destructive fires and promote the professionalization of the fire service as a profession. Towards
this end, the State shall enforce all laws, rules and regulations to ensure adherence to standard
fire prevention and safety measures, and promote accountability for fire safety in the fire
protection service and prevention service (RA 9514, 2008).
The Tigum-Aganan Watersheds natural topography ranges from mountains to flood and
coastal plains, covering a total area of 434 square kilometres. Its two major rivers are the Tigum
and Aganan Rivers, which combine as the Jaro River before draining into the ocean. The Tigum
River is the primary source for 73% of the total water supplied by the Metro Iloilo Water District
(MIWD) to its franchise area; while the Aganan River is the major source of irrigation water
supplied by the National Irrigation Administration to farmers in the TAW. (USAID, 2013)

Iloilo City is the highly urbanized capital of Iloilo Province in the Western Visayas region,
on the southeast portion of Panay Island (see Figure 1). A coastal city, it lies on a relatively flat
alluvial plain, with a total coastline length of 21.3 km and a total land area of 78.34 square
kilometers. Ninety percent of the citys land mass has an elevation of 2.637 meters above mean
sea level. There are four bodies of water traversing the city: the Iloilo, Batiano, and Jaro Rivers
and Dungon Creek. Iloilo River is an estuary while Jaro River is fed by its tributary rivers,
Aganan and Tigum
It is an independent city chartered under the national government, so the provincial
government of Iloilo has no authority over the city. Nevertheless, similar water security issues
affect both Iloilo City and Iloilo Province, which has prompted coordinated efforts in past years
across the city, neighboring municipalities (also known as Local Government Units; LGUs), and
the provincial government (Iloilo City Socio-Economic Profile, 2004).
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Iloilo City is fast becoming a center for investments and developments as evidenced by
the high-rise buildings and commercial centers mushrooming in the area (The Daily Guardian,
2014). According to the City Planning and Development Officer (CPDO) head Jose Roni
Pealosa in the article Iloilo City looms as business and tourist center of The Daily Guardian,
Iloilo have large scale investments and other districts or areas have several projects which are
starting to become competitive. The city of Iloilo is indeed growing and developing both
domestically and commercially.
Figure 1. Political Subdivisions of Iloilo City and the Total Number of Barangays per District

Source: Investment Enabling Environment Project, 2014

Iloilo Climate
The Philippines has a tropical, humid, maritime climate that experiences monsoonal rain
patterns. It is characterized by relatively high temperature, high humidity, and abundant rainfall.
Latitude is an insignificant factor in the variation of temperature across the Philippines, so
national temperature data provides good insight into the characteristics of Iloilo. Mean annual
average temperature for the Philippines is 26.6C. The coolest month is January at 25.5C and

the warmest is May at 28.3C. Due to these high temperatures and the maritime environment,
the Philippines has a high relative humidity ranging from 71% in March and 85% in September.
The climate of Iloilo Province is relatively dry from December to June and relatively wet
from July to November. There is, however, no distinct wet and dry season in the Iloilo-Capiz
border along the Madia-as mountain range. Annual average rainfall is a little over two meters
(PPDO 2011). Typhoons are perhaps the most significant aspect of climate in the Philippines
and Iloilo Province. A significant portion of annual rainfall each year is related to typhoons which
originate in the region of the Marianas and Caroline Islands of the Pacific Ocean and follow a
northwesterly direction, generally passing north of Mindanao and striking the Visayas and
Luzon, including Panay Island and Iloilo Province. (USAID, 2013)

Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD)


MIWD was organized by the government in 1978 and is the official purveyor of water in
Iloilo City and seven (7) surrounding municipalities. For a sense of scale, MIWD employed 217
personnel in 2008. They control a reservoir, dam, filtration, and water treatment facilities in
Maasin and Santa Barbara municipalities; 10 deep wells in Pavia, Oton, and San Miguel; over
200 km of transmission pipesfrom Maasin to Santa Barbara; and over 250 km of distribution
pipes in their service areas. 73% of MIWD water volume comes from the Tigum River and 27%
from wells. The population of the franchise area, including 8 municipalities and Iloilo City, was
721,258 in 2008, with 31,000 connections (Hechanova, 2009).
The Metro Iloilo Water District (MIWD) is the sole distributor of potable water supply in
Iloilo City. Its service area covers Iloilo City, which consists of seven districts of Arevalo, City
proper, Jaro, Lapaz, Lapuz, Mandurriao and Molo; and seven surrounding municipalities of
Cabatuan, Leganes, Maasin, Oton, Pavia, San Miguel and Sta. Barbara. Water sources include
springs, surface water and ground water. MIWD extracts its supply from Tigum River through an
intake dam constructed in Barangay Daja, Maasin with a capacity of about 30,240 cubic meters
of water per day. From the dam, raw water is conveyed by gravity through a 1 kilometer
pipeline, 18 inches in diameter, to a sedimentation basin in Barangay Buntalan, Maasin and 24
inches cement-coated pipe that goes directly to a raw water basin at the reservoir in Santa
Barbara, (Iloilo Investment Enabling Environment Project, 2014).

