·Homes should have warning devices such as Fire Alarms, while high-rise structures should have, in addition to early warning systems, automatic fire suppression mechanisms in place such as water sprinklers
·All rooms particularly those in buildings should have exit plans with clear exit signs conspicuously posted where they are most visible
·LPG tanks should be regularly inspected for proper fittings, and their hoses regularly checked for wear and tear.Worn out hoses should not be used and should be replaced upon discovery
To report a fire incident, dial 117 or call the APVFBI at 522-2222.
The Manly Beach Life Savers Club (MLSC) is a private volunteer organization whose noblest motive is to ensure that Manly Beach in NSW Australia is a safe place to swim by preventing the loss of life in its beach.
Much like MCFRVI, MLSC is staffed by private individuals, mostly in their youth serving as Lifeguards in their free time.In conjunction with the council (paid) lifeguards, they patrol Manly Beach out of their own volition for free.
MCFRVI Deputy Chief Triton Charlie was fortunate to have MLSC volunteers on duty in the afternoon of 21 February 2010 as he was “pre-emptively” rescued when strong waves caused him to drift to a dangerous part of the beach during a surge of huge waves reaching at least five feet.
It is with great gratitude that volunteers are found all over the world, at any time and place.
As the saying goes, “Volunteers are not worthless because they are not paid.They are priceless”.
The Association of Volunteer Fire Brigades of the Philippines, Inc (APVFBI) will be holding its annual Fire Prevention Parade on 27 February 2010.
Held every year at the beginning of the summer season, it hopes to drum up Fire Safety Awareness in the general public, particularly in observance of the Fire Prevention Month of March.
As has been the tradition, the APVFBI member brigades will traverse the main thoroughfares of Metro Manila to invite the attention of the public and remind them of the destructive nature of fire incidents.
MCFRVI will participate in the said occasion and will field METROPLEX Pumper to the said activity.
The Metropolitan Composite Fire and Rescue Volunteers, Inc. (MCFRVI), headed by its Board of Directors would like to greet our brothers and sisters in the Chinese community a very prosperous new year!!!
This year’s symbol, the METAL TIGER, is characterized by Aggressiveness, Strength and Bravery. May all of us share in the virtues of the Metal Tiger this coming New Lunar Year…
This year’s Chinese New Year will be officially marked at exactly 10:51A.M. on Sunday, 14 February 2010.
To our Cantonese speaking Chinese brethren, KUNG HEI FAT CHOI!!!
To our Hookien speaking Chinese brethren, KIONG HEE HUAT CHAI!!!
To our Mandarin speaking brethren, GONG XI FA CAI!!!
To all our friends, XIN NIEN KWAI LE!!!SIN NI KHOAI LOK!!!
THEY WERE LIFESAVERS TO THE multitudes who struggled to keep their heads and hopes above water, whether against the torrents of destruction or the slow currents of despair.
They were the volunteers and donors who, in countless ways, helped the battered populace—and the nation’s downcast spirit—recover from the devastation wrought by Tropical Storm “Ondoy.”
The Inquirer salutes them as the 2009 Filipino of the Year.
When it was wiser to just quit and finally catch his breath, 18-year-old construction worker Muelmar Magallanes dove back into the raging flood. In the sinking slums, a mother with a baby was still screaming. They were the last two of about 30 lives he would save that day—before losing his own.
When there really was no shame in watching from the sidelines after one’s own family had been spared from harm, tens of thousands went out of their way to help total strangers and form human chains of charity.
Barangay Captain Roger Frias of San Jose braving rains and floods stayed on duty day and night to make sure the 93,000 families in his village in Rizal were safe, fed and sheltered.
Paddling his family’s two-seater kayak through the strong current inundating Marikina City, Juan Paolo Mateo saved five people.
While the economic slump was tightening many belts, aid still came in massive waves. Donations poured in from the famous and the faceless, the rich and the not-yet-rich, as well as from companies and foreign governments.
Without being asked, they rescued trapped souls, even coming back for abandoned pets. Some wrote generous checks, many logged cheerful hours packing relief goods, others personally comforted the sick and the sad.
Going by official figures, their acts of compassion rippled across the lives of five million Filipinos affected by Ondoy in Metro Manila and 26 provinces.
According to the National Disaster Coordinating Council (NDCC), Ondoy (international name: Ketsana) killed 464 people, injured 529, and left 37 missing. The 19th storm to enter the country last year also left 70,000 people homeless and destroyed P11 billion worth of crops and infrastructure.
However, the trauma from that dark Saturday afternoon of Sept. 26 can never be reduced to numbers.
In just six hours, Ondoy dumped what was normally a month’s worth of rain, stunning even the weathermen and instantly turning communities, including those that had never before gone underwater, into murky lakes.
Magnificent, massive response
Some of the most harrowing scenes occurred in Provident Village, a middle-class subdivision in Marikina City, where residents climbed trees or escaped to rooftops as the deluge engulfed even two-story homes.
From there, a shocked nation learned of the first sightings of corpses adrift with cars and furniture.
The bigger, frightful picture didn’t take long to emerge. TV news and websites would later run eyewitness videos: Floodwaters washing away vehicles, some with people still in them, ramming one into another; a cluster of men clinging for dear life onto a floating mound of debris, hurtling down a swollen river, passing beneath a nearly submerged bridge and disappearing from sight; a refrigerator sailing down a flooded street till it got caught in a web of power cables, where the receding water left it hanging precariously—some 20 feet off the ground.
