San Juan City activates disaster volunteers
MANILA, Philippines – Nearly 300 volunteers from San Juan City's 21 barangays took the first step to building a more resilient city on Monday, April 4.
Low-lying parts of San Juan City, particularly the barangays near the Pasig River, are prone to flood during the rainy season. It is also vulnerable in the event of West Valley Fault movement. (READ: What dangers await when the West Valley Fault moves?)
A competition among neighborhood responders was conducted, with each team showcasing their respective skills in responding to disasters.
Responder teams were required to run through a gauntlet of exercises, testing their agility, resourcefulness, and quick critical thinking.
The first challenge involved navigating a rubber tire obstacle course, while the second challenge involved an unresponsive victim lying on the ground, awaiting the arrival of responders for proper diagnosis and treatment. The final challenge required the identification and selection of the proper items necessary for emergency response.
"Mabuti na ang may alam, bago pagsisihan ang nakaraan na tsansang matuto," (It is better to have knowledge, instead of regretting the opportunity to learn) noted Bryant Wong, administration and training officer of the San Juan City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO).
These competitions help the city disaster management office assess individual and team levels of proficiency, and identify training gaps.
At a nearby gym, the youth volunteers were educated through a workshop on child rights and the welfare of children and other at-risk sectors.
Meanwhile, the role of police in ensuring public order during disasters was also discussed by the chief of the San Juan City Police Community Relations office, while fire safety regulations and procedures were discussed by Senior Fire Officer 4 Ferriols of the San Juan City Fire Station.
"One Facebook post, one tweet, one text message: imagine the impact! On your own, you can save lives," said Gepuela.
Bryant Wong of the San Juan CDRRMO hopes to be able to further capacitate all volunteers, particularly youth volunteers, in promoting and strengthening a culture of preparedness, and in having a sense of urgency about it. This was the reason for the event's hashtag, #AwarenessPaMore.
"Kung hindi ngayon, kailan pa?" (If not now, when?), says Wong.
The training, a component of the Urban Disaster Risk Reduction project, was conducted with support from the Center for Disaster Preparedness, Plan International, and Australia's Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. – Rappler.com
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