Based on multiple interviews from different communities of every district in Iloilo City,
most of the people served by MIWD are only served for a few hours each day, and many have
water lines but receive low quality of water, low water pressure, unstable water operations
schedule, or do not receive water at all. Other service problems diagnosed by the World Bank
include low water pressure, low water quality, and intermittent supply (Castalia Strategic
Advisors, 2009).

1.2.

Statement Of The Problem

This paper will answer the research problem How to address the supply of water in
cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City?
1.3.

Objectives Of The Study

The main objective of this study is to determine the status of water supply that will
address the challenges encountered in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City.
Further, the research wants to achieve the following specific objectives:

1.

To determine the status (i.e. number and functionality) of existing fire hydrants in
Iloilo City.

2.

To identify and locate other alternative sources of water used in fire suppression

3.

To identify other factors affecting water supply in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City.

4.

To Identify issues and challenges encountered during fire incidents in Iloilo City;
and

5.

To provide recommendation anchored to the standard based on best practices


(NFPA International Standards, RA 9514, and other related legal basis).

1.4.

Conceptual Framework

The group will be using the conceptual framework shown in Figure 2.

Figure 2. Conceptual Framework.


The status of water supply that will address the challenges encountered in cases of fire
incidents in Iloilo City was studied. The researchers also identified whether the actual supply of
water during fire incidents is in accordance with the standards set by the implementing rules and
regulations of RA 9514 or the fire code of Philippines, National Fire Protection Association and
best practices of other countries.

The researchers then made recommendations after

identifying whether there were deviations based on their findings.

1.5.

Definition Of Terms

Water the liquid that descends from the clouds as rain, forms streams, lakes, and seas, and is
a major constituent of all living matter and that when pure is an odorless, tasteless, very slightly
compressible liquid oxide of hydrogen H2O which appears bluish in thick layers, freezes at 0 C
and boils at 100 C, has a maximum density at 4 C and a high specific heat, is feebly ionized to
hydrogen and hydroxyl ions, and is a poor conductor of electricity and a good solvent (MerriamWebster).
Fire the active principle of burning, characterized by the heat and light of combustion (RA
9514).
Water supply a source, means, or process of supplying water (as for a community) usually
including reservoirs, tunnels, and pipelines (Merriam-Webster).
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Fire incident An event or occurrence of fire (Merriam-Webster)


Water Sources These are places, persons or things from which water can be obtained
(dictionary.com).
Fire hydrants a discharge pipe with a valve and spout at which water may be drawn from a
water main (as for fighting fires) (Merriam-Webster).
Fire Suppression The marked reduction of the rate of heat release of a fire and the prevention
of its regrowth by means of direct and sufficient application of water through the fire plume to
the burning fuel surface., McGraw-Hill Dictionary of Architecture and Construction (2003)
Standard something established by authority, custom, or general consent as a model or
example (Merriam-Webster).
Best practice a method or technique that has consistently shown results superior to those
achieved with other means, and that is used as a benchmark (BusinessDictionary.com).

1.6.

Significance Of The Study

This research attempts to determine the status of water supply that will address the
challenges encountered in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City. Findings and recommendations
of the research are expected to help the personnel of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Local
Government Unit of Iloilo City, the researchers themselves, and other stakeholders.
1.7.

Scope And Limitation

This study is limited to the status of water supply that will address the challenges
encountered in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City. The study will cover all the districts under the
jurisdiction of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) in Iloilo City. Participants on the focus group
discussions will include the BFP personnel of Iloilo City and representatives from the
community.
The rest of the article is structured as follows: First, the review of related literature on
water supply, water sources, fire hydrants, issues and challenges during fire incidents, best
practices and standard requirements of water supply in cases of fire incidents. This will be
followed by the research methods and procedures used in the study. The results and findings
will then be discussed by comparing the actual practice and the standards required. Finally,
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recommendations will be formulated for the personnel of BFP and LGU of Iloilo City, as well as
for the other stakeholders.

