09 October 2012

SBMA, Olongapo rescue teams continue earthquake training

With other rescue teams watching their moves, rescue operators from the Subic Bay Metropolitan Authority (SBMA) and Olongapo City showed off various techniques in earthquake search and rescue operations as part of their continuing training to improve their emergency command system and to impart new knowledge to fellow rescuers.

At the recent earthquake simulation exercises held at the Columban College campus in Barangay Barretto, Olongapo City the SBMA Search and Rescue Group, the Olongapo City Search and Rescue Team and the Barangay Sta. Rita (Olongapo City) Search and Rescue Unit practiced using the Incident Command System (ICS) for emergency, which designed for planned and unplanned events.

The earthquake scenario for the exercise pre-supposed that a magnitude 7.9 earthquake struck Olongapo City and damaged residential and commercial buildings. As a result, some 1,000 individuals had to be evacuated to safer grounds after a school building at Columban College in Barretto collapsed and caught fire.

The emergency responders’ primary task was to rescue the trapped persons from the damaged building which was now on fire, and bring them out of the collapsed structure.

Aside from the SBMA, Olongapo and Sta. Rita rescue units, the drill also involved the participation of the Bureau of Fire Protection, Philippine National Red Cross, Our Lady of Lourdes Hospital, Olongapo City Police Office, James Gordon Memorial Hospital, the Department of Education, and some representatives from the 17 barangays in the city.

The exercises were observed by rescuers from San Jose City, Nueva Ecija; San Jose Del Monte, Bulacan; the Zambales Provincial Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Office (PDRRMO); Tarlac PDRRMO; Bataan PDRMMC; Meycauayan, Bulacan; Masinloc, Zambales; Balanga City Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMO); and University of Northern Philippines in Vigan City.

Olongapo City Mayor James Gordon, Jr., who chairs the Olongapo CDRRMO, congratulated the participants in the simulation training, adding the hope that the event had challenged them to strive more for excellence in the performance of their respective jobs.

“The simulation stresses the crucial role each rescue operator does in saving lives and properties in times of disaster and emergency situations,” Gordon said.

The activity was also witnessed by Region 3 director for Civil Defense Josefina Timoteo, who is also the executive director of the Regional Disaster Risk-Reduction and Management Council (DRMMC-R3); SBMA Dir. Anne Marie Gordon, and Columban College president Msgr. Crisostomo Cacho.

After the drill, Timoteo said that the participants did a “well done” job, and enjoined observers and rescue groups from other local government units to follow Olongapo and SBMA’s example and religiously practice the execution of the ICS. (RAV/MPD-SBMA)

Combined elements of the SBMA and Olongapo City search and rescue teams perform a collapsed structure search and rescue breaching method during an earthquake drill held at the Columban College in Olongapo City on September 28. The drill, witnessed by different rescue groups from Region 3, was designed to enhance quick disaster-response and preparedness operability in the event of emergencies.