Thursday, June 24, 2021

Tibaldo: Disaster and emergency preparedness to live by

EWD, CPR, BLS, ICS & BCP: Do these acronyms ring a bell?

Other than cardio-pulmonary resuscitation (CPR) or application of mouth-to-mouth airflow to resuscitate and help a person to regain breathing following an incident or traumatic experience, there are other equally important matters to learn encapsulated in acronyms that are often vague and confusing.

During our junk shop business years when we had a trucking service, I realized the importance of that light reflecting early warning device or EWD as it warns approaching motorists whenever we are stalled or even change tire along the highway. All motorists must have this as part of their standard tools.

After the July 16, 1990 earthquake in Baguio, we had several life-saving and disaster preparedness forums, seminars and workshops where common terms like DCC and DRR became a byword or mantra to many of us in public service.

I have attended disaster risk reduction activities when the Department of National Defense and Office of Civil Defense uses the term disaster coordinating councils or DCCs. Upon realizing that disasters are not coordinated, the two agencies renamed the coordinating bodies as disaster risk reduction management committees or DRRMCs.

The old adage of an ounce of prevention being better than a pound of cure has truths in many ways and I like the part sang by the Beatles where it goes…I'm fixing a hole where the rain gets in and stops my mind from wondering.

At the height of Typhoon Juaning and Gorio that traversed along the country's area of responsibility, I did what technocrats refer to as environmental scanning from neighboring buildings, adjacent street, alley, nearby creek, roofs down to the gutter.

Basic life support or BLS is a medical intervention or care which is used for victims of life-threatening illnesses or injuries until they can be given full medical care at a hospital or medical center. It can be provided by a paramedic or trained medical personnel, including emergency medical technician or by qualified bystanders who happens to be at the incident area.

Recently, I attended a three-day seminar on business continuity planning representing my office as the information officer. BCP is the creation of a strategy through the recognition of threats and risks facing an entity or service provider and ensure that personnel and assets are protected and able to function in the event of a disaster. BCP involves environmental scanning, identifying potential risks, determining how those risks may affect operations, implementing safeguards and procedures designed to mitigate those risks. It also involves testing the planned procedures to ensure that they work with periodic review of the process to ensure that it is timely and updated.

Another form of preparatory measure in anticipation to any form of harm or risk situation to an individual is to equip oneself with knowledge and skills in basic self-defense. As home owners, an emergency exit and evacuation plan is very much wanting to be known by each member of the family.

An emergency kit containing basic necessities that can last for at least three days is advisable. It should include battery operated lamps and transistor radio, medicine and bandages, food and signaling devices such as whistle and mobile phone with charged batteries or power bank. As we always say during DRRMC gatherings, worst thing can happen if we do not know what to do when disaster strikes.
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