The month of July is commemorated as National Disaster Consciousness Month, reframed recently as the National Disaster Resiliency Month. This year’s celebration observes the theme, “Kamalayan sa Kahandaan, Katumbas ay Kaligtasan”.

The Ecosystems Research and Development Bureau (ERDB) in its support for this year’s disaster consciousness advocacy theme organized a day-long learning event on fire and disaster risk preparedness and management for BCWERC personnel last July 28, 2017 at the DENR-7 Conference Hall, Banilad, Mandaue City. The event, designed to the needs of its employees aims to educate the BCWERC staff on the basic knowledge as well as provide important tips on how to prepare, manage, and respond during fire, earthquakes, and other hazards. The essence is to promote awareness on the natural and anthropogenic hazards and to disseminate information on the procedures or measures to be undertaken to address and reduce the adverse effects of such hazards.

Fire Officer 1 Julian R. Cabatingan Jr. of the Mandaue City Fire Department discussed the fundamentals on Fire Prevention and Control. He elaborated on the essential chemistry to generate a fire that feature the quintessential elements of heat, fuel and oxygen, in order to eliminate or minimize the effects of fire that may lead to the risk and loss of lives and properties. FO1 Cabatingan also demonstrated to the participants the proper method to extinguish a fire using both, the 5-kg chlorofluorocarbon (CFC) and the halon type fire extinguisher. He reminded the participants to remember PASS that stands for Pull, Aim, Squeeze and Sweep as a proper procedure in operating the fire extinguisher.

The rest of the afternoon session was devoted to disaster resiliency with Assistant Training Officer Rizajoy A. Hernandez from the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) as resource speaker. Ms. Hernandez detailed the anatomy of disasters in the country from typhoons, floods, volcanic eruptions, and earthquakes and how these risks can be mitigated through preparation. She tackled on the salient provisions of Republic Act No. 10121 or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 that shifted the national policy from mere response to preparedness as a way to manage disasters and the way the disasters are managed from mere response to preparedness. It provides a comprehensive, all-hazard, multi-sectoral, inter-agency, and community-based approach to disaster risk management through the formulation of the National Disaster Risk Management Framework that directs a coherent, integrated, efficient, and responsive disaster risk management approach at all levels. More importantly, R.A. 10121 provides for calamity funds to be used in support of disaster risk reduction or mitigation, prevention, and preparedness activities at all local government levels for the potential occurrence of disasters and not just for response, relief, and rehabilitation efforts. The lecture culminated with a Drop, Cover and Hold earthquake drill as the end-of- session exercise. L A. Corregidor-BCWERC8