Students of University of Southeastern Philippines in Davao City have reinforced their disaster preparedness skills by participating in a training organized by PLDT wireless unit Smart Communications, through its brand TNT.
The TNT Tropang Ready caravan is a learning activity that tours schools all over the country to boost the disaster readiness skills of students and their friends (tropa). The program also aims to mobilize them to lead their families and communities to safety during calamities.
“Students play an important role in disaster preparedness. They have the mobility, the skills and the technological savvy to spread the culture of preparedness,” said Ramon R. Isberto, PLDT and Smart public affairs head.
Resource speakers during the caravan included Central 911 Chief Emmanuel Jaldon and representatives from training provider Emergency Management Center (EMC).
During the training, USeP students learned emergency preparedness and response techniques, including what to do when an earthquake, a fire, or a strong typhoon strikes.
It is important for Davaoeños to know the different types of hazards and how to respond to them, according to Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer in Chief Emmanuel Jaldon.
“The skills they learned during this activity can help them respond to the situation and enable them to protect themselves and save their own lives,” said Jaldon, who is also the chief operating officer of Central 911.
“Here in Davao, we aim to enable our constituents to be community responders, because during an emergency, the government can’t always be there on the spot. If we equip everyone with preparedness and response skills, we can mitigate the impact of the calamity,” said Lyndon Ancajas, CDRRMO and Central 911 administrative officer and training director.
EMC’s Louie Domingo demonstrated to the participants how to conduct a proper “duck, cover and hold”: duck or drop to the floor in half-kneeling position; take cover under a sturdy piece of furniture or against a wall; and hold on to it until the shaking stops.
He also showed them the contents of a “Go Bag,” a survival kit containing a flashlight, bottle of water, mobile phone, garbage bag, T-shirt, flashlight battery, and other essentials that could last up to 72 hours. He also taught the participants water filtration techniques and other practical survival tips.
“The activity was effective because it helped us know what to do in case there are calamities or emergencies. My favorite was Sir Louie’s talk on how simple household items can have many uses during disasters,” said geodetic engineering student Carl Jann Caranzo, one of the student-participants.
Interactive booths, games, and other activities also further illustrated preparedness, such as making a paracord bracelet, which doubles as an emergency rope and contains a whistle that can come in handy during emergencies.
Selected students also joined a “training of trainers” on emergency response. During the whole-day workshop, the participants trained on basic emergency preparedness and survival techniques.
“The youth is a good target for this kind of activity because they’re physically capable and savvy with technology. They’re an untapped resource in the community, and they can be great leaders,” said Ancajas.
“Disaster preparedness and resilience cannot be achieved by the government alone,” Ancajas added. “We need the help of the public, the academe and of course the private sector, so that our efforts can reach more people in more communities,” he pointed out.
TNT Tropang Ready is part of Smart’s advocacy on disaster preparedness, #SafePH, which promotes preparedness through mobile solutions and on-ground activities to help communities mitigate disaster risks.
The program has recently been recognized the winner in the Community Engagement category at the prestigious Golden World Awards, which recognizes public relations practices that meet international standards of excellence.