As part of its efforts to prepare UPLB for a dreaded 7.2 earthquake dubbed as “The Big One”, the Occupational Health and Safety Standards Committee-Office of the Vice Chancellor for Community Affairs (OHSSC-OVCCA) hosted a two-day training entitled “Earthquake and Landslide Search and Rescue Orientation Course” (ELSAROC), held at the Obdulia F. Sison Hall on 20-21 March 2018.
The training was in partnership with the Pharmaceutical and Healthcare Association of the Philippines (PHAP) Cares Foundation, Inc. and the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA), which also provided a team of experts, who served as resource persons for the training.
Offices and units from various colleges and units of UPLB participated in the training. The University’s community partners, namely the Los Baños Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) and the Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (MDRRMO), were also invited to participate.
In her opening remarks, vice chancellor for community affairs, Dr. Serlie Barroga-Jamias, said that UPLB, through the OVCCA, has been proactively preparing in the recent years for the “The Big One” to ensure the safety of its constituents, as Laguna will most likely be affected by the earthquake, according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (PHIVOLCS)
Meanwhile, Dr. Maria Rosarita Q. Siasoco, executive director of PHAP explained that ELSAROC aimed to enable participants to plan for worst case scenarios in the event of an earthquake and to enable them to save as many lives as possible.
During the first day of the training, the resource speakers tackled modules on the basic theories of earthquake preparedness, such as hazard and disaster management concepts, search and rescue techniques, and ways of extricating and caring for victims trapped in collapsed structures.
During the second day, the participants got on their feet to demonstrate the theories they learned from the first day. Special equipment were also used to simulate an actual search and rescue situation, where victims are trapped inside a collapsed structure.
The participants were given exams after the discussion of the modules to evaluate their learning outcomes.
In his closing remarks, OHSSC chair, Prof. Garry Jay S. Montemayor, emphasized the importance of disaster preparedness, especially during these times when earthquakes occur very frequently, but hoped that the participants will never have to use what they have learned in the training. (Written by: Mariz Diagan, OVCCA intern, with reports from Engr. Joseph A. Pagtananan)
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