When the skies finally cleared, Ondoy’s unparalleled fury drew a humanitarian response of a scale and level unseen in recent memory. As reports of bitter losses piled up in the days that followed, so did the tales of heroism, sacrifice and inspiration.
Jet ski, free laundry
Gestures big and small were all deemed noble in their own right, mitigating the lack of government aid and response to calamities.
On the day the storm hit, from 4 p.m. to midnight, Quezon City Judge Ralph Lee personally hauled trapped residents to safer ground—two or three at a time—using his jet ski. The Novaliches neighborhood, where his initiative saved about a hundred people, later hailed him as “superman.”
The Kalinisan Steam Laundry Inc. offered its services for free. It also turned its warehouse into an evacuation center for about a hundred families.
Parishes, schools, companies, and civic groups set up networks of relief-processing centers, where thousands of volunteers worked in shifts for weeks.
At the Ateneo de Manila’s covered courts, for example, groups of 600 people at a time took turns preparing relief packages. ABS-CBN’s Sagip Kapamilya listed up to 16,000 donors in operations that kicked off within hours after the storm and lasted up until November. GMA 7’s Kapuso Foundation also held fund-raisers and relief operations nonstop for affected areas. In about the same period, the lobby of the Inquirer office in Makati City doubled as a warehouse and packaging area.
The Catholic Church through Caritas Manila raised millions of pesos, even as someone writing on a website for “Filipino atheists” exhorted peers to do their share, saying: “We may have different beliefs, but we are one with the rest of the Philippines in light of this tragedy. Two hands helping trump a thousand clasped in prayer.”
Posting Ondoy videos
Writing later on Facebook, a diligent volunteer recounted how she made sure there was powdered milk in every bag of groceries she packed. But she also nitpicked at how some people mindlessly donated tutus, lacy dresses, floral gowns. Give the evacuees some “dignity,” she pleaded.
A top honcho of San Miguel Corp. offered to buy up to 50 motorized boats just to speed up rescue and relief efforts, while the Philippine Inter-Island Shipping Association offered to ferry relief goods for free.
A cyber-junkie identified only as Kaninlamig (“leftover rice”) created an interactive Google map alerting action teams to various emergency situations, including areas hit by brownouts or traffic gridlocks.
More netizens helped keep the world abreast by posting Ondoy videos, blogs and morale-boosting shoutouts. “Where I’m from, everyone’s a hero,” read one proud slogan that spread across social networking sites.
Albay, itself a storm-weary province, sent volunteers to Manila even while its local officials were keeping close watch on Mayon Volcano. In Laguna, public school teachers agreed to hold classes in their own homes while their campuses sheltered the homeless.
The NDCC said the country’s international appeal for funds raised a total of $26 million or P1.2 billion (as of November 2009). The Department of Foreign Affairs, meanwhile, reported a flurry of contributions from overseas Filipinos.
Even dogs were rescued
Telecom firms set up “libreng tawag” (free calls) centers, hospitals sent out medical teams, and a popular bookstore and school supply chain made sure the relief centers never run out of adhesive tape.
“Twiggy,” “Julia,” “Stanley” and “Lyndon” were the names given to some of the stranded dogs found alive in the sunken villages days after the storm, thanks to a mission led by the Animal Rescue Pilipinas coalition.
Muelmar Magallanes swam and grabbed a mother and her 6-month-old daughter just when the baby, kept afloat in a Styrofoam box, was about to be swept away by the flood in Bagong Silangan, Quezon City. While trying to rescue more neighbors later, a wall collapsed on the otherwise strong swimmer and a TV set fell on his head, killing him instantly, witnesses said.
Several more rescuers perished doing their mission. Among them were from a team that fanned out in Laguna composed of members of the Philippine Army and the Citizen Armed Force Geographical Units (Cafgu), namely: Pfc. Venancio Ancheta, Cpl. Adriano Regua, Joel Hernalin, Erineo Olaguer, Pedro Montefalcon and Artemio Descotido.
The Senate passed resolutions hailing Magallanes, Ancheta and Regua. Time Magazine applauded Magallanes as one of its Top 10 Heroes of 2009.
Ondoy was immediately followed by a few more ferocious storms that year.
Typhoon “Pepeng” blew in a week later, as did typhoon “Ramil” after two weeks, wreaking fresh havoc on a land whose September wounds had barely healed.
Still, it was Ondoy’s sheer violence—and violations of the people’s sense of security—that would leave the deepest scar on the collective psyche.
In time, the pain became bearable. The blank stares and anguished faces gradually lightened up. Relief goods continued to pour in, so much so, instant noodles were coming out of the evacuees’ ears. Suddenly there was reason to laugh again.
‘I will not forget’
Thanks to the volunteers and donors for whom selflessness is either a divine spark or a patriotic duty, a “feel-good” adventure, an instinctive response in any crisis, an investment in good karma or an end in itself.
We honor the Ondoy heroes in the best way we know how together with a prayer of thanksgiving.
Menchie Peñalosa, the grateful mother of the baby girl saved by Magallanes said it best for all of us: “I will never forget.”
The Metropolitan Composite Fire and Rescue Volunteers was able to rescue 30 Families that included 17 children during the height of the onslaught of Typhoon Ondoy, joining the hundreds of selfless individuals who rose to the occasion in helping those in dire need.
MCFRVI would also like to reiterate its gratitude, in behalf of the Filipino People, to the parishioners of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Menevia in South Wales (particularly those from St. Joseph, St. Therese and Our Lady of Margam Parishes) who immediately heeded the call for assistance raised by the Filipino Community in Port Talbot, UK.