Residents of Batangas are now better equipped in times of calamities, thanks to the young safety experts who ran emergency preparedness training sessions with them.
Education students of Batangas State University (BatStateU) recently facilitated a disaster preparedness training session with parents of Pantawid Pamilyang Pilipino Program (4Ps) scholars from Alangilan, Lobo, San Juan, and Lipa City.
The trainings were part of the Tropang Ready in Action program of PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications and its value brand TNT. The BatStateU students conducted the sessions under their National Service Training Program (NSTP) course.
After their final teaching session with the 4Ps beneficiaries, the students received certificates from Smart and TNT for their participation in the program. Both BatStateU student-trainers and beneficiaries are the first batch to complete the Tropang Ready disaster preparedness course.
Tropang Ready is a project that tours schools nationwide to train students on disaster preparedness. It aims to enable the youth to mobilize their communities and empower them in times of disasters.
“Disaster preparedness is one of our priority advocacies. At Smart, we provide multi-platform technology and training, as we work with the government and other partners, to build a #SafePH,” said PLDT and Smart public affairs head Ramon R. Isberto.
In 2016, over 2,000 students and members of the academe attended the Tropang Ready disaster preparedness caravan Smart staged at BatStateU. The activity featured talks and workshops done infotainment-style by disaster preparedness experts from Emergency Management Center and representatives of the Philippine Atmospheric, Geophysical, and Astronomical Services Administration (Pagasa), Department of Science and Technology (DOST), Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), and local disaster risk reduction and management offices.
After the caravan, select BatStateU students joined a series of Tropang Ready “training of trainers” and other emergency management seminars to enrich their disaster preparedness knowledge. These trainings enhanced their capability to teach disaster preparedness skills to their community beneficiaries.
The students have since conducted disaster preparedness trainings to nearly 500 residents, some of whom were affected by the series of strong earthquakes that hit Batangas last year.
Arianne Cruz, one of the students who attended the event, was at school when the earthquake hit. Recalling the safety tips taught during the Tropang Ready event, she assumed the duck, cover and hold position and stayed at an area with a sturdy ceiling.
“The training we had with Tropang Ready was really helpful. Honestly speaking, when something happens, panic is the first thing that sets in. But once you recover and regain presence of mind, you will remember everything you learned, what to do and not to do,” said Cruz, who was one of the certified Tropang Ready student-trainers.
Barangay health worker Maribel Rada was one of the participants who learned disaster preparedness skills from the BatStateU trainers. Among the things she learned during the trainings was to keep a bag that contained a survival kit and the family’s important documents. As soon as they felt the tremors last year in Lipa, Rada said she retrieved the bag and asked her family members to prepare for evacuation.
According to Rada, information is an important aspect of disaster preparedness. For her, that also meant knowing what to do even before calamities strike.
Apart from the weather information they get online, Rada said she found mobile alerts helpful. The warnings, which came from the disaster risk reduction and management office, provided information on storm signals and affected areas.
Tropang Ready is part of Smart’s #SafePH disaster preparedness advocacy, which aims to help build more resilient communities through technology and on-ground activities.
Apart from Tropang Ready, the other programs under this initiative include Smart’s collaboration with the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council, the Emergency Cell Broadcast System (ECBS), which uses a special messaging channel to send out location- and hazard-specific alerts; and the Batingaw disaster management app, which features various tools that can be useful in times of calamities, and an emergency contact numbers directory.