Researchers from the Central Visayas Center for Environmental Informatics (CENVI) of the University of the Philippines Cebu have spent two years of intensive data gathering and analysis to develop a fire hazard mapping and fire spread simulation model for Lapu-Lapu City, Cebu.

On the afternoon of January 29, Wednesday, they turned over the results of their work dubbed “FireCheck” to the Lapu-Lapu City government.

The turnover ceremony was graced by Lapu-Lapu City Mayor Junard “Ahong” Chan, UP Cebu Vice Chancellor for Administration Dr. Weena Jade Gera, Department of Science and Technology (DOST)-7 Assistant Regional Director for Technical Operation Engr. Jesus Zamora, Jr., and Lapu-Lapu City Fire Marshal Supt. Crispulo Eusebio, Jr.

Also present at the ceremony held at the Eloisa Royale Suites in Lapu-Lapu City were UP Cebu professor Aileen Joana Vicente who is the FireCheck project leader, and Dr. Nagiel Banacia, chief of the Lapu-Lapu City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office.

Using a software application, the CENVI team of researchers mapped out fire hazards in 19 barangays of Lapu-Lapu City and created 3D maps of communities at high risk for fires.

The maps were rendered in a mobile application called “Blaze”, a GPS navigation app similar to Waze. This will help firefighters find their way fast and move efficiently in and out of highly congested areas in order to proactively manage risks and prevent fires from spreading.

The FireCheck project also developed fire spread models and simulation which can provide predictive information on the possible extent of the fire and its potential damage.

The fire spread simulation model will also help firefighters choose the best course of action should a fire disaster unfold, therefore, giving them a distinct advantage.

This innovation is a result of the proactive initiatives of experts from UP Cebu who collaborated with the Bureau of Fire Protection-Lapu-Lapu City Fire District, the city’s planning and development office, and its disaster risk reduction and management office.

The FireCheck project is funded by the Department of Science and Technology – Philippine Council for Industry, Energy, and Emerging Technology Research and Development (DOST-PCIEERD).

The same system and technology were also turned over to the Mandaue City government last November 29, 2019. After serving the cities of Mandaue and Lapu-Lapu, the FireCheck project hopes to serve more local government units and government agencies.

CENVI is a center-based in UP Cebu that makes use of computing techniques to produce solutions to pressing environmental problems.

(Photos by DOST PCIEERD)