10 July 2012

SBMA firefighters train LGUs and firms in rescue operations

Firefighters from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) continue to expand their role in community service by providing essential training to search and rescue teams from various local government units (LGUs), as well as business locators in this free port.

On July 2-7, a team composed of 21 men and three women from Valenzuela City, participated in a seminar on Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR) here.

Team leader Ma. Alona Ada said the ISSR seminar was crucial to their work, as they strive to be one of the fastest teams to respond for search and rescue operations in Metro Manila.

“The training was exciting as it was exhausting, but we really wanted to take it because as an auxiliary rescue unit in Metro Manila, we would be needing it for our operation and in preparation for calamities like earthquake,” she added.

After training, the team intends to conduct an echo seminar to share their newly-learned techniques with barangay rescue units in Valenzuela City, Ada added.

SBMA fire chief Ranny Magno said that Valenzuela City was the first to join the CSSR training among the LGUs who expressed interest in availing of special search and rescue training here.

He said the team even brought with them their self-contained breathing apparatus, and the SBMA only provided needed materials like stretchers and on-site training paraphernalia for actual demonstrations during the course.

Magno added that as the Philippines entered July, which is designated as Disaster Preparedness Month, the SBMA firefighting and rescue team recently completed a seminar on Hazardous Material Awareness (HAZMAT) with certified HAZMAT (fully encapsulated Level A Gas Suits) responder and instructor Nathan Russel.

Russel, who had served as firefighter in Australia for six years, agreed to conduct the seminar at no cost to the SBMA.

Magno said the SBMA intends to make HAZMAT awareness training a free port-wide project, and that his team has already started making a list and collecting samples of chemicals used by companies in the Subic Bay Freeport, to easily identify those present in various areas here.

Members of the SBMA Law Enforcement Department and the SBMA Public Health and Safety Department will also undergo HAZMAT seminars on July 30-31, as they are also likely to be exposed to various kinds of chemicals when responding to incidents and catastrophic occurrences.

The HAZMAT seminar will also be conducted among fire brigades at both the Taiwanese-owned Subic Bay Gateway Park and the Japanese-owned Subic Techno Park.

Magno added that although the SBMA Fire Department does not have enough equipment and special suits required in attending chemical-related incidents, “at least our men are equipped with all the safety precautions and knowledge that they would need in handling such incidents.”

Magno also said that he looks forward to having local rescue teams as partners in rescue operations and in making use of the skills they have learned together in the Subic Bay Freeport. (ILC/MPD-SBMA)

Members of the Valenzuela City search and rescue team participate in a training on Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue (CSSR) at the Subic Bay Freeport.