2. REVIEW OF RELATED LITERATURE


2.1.

Fire Flow Demand Of Water

At any time, the municipal water supply system should be able to deliver needed fire
flows to representative fire risks throughout the municipality from properly located fire hydrants.
An adequate amount of water is essential to confining, controlling, and extinguishing hostile fires
in structures. The actual amount of water needed differs throughout a municipality, based on
different building and occupant conditions. Therefore, water damage for structural fire protection
must be determined at a number of different locations throughout a given municipality or fire
protection district. These locations are selected by the Insurance Services Office, Inc. (ISO), to
represent typical fire risks, including residential, commercial, mercantile, institutional, and
industrial properties for insurance rating purposes. According to the ISO, the minimum
creditable water supply is 250 gpm for 2 hours or a total water supply of 30,000 gallons. Most
residential occupancies have a minimum water requirement of 500 gpm, and commercial
properties can range up to 12,000 gpm for 4 hours (Hickey, 2008).
Provision for fire protection shall comply with the requirements of the fire code of the
Philippines. Whichever is applicable, the Local Government Unit shall provide each community
with fire hydrants and cisterns that are operational at all times (HLURB, 2009).
2.2.

Water Supply

There are a number of institutions with regulatory responsibilities in the water supply
sector. These existing structures have different regulatory practices, processes and fees with
cases of overlapping functions or jurisdictions. This environment suggests a fragmented
regulatory framework and lack of coordination (NEDA, 2010).
Public water supply services are provided by about 5,400 water service providers
(WSPs). Outside Metro Manila, water districts, LGUs and private operators run urban water
systems while community-based organizations like BWSAs, RWSAs and cooperatives operate
rural water systems (NEDA, 2010).

There are also a number of key water supply agencies in the government with distinct
but related roles and responsibilities. The LGUs are responsible for the delivery of basic
services including water supply and sanitation under the Local Government Code of 1991 while
other agencies are providing support to LGUs and the WSPs in implementing their mandates
and responsibilities (NEDA, 2010). Without a synchronized information and monitoring system,
the actual access and coverage of water supply services in the country remains difficult to
measure. Various agencies including LWUA, DILG, and the National Statistics Office (NSO)
compile varying statistics on water supply access and coverage using different methodologies
and timeframes. NEDA is currently coordinating an assessment of the WSS sector funded by
GTZ. This activity, among others, aims to come up with more updated and reliable data on the
WSPs including WSS access and coverage. The draft sector assessment report is currently
being reviewed by NEDA.
Based on the NSO, the countrys official statistical agency, the proportion of households
in the Philippines in 2004 with access to water was around 80.2 %. Same 2004 figures are
reported in the February 2010 MDG Watch compiled by National Statistical Coordination Board
(NSCB) (NEDA, 2010).
2.3.

Water Sources

Reservoirs
A reservoir is an artificial lake where water is stored. Most reservoirs are formed by
constructing dams across rivers. A reservoir can also be formed from a natural lake whose
outlet has been dammed to control the water level. The dam controls the amount of water that
flows

out

of

the

reservoir.

(National

Geographic

Encyclopedia.

Retrieved

from

http://education.nationalgeographic.org/encyclopedia/reservoir/).
Wells
Driven or bored wells are excavated to the level of the water table. Artesian or flow wells
are a special classification of wells in which the water is trapped below a rock formation, which
causes the water to be under pressure of varying intensity. When a tap is made through the
bedrock, the water flows to the surface under pressure. This pressure may be sufficient to move
the water to the treatment plant. All other types of well require low-lift or high-lift pumps
depending on the depth of the water or the distance of the water from the surface. Wells are the
primary source of water for municipalities with populations up to around 5,000. Larger
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municipalities may use a series of well fields, and usually pump up to gravity tanks to provide
the required flow and pressure to the distribution system (Hickey, 2008).
Oceans and Bays
Water systems using ocean and bay water for fire protection have been used on both the
east coast and west coast for over a century. Pumping stations provide both low-pressure and
high-pressure water supplies to specially marked fire hydrants, primarily in the commercial and
industrial districts of large cities like New York, Philadelphia, and San Francisco. Some coastal
communities in Florida make use of limited coverage fire protection systems that take water
from the Atlantic Ocean or the Gulf of Mexico (Hickey, 2008).
2.4.

