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VOLATILE CHEMICALS | PSSCC, other agencies inspect warehouses to prevent Beirut tragedy

THE PUBLIC Safety and Security Command Center (PSSCC) teamed up with the police and other government agencies to inspect warehouses in the city storing combustible and volatile chemicals.

PSSCC chief Angel Sumagaysay said the inspection seeks to prevent a Beirut-like explosion as a result of mishandling or lack of monitoring of dangerous incendiary chemicals.

The agency received a communication letter from the Bureau of Customs in the region informing the city that some business establishments in the city are storing regulated chemicals like ammonium nitrate, which is typically used for fertilizers.

“As a preventive measure, we are conducting an inspection on all the warehouses or facilities storing ammonium nitrate in the city, so that we won’t experience an explosion just like what happened in Beirut, Lebanon last August,” he said.

The explosion in Beirut on Aug. 4 was linked by Lebanese authorities to around 2,750 metric tons of the compound, which have been sitting on the docks as early as 2013. The chemical was carried by a Russian-owned ship but was moved into a hangar due to mechanical problems.

The blast killed 203 people, injured 6,500 others, and damaged $15 billion in properties. More than 300,000 people were also rendered homeless after their houses were devastated by the explosion.

“There were damage and loss of lives because of improper handling or storing of the chemical called ammonium nitrate,” he said.

The PSSCC teamed up with the Davao City Police Office, Bureau of Fire Protection XI, City Business Bureau, and the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office for the inspection. They are checking if the chemicals are stored properly.

“According to the guidelines and safety protocols set by the Philippine National Police, these chemicals should be stored in a place with proper ventilation. The room should be lighted following the specifications. The storage facility should have a lock and CCTV,” Sumagaysay said.

After the inspection, the different agencies will issue recommendations to improve their safety measures and minimize the risks. The inspections are ongoing on all the warehouses or storage facilities listed by the DCPO.

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