Saturday, April 16, 2016


A SEARCH AND RESCUE Summit had never been organized and presented in Cebu before until July 29, 2015 came. Two days after that, July 31, it was deemed a success! Credit that to the hardworking men and women of the Cebu Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO-Cebu), led by its department head, Baltazar Tribunalo Jr., and by its operations chief, Dennis Cortes.

We all know that all the finest private and volunteer emergency response teams (ERT) and emergency medical teams (EMT) of Cebu converged on the parade ground of the AFP Central Command Headquarters, Camp Lapulapu, Cebu City in the morning of that first day in full force and in their finest attire and equipment. These include guest responders from Quezon City (UP Mountaineers), from Bohol (TARSIER 117) and from Olongapo City (Sta. Rita FRADRU), with special appearance of news TV personality, Paolo Bediones of Rescue 5