Hydrant Locations

All built-upon areas of a community should be served by a water distribution system that
not only provides taps for consumer consumption, but also provides approved fire hydrants for
installation at locations and with spacing considerations for convenient use by fire department
pumping equipment and to meet needed fire flows in the proximity of the buildings to be
protected. In North America there are two basic methods for the distribution of fire hydrants in a
community. The first method is commonly used in Canada. It is mentioned briefly here because
the method has been used in some of the northern States that border Canada. This method is
fully described in Water Supply for Public Fire Protection, A Guide to Recommended Practices
(Hickey, 2008).
The ISO evaluation procedures examines a number of representative locations
throughout a community based on the population of the community; the number of installed fire
hydrants on the water system; and property types, which include commercial, industrial, and
residential properties along with educational facilities, public buildings, such as courthouses,
libraries, hospitals, and all other places of public assembly. Buildings upon land areas within a
community that do not have a fire hydrant within 1,000 feet of a structure also are evaluated.
For a fire hydrant to be credited in the community survey, it must be within 1,000 feet of the
property to be protected. Flow tests are conducted to determine that each fire hydrant delivers a
minimum of 250 gpm at 20 psi residual pressure for a duration of 2 hours. Installed fire hydrants
that do not have this capability receive no credit for insurance rating purposes although they
may be used for limited fire suppression capability (Hickey, 2008).
It is a recommended practice that the maximum lineal distance between fire hydrants
along streets in congested areas and high fire risk areas with frame buildings and/or high
combustible storage (such as lumber), be located 300 feet apart and a maximum of 600 feet, in
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light residential areas with building separations of over 50 feet. Other good practices for the
installation of fire hydrants calls for at least one fire hydrant at every street intersection, in the
middle of long blocks (especially where the needed fire flow exceeds 1,300 gpm), and near the
end of long dead-end streams. Hydrants should be required within large complexes that are
accessible to fire department apparatus equipped with mobile pumps (Hickey, 2008).

2.5.

Issues And Challenges During Fire Incidents

The MTPDP identifies and prioritizes the issues and challenges besetting the sector.
This include the disparities in water supply coverage across regions, depletion of groundwater
especially in Metro Manila and Metro Cebu, lack of cost recovery on investments, institutional
weaknesses and low willingness of consumers to pay. Pollution of water sources poses an
additional threat to the sustainability of water supply systems and exposes the population to the
environmentally-related diseases (NEDA, 2010).
The sectors weak ability to respond to the water needs of the population and derivative
problems related to sanitation, sewerage and wastewater management is rooted in the
fragmented institutional environment, weak regulatory framework, inadequate support for
service providers and utilities resulting in low performance levels, weak access to financing and
investments, low levels of tariffs and cost recovery, inadequate support for rural water supplies,
and lack of reliable and updated sector information needed for sector planning (NEDA, 2010).
2.6.

Best Practices During Fire Incidents

This practice identifies a method of determining the minimum requirements for


alternative water supplies for structural fire-fighting purposes in areas where the authority
having jurisdiction determines that adequate and reliable water supply systems for fire-fighting
purposes do not otherwise exist. An adequate and reliable municipal-type water supply is one
that is sufficient every day of the year to control and extinguish anticipated fires in the
municipality, particular building, or building group served by the water supply (NFPA 1142,
2012).
Criteria cover how to calculate minimum water supply requirements based on occupancy
and construction classifications; water supply issues such as water use agreements, identifying
water sources, and fire department connections; and dry hydrant design, location, and
installation. Numerous annexes provide additional guidance on mobile water supply apparatus,
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large-diameter hose, portable pumps, municipal-type water systems, automatic sprinkler


systems, and more (NFPA 1142, 2012).
Almost all fire fighting tactic in high rise buildings will depend on Water. Some very small
or specialised incidents may be extinguished using fire extinguishers (Dry Powder or CO2).

There are two key contributory factors that will affect tactics at high rise buildings,
a.

Supply pressure (at fire floor)

The supply pressure will greatly affect the flow rate through hoses and branches.
In the UK, for buildings with WET RISER installation (usually over 60M tall) the supply pressure
will be fixed and the tactics can be developed around these known outputs. Typically buildings
constructed prior to 2006 will have wet riser outlet pressures of 4 to 5 Bars. After 2006
recommended outlet pressure is 8 Bars. Pressures of 4-5 bar mean that Specifically designed
Branches (low-pressure/high-flow fog or smooth bore) and 51mm hose will be a suitable
combination.With an 8 bar supply more conventional Automatic fog Branches and 45mm hose
can be used.
For buildings with DRY RISER installations,the outlet pressure will be much more
dependent on the inlet pump pressure and the losses due to pumping to height (head).
Most UK FRS will pump dry risers to 10 Bar (150psi) as this was the British Standard design
and test criteria. Losses due to height relate to approximately 0.1 Bar /M. It can be seen that
pumping water 55M could incur a height loss of 5.5Bar. This added to other losses (frictional
and inlet) mean it may be that the outlet pressure on upper fire floors may only be 3 Bar.
b. Supply Availability
Flow rate is all-important in high rise fire fighting. A sustained attack on a developing
High rise fire will require a reliable and consistent water supply. Individual Branches should have
a target flow rate of at least 500l/m and for Branches deployed to fight larger open planned
office or commercial space fires, 750-900 l/m is a better target.
A basic two line attack could require 1000l/m and this does not take into account
additional safety and covering lines. Additionally, if any form of external fire fighting is to be
uses, typically height vehicle or ground monitors, these can require very high flow to be effective
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(3000l/m) and can draw water supply away from internal fire fighting crews. Initially Hydrants
with twinned lines will be used in most scenarios.
If the incident is escalating or an additional water requirement is needed, further supplies could
be required. These may be additional hydrants on separate main feeds or large static water
supplies (NFPA, 2012).
2.7.

Standard Requirements Of Water Supply In Cases Of Fire Incidents

NFPA 1142 Method NFPA 1142, Standard on Water Supplies for Suburban and Rural
Fire Fighting [9], is referenced in the IFC for areas where adequate and reliable water supply
systems do not exist. Chapter 4 of this standard outlines the method for calculating the
minimum water supply (gallons) for basic structural fire-fighting. NFPA 1142 does not contain the
historical basis for the development of the calculation methodology.
Annex G of NFPA 1142, which is not part of the requirements of the standard, outlines a
method for determining the fire flow required where a municipal-type water system is present.
The method contained in Annex G is the same as the ISO method (see Section 2.1.1). The
required water supply (gallons) for basic structural fire-fighting is calculated from Chapter 4
using the following formulas: = (for structures without exposure hazards)
= 1.5 (for structures with exposure hazards) where: WSmin is the
required minimum water supply (gallons) VStot is the total volume of structure (ft3 ) OHC is the
occupancy hazard classification number (1 7, 1 is most hazardous) CC is the construction
classification number (0.5 1.5) .
Exposure hazards are defined as structures as: 100 square feet or larger in area, within
50 feet of the subject building; or, where the structure, regardless of size, has an occupancy
classification number of 3 or 4 (see discussion below). The minimum required water supply for
structures without exposure hazards is 2,000 gal. and the minimum for structures with exposure
hazards is 3,000 gal. NFPA 1142 allows the AHJ to reduce the water supply require when the
building is protected by an approved sprinkler system or other automatic fire suppression
system.
This code references the fire flow reduction limits used in NFPA 1 (see Section 2.1.2) in
the explanatory material contained in its appendix. The minimum required water supply can also
be increased by the AHJ to compensate for conditions including: limited fire department
resources, extended fire department response time, limited access, hazardous vegetation,
unusual terrain, special uses, or occupancies, structural attachments such as decks or porches,
etc. These increases can be arbitrary and are based on the judgment of the AHJ.
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The occupancy hazard classification number is determined based on the use of the
building (e.g., plastics processing, schools, etc.). NFPA 1142 lists the different occupancy
hazards for each classification number in the body of the code. Where two occupancies are
present in a building, the more hazardous occupancy classification number is to be used.
Occupancy classification numbers are between 1 and 7.
The construction classification number is determined based on the construction type of
the building (Type I through Type V). Where more than one construction type is present in a
building, the higher construction classification number is to be used. Construction classification
numbers are between 0.5 and 1.5. The minimum fire flow rate required by NFPA 1142 is
tabulated, as shown in Table 1, based on the calculated minimum water supply. This is the fire
flow rate that the fire department is required to have the capability of delivering within 5 minutes
of the arrival of the first apparatus at the incident (Evaluation of Fire Flow Methodologies, 2014).

3. METHODOLOGY
This is a descriptive study that focused on how to address the supply of water in cases
of fire incidents in Iloilo City.
The purpose of this paper further aimed to determine the status of water supply that will
address the challenges encountered in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City. It further aimed to
determine the status (i.e. number and functionality) of existing fire hydrants in Iloilo City. Other
alternative sources of water used for fire suppression were also identified.
The researchers gathered data by conducting interviews and focus group discussions
with BFP personnel and by mapping out the location of the different fire hydrants and other
water sources in Iloilo City. The researchers also conducted actual ocular inspection and
randomtesting of some fire hydrants in Iloilo City in coordination with the key personnel of Iloilo
City Fire Department. Existing fire hydrants were categorized based on their functionality.
The reseachers also identified and located alternative water sources in the City of Iloilo.
Secondary data were also gathered from related literature about best practices in order to
address the issue on water supply during fire incidents. The researchers benchmarked or
based their guidelines on the standards set by the National Fire Protection Association (NFPA)
and in accordance with the Comprehensive Fire Code of the Philippines of 2008 (R.A. 9514)
about water supply during fire incidents.
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Purposive interview were conducted through focus group discussion in the seven
different districts of Iloilo City with 10 interviewees representing each district. Technical persons
from the Bureau of Fire Protection in Iloilo City were also invited for key person interviews and
tackled issues encountered during fire incidents.
After gathering all the data and information, the group processed and evaluated the
records and determined the deviation. The group then made recommendations based on the
findings that they discovered.

4. RESULTS/FINDINGS
4.1.

Actual Supply of water in cases of fire incident in Iloilo City

Iloilo City currently has thirty-three (33) fire hydrants, with only three that are readily
available and 100% serviceable. These 3 hydrants are located in (1) Tabucan, Mandurriao, (2)
Iloilo Supermart, Tabuc Suba, Jaro and in front of Central Philippine University (CPU), also in
Jaro diatrict. Considering that Iloilo City is divided into seven (7) political districts with one
hundred sixty (160) total barangays, the current number and status of fire hydrants is very
insufficient to sustain the status of water supply in cases of major fire incidents in the citys
jurisdcition. The mapping of these fire hydrants (Appendix 4) shows that not all districts and
barangays have readily available fire hydrants and base in their status, not all fire hydrants have
available supply of water. Based on the researchers ocular inspection and gathering of data
from MIWD and ICFS, it was also revealed that there was no proper maintenance of these fire
hydrants.
Also, according to the results of the researchers interview to the personnel of Iloilo City
Fire Station and focus group discussion with the people in the community, during fire incidents
the fire department heavily rely the sustainability of their water supply from the water tankers
owned by private individuals and corporations that operate ice plants in Iloilo City to put out fire.
If major catastrophic fire incidents transpired in Iloilo City, the water supply from water
tankers are easily exhausted, in which it greatly affects the effectiveness of fire fighting. Most of
the time if water supply in fire trucks is exhausted, the fire spread rapidly and causes great
amount of damages to life and properties. This phenomenon according to the people in
community is frequently happening in Iloilo City in cases of major fire incidents.
If the above mentioned scenario happens, according to the personnel of Iloilo City Fire
Station, they will lift up the fire alarm status into the next level based on BFP standard operating
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procedures. This status will already activate other municipal and city fire stations outside Iloilo
City to respond. According to the people in the community and personnel of BFP outside Iloilo
City, when these fire trucks and personnel arrive, their main function is only to refill water in the
fire trucks of Iloilo City Fire Stations, and they usually do not engage in direct fire fighting
operations.
Based on the above discussions and on the data that the researchers have gathered as
shown in Table 2, the major problem of Iloilo City Fire Stations in cases of major fire incidents is
not the equipment used nor the personnel, but the status of water supply due to unavailability of
readily and sustainable sources of water supply such as fire hydrants. Based on the data
gathered there are only three (3) readily available & serviceable fire hydrants in Iloilo City, and
these fire hydrants will cover the 75,000 square kilometre area of Iloilo City.
There are alternative water sources identified in Iloilo City, according to the results of the
group discussion and interview with the BFP personnel.

However, these alternative water

sources were not developed and maintained in order to be readily available in cases of major
fire incidents. There has been a problem with its accessibility and sustainability. They were not
given proper attention and development to make it 100% alternative water supply source during
fire incidents.
4.2.

Ideal/Standard Water Supply in Cases of Fire Incidents In Iloilo City Based on


R.A. 9514, National Fire Protection Association Standard and Best Practices.

It is a recommended practice that the maximum lineal distance between fire hydrants
along streets in congested areas and high fire risk areas with frame buildings and/or high
combustible storage (such as lumber), be located kilometre apart and a maximum of one (1)
kilometre in light residential areas with building separations of over 50 feet. Other good
practices for the installation of fire hydrants calls for at least one fire hydrant at every street
intersection, in the middle of long blocks (especially where the needed fire flow exceeds 1,300
gpm), and near the end of long dead-end streams. Hydrants should be required within large
complexes that are accessible to fire department apparatus equipped with mobile pumps
(Hickey, 2008).
Installation of Fire Hydrants
The proper installation of fire hydrants on municipal water systems has to give
consideration the construction features of the fire hydrant. These include, but are not limited to
the following features for providing adequate and reliable water supplies for fire protection.
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The nominal diameter of the bottom valve opening needs to be at least 4 inches for
supplying two 2-1/2-inch outlets. However, it is recommended that at least one large
diameter outlet be provided for the connection hose to a mobile fire department pumper.

Today, it is generally recommended that the bottom valve be a minimum of 6 inches.


The net area of the hydrant barrel and foot piece at the smallest part is not to be less

then 120 percent of that of the net opening of the main valve.
A sufficient waterway through the fire hydrant needs to be provided to minimize friction
loss in the fire hydrant. The hydrant designed should not permit more that 5 psi loss from
the main valve intake to the discharge side of the fire hydrant with design flows of no
less then 1000 gallons per minute. This information is obtained from the Underwriters

Laboratories, Inc. (UL) listing.


A positive-operating, corrosion-resistant drain or drip valve is to be provided.
A uniform sized pentagonal operating nut measuring 1-1/2 inch from point to the flat at
the base and 2-7/16 inches at the top. The faces should be tapered uniformly and not
less than 1 inch.
Fire hydrant bonnets, barrels, and foot piece are generally made of cast iron with internal

working parts of bronze. Valve facings should be of a suitable, yielding material such as rubber
or a composition material. Fire hydrants are available a number of different configurations,
which should be adapted to the installation location (Hickey, 2008).
Project developers or owners of housing projects shall provide a hydrant system and
develop the source of water used for the purpose of providing adequate water supply for fire
suppression use on both economic and socialized housing in connection with this Code. Local
Government Units (LGUs) in coordination with the BFP shall provide each community with fire
hydrants and cisterns or elevated tanks that will suffice the requirement pertaining to provision
of water for fire fighting operation. All reservoir or water tanks must provide a 20% fire reserve
over and above the Average Daily Demand Supply (ADDS). In communities where no public
water supply is available, a water well or any other devices with water impounding capability
shall be provided (RA 9514, 2008).
Based on the above standards, the researchers mapped out Iloilo City geographic area
using the latest Google map and were able to plot the distribution and distance of fire hydrants
in Iloilo City, see Appendix 5. The results of mapping out of fire hydrants all over Iloilo City, the
standard number of fire hydrants in the city should be 80 fire hydrants with above mentioned
requirements and water supply.
In reference to Appendix 6, the researchers were able to overlay the map of current fire
hydrants and the ideal/standard number of fire hydrants. The results showed that there has
been a significant deviation to standards and that there are many areas in Iloilo City that has not
been covered by the current/existing fire hydrants. Assuming that 100% of all the existing fire
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hydrants are serviceable and comply with standards when it comes to construction and water
supply specification, still the deviations were significant.

4.3.

Deviation of Current Water Supply in Iloilo City in Cases of Fire Incidents As


Compared To Standards.

Table 1: Comparison of Current water supply in Iloilo City in cases of fire incidents as compare
to standards base in RA9514, NFPA & Best Practices.

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Based on the above table there has been a significant deviation between the current
water supply of Iloilo City in cases of fire incident as compare with the standard water supply
base in RA9514, NFPA and best practices, especially in number of fire hydrants which is 100%
serviceable, the distribution and spacing of fire hydrants, the water supply flows and the official
recognition, development & maintenance of water well as an alternative source of water.

4.4.

Issues and Concerns Based on the Focus Group Discussions with Seventy
(70) People in the Community and Purposive Interview with 10 Key Personnel
of the Bureau of Fire Protection.

Table 2: Issues and Concerns Based on the Focus Group Discussion with Seventy (70) People
in the Community and Purposive Interview with 10 Key Personnel of BFP.

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Based on the above table, the researchers were able to identify and verify the response
of people from the community and key personnel of BFP. The results showed that, majority of
both the people in the community and BFP personnel agree that there has been a scarcity of
water supply in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City. The access roads, lack of fire fighting
equipment, lack of personnel and the uncooperative behaviour of the volunteer fire brigades and
organizations with fire trucks, were also a major factor which affects not only fire fighting
operation but also the effectiveness and efficiency of water supply in cases of fire incidents in
Iloilo City.
In addition, the people and BFP personnel believe that there has been no major effort
from the community and local government unit to help solve the problem of water supply in
cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City. There were efforts made but were not enough and
sustainable, because there has been no serious research and development conducted in the
areas of the status of water supply in cases of fire incident in Iloilo City.
5. RECOMMENDATIONS
The Iloilo City government, Iloilo City Fire Protection, Metro Iloilo Water District and
concerned NGOs shall revise the distribution of fire hydrants in Iloilo City base in standards
which is 85 and more fire hydrants. It is a recommended practice that the maximum lineal
distance between fire hydrants along streets in congested areas and high fire risk areas with
frame buildings and/or high combustible storage (such as lumber), be located kilometre apart
and a maximum of one (1) kilometre, in light residential areas with building separations of over
20

50 feet. Other good practices for the installation of fire hydrants calls for at least one fire hydrant
at every street intersection, in the middle of long blocks (especially where the needed fire flow
exceeds 1,300 gpm), and near the end of long dead-end streams. Hydrants should be required
within large complexes that are accessible to fire department apparatus equipped with mobile
pumps (Hickey, 2008).
Active fire hydrants are those ready to supply water round the clock. Hence, there
should be active hydrants in all seven districts of the city City Proper, La Paz, Lapuz, Jaro,
Mandurriao, Molo, and Arevalo. Time is very crucial in fire emergency response, however if only
the areas of Jaro district have active hydrants, fire tracks will waste some additional minutes just
to travel to any of the two active fire hydrants and proceed to the fire scene.
For the supply of water to be sustainable in all fire hydrants and achieve the minimum
water flow and supply, every political district in Iloilo City shall also construct an elevated water
reservoir/tank specifically designed and designated to be utilized for fire incidents. It should be
situated in identified strategic areas with a water capacity based on the calculated volume of
water requirements and number of fire hydrants. Water supply must be enough to sustain more
than 4 hours if all fire hydrants are opened and used.
.
The researchers also recommend that the Local Government of Iloilo City, with BFP as
the responsible/lead agency to formulate local legislation aligned with RA 9514, other national
laws like RA 101-21 to encourage the barangays and the community to find ways and means in
their areas to help develop and maintain alternative water sources such water well, to be major
source of water supply in cases of fire incident in their area. The funding sources can come from
the disaster fund as part of preparedness and mitigation.
The researchers further recommend that the LGU of Iloilo City will formulate local
protocols through a local ordinance regarding responding to fire incidents.

Through this

ordinance, the behaviour and actions of Volunteer Fire Brigade Organizations will be regulated
in order to improve the effectiveness and efficiency of water supply during fire incidents.
To help solve the problem of access roads in squatter/congested/populated areas, the
researchers recommend that the LGU of Iloilo City and BFP shall construct and maintain dry
pipe system from nearest access road to the housing areas for easy connection of fire truck and
hose line in cases of fire incidents in Iloilo City. This will help solve the lack of efficiency and
effectiveness of water supply.

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APPENDIX 1
Guide Questions for the Members of BFP:
1. How many Fire Hydrants have you identified in Iloilo City? Can you give the specific location?
2. Do you have any idea about the standard number of Fire Hydrants for Iloilo City?
3. How important is the Fire Hydrant in cases of Fire Incidents in Iloilo City?
4. Can you identify the alternative sources of water supply in cases of Fire Incidents in Iloilo
City?
5. In your experience as a Fire-fighter, what are the problems that you encountered regarding
water supply in cases of Fire Incident in Iloilo City? How did you and your team address this
issues and concerns?
6. Is there any provisions & section in the Fire Code of the Philippines regarding Fire Hydrant &
Water Supply in cases of Fire Incidents?
7. Are there any other references except from the Fire Code of the Philippines that can be the
basis for standard requirements about Fire Hydrants and water supply in cases of Fire
Incidents?
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8. What specific recommendations can you suggest about issues of water supply in cases of
Fire Incidents in Iloilo City?

APPENDIX 2
Guide Questions For the People in the Community (Iloilo City):
1. Have you experienced or witnessed an actual Fire Incident in Iloilo City?
2. What issues and concerns have you witnessed and observed regarding water supply in
cases of Fire Incidents in Iloilo City?
3. What are the things that you and your neighbourhood have initiated to help address the
issues and concerns about the supply of water in cases of Fire Incidents?
4. Do you have any idea about the alternative sources of water supply in cases of Fire Incidents
in your area?
5. What recommendations can you suggest to address the issues & concern of water supply in
cases of Fire Incident in Iloilo City?

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APPENDIX 3
List of Fire Hydrants in Iloilo City

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