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Loss of Lives and Properties due to Fire can be Reduced through Science

Every year, hundreds of Filipinos die and billions of pesos worth of properties are lost

because of fires. To help reduce the amount of agony and loss caused by fire incidents,

the Forest Products Research and Development Institute of the Department of Science

and Technology (DOST-FPRDI) recently re-opened its fire testing lab, the only one of its

kind in the country.

“Our newly re-opened lab is still in its infancy – right now, it only has basic equipment

for verifying the ignitability and combustibility of small wood samples, but I think it’s a

good start,” says DOST-FPRDI Director Romulo T. Aggangan. “The lab brings more

affordable services to players in the construction industry who otherwise will have to

send their samples for testing in accredited labs in Singapore and Malaysia.”

More accessible services will mean local building contractors and construction materials

developers are more able to follow the National Fire and Building Codes, leading to

better enforcement of fire safety laws.

DOST-FPRDI pioneered fire testing research in the Philippines in 1961, and for many

years, it provided testing services to the construction industry. It had to stop in recent

years, however, as its outdated machines could no longer keep up with industry


According to DOST-FPRDI’s Shirley A. Pelayo, “With our newly acquired and designed

equipment, we can now give more effective fire testing services to our clients. We also

look forward to an upgraded lab in the near future as we have just recently submitted to

a funding partner a proposal to purchase more modern equipment. We are excited just

thinking that as we improve our facility, we can help our clients follow basic fire safety

rules, leading to more protected lives and property.”

By Rizalina K. Araral

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