‘If disaster strikes, who you gonna call?’

The weather seems to be getting wilder and weirder. People are noticing. But when disaster strikes, who are we gonna call?

This question has been addressed by the City of San Fernando Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (CDRRMO), a relentless workforce of the city government that is responsible in the Fernandino’s continuous journey to a “Safer, Adaptive, and Disaster-resilient community.”

San Fernando, due to its natural topography, is vulnerable to various natural hazards such as flooding, earthquake, liquefaction, and even human-induced threats being the regional center of Central Luzon.

With this, the Local Government here fully embraced in 2012 the implementation of the Republic Act No. 10121 or the "Act Strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System” thus creating the CDRRM Office. It was further institutionalized by virtue of the Sangguniang Panglungsod Ordinance No. 2012-003 or known as the CDRRM Code.

Habagat in 2012

During the torrential rains brought by the southwest monsoon or the Habagat in 2012, the city government, at that time was caught off guard. Having no rescue responders to assist those who were trapped in flooded areas, the City assembled a pool of employees who have trainings in basic life support.

Armed with borrowed personnel protective gears that were not even fitted to their sizes, equipment which are not made for the job, these personnel stood up to the challenge to save the lives of their constituents.

This experience paved the way to the creation of a City disaster response arm, the San Fernando Rescue Unit. Since then, the CDRRMO pioneered a comprehensive disaster response services to the entire city’s constituency.

Championing life

Trainings were now provided to these courageous and compassionate individuals. At present, personnel were trained in various DRRM related capabilities such as Collapsed Structure Search & Rescue, Flood /Swift water Rescue, Crash Vehicle Extrication, Incident Command System, Water Search and Rescue (Wasar), Ambulance and Fire Truck Operation, Emergency Medical Services -Standard First Aid and Basic Life Support (CPR with AED), Wilderness EMS, Burn Care Management, Basic and Advanced Airway, Electrical Therapy, Basic ECG Reading and IV/IO Therapy, Advanced Cardiac Life.

As their capabilities enhances, their passion to save lives also advances by leaps and bounds. The CDRRMO continuous to renders 24/7 medical and rescue services not only to its constituents but also to the whole Central Luzon.

Various innovations were introduced such as the creation of SAFRU counterparts in barangays, schools, private organizations, civic society organizations, among others to augment its force and widen the scope of its operations.

The CDRRMO continuously holds trainings, drills, exercises, and other capability enhancement programs to ensure that volunteers become prepared to all kinds of hazards.

It has also built linkages to other rescue groups and other DRRM related agencies to strengthen the city’s resilience to disasters and emergencies.

With all these efforts, the CDRRMO has been recognized by various award-giving organizations such as Central Luzon First Aid/CPR Olympics (CDRRMO-San Fernando Rescue Unit): 2014 – Overall 1st place; Best in Bandaging Relay; Best in Situational Analysis; 2015 – Overall 2nd place; Best in Bandaging Relay; Bakas Parangal ng Kadikalaan 2015 and CSFP Civil Service Month Celebration – PRAISE Awards – Best Performing Group of 2017.

It is also a consistent recipient of the Office of the Civil Defense Gawad Kalasag Award Best DRRM Council and Government Emergency Response from 2013 up to present.

The CDRRMO shall always be true to their mandate of developing the resiliency of the Fernandinos to all kinds of disasters. Just remember to reach them at the hotline 961-HELP (4357). (PR)