SUBIC BAY FREEPORT, Philippines — The Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) Fire Department early this week inaugurated its new Fire Station No. 7, located at the Subic Bay Freeport's Central Business District.
Built on a 3,350 sq.m. lot along Sampson Road corner Dewey Avenue, the Spanish-American inspired building, Fire Station No. 7 serves as the main office of the S.B.M.A. Fire department that has jurisdiction over the former Ship Repair Facility (SRF), Naval Ship Depot (NSD), Industrial Parks, and the Central Business District (CBD) area.
S.B.M.A. Chairman and Administrator Rolen C. Paulino, who led a brief inspection of the new building, was amazed at the improvement of the fire station.
“Our fire fighters are well-known, not only in Central Luzon, but in the Asian Region as well. And this milestone only proves that our fire fighters are committed to provide the highest standard of service,” Mr. Paulino said.
Mr. Paulino added that he is proud to say that the S.B.M.A. fire department is also known for its ability to respond to emergencies and provide fire protection services within its jurisdiction in seven minutes or less, as he addressed guests including the Olongapo City Fire Department and the Makati City Fire Department.
He noted that this is part of the agency’s efforts to maintain existing investors and attract more investments, especially foreign direct investments (FDIs) intending to make it happen in the Philippines. He also declared, “Subic Bay is a complete community.”
Meanwhile, S.B.M.A. Fire Chief Ranny Magno said that apart from the new building, which occupies nearly 600 sq.m., the new firehouse has an apparatus floor covering 167.89 sq.m. that can accommodate up to four (4) fire Pierce trucks or the like.
Firetrucks from E-One and Pierce Manufacturing that were shipped from the United States are the main workhorse of the Fire Department ever since Subic Bay became a freeport zone. Its ambulances, however, were replaced with locally-built ones instead of continuing the legacy of S.B.M.A. Emergency Medical Services.
They were operating large ambulances, primarily fully-custom Ford F-150 Advanced Life Support (ALS) ambulances that were also shipped from the U.S.
After years of service, the agency decommissioned these ambulances and replaced them with cheaper but lower-end Toyota Hi-Ace Grandias and Commuters.
The construction of the new firehouse was initiated before former S.B.M.A. Chairman and Administrator Wilma Eisma stepped down from her position.
Mr. Magno admitted that the proposal for the said building was rejected at first because it defies the traditional design of fire stations in the country. Eventually, it was approved when he persisted that the Hispanic aesthetic feature is intended to preserve the institutional memory, rich history and heritage of the Subic Bay Freeport as the former recreation facility of the Spanish Navy, and subsequently, the United States Navy.
“We must have a sense of history. This is a former Spanish-American Naval Base,” he cited, noting that the S.B.M.A. has always been a “show-window to the whole world” for being able to provide rescue and retrieval operations even to Japan, Taiwan, Iran and Asian countries.
Magno also said the building was also designed to conform to the Environmental Management System (EMS) standards of the ISO14001 with a water and oil separator engineering design to ensure that fire and rescue operations prevent pollutions and detrimental effect on the environment.
It also promotes Gender and Development (GAD) equality having an all-gender comfort rooms, male and female quarters suitable for breast feeding and hygiene concerns.
It has a mini museum inside the building where old fire and rescue equipment will be displayed to educate students coming to visit the Fire Department during their educational tours inside the Freeport. Some fire and rescue paraphernalia and old apparatus are being displayed at the sodding area of the new fire station.
Coinciding with the program, Mr. Paulino commended the fire fighters for exuding outstanding performance as among the Freeport’s main frontliners during the height of the pandemic.
Mr. Paulino added that he will propose to the S.B.M.A. Board of Directors to allow the sending of Fire Department personnel to Virginia Beach, U.S. where they could meet with American counterparts to acquire the newest techniques and approaches to fire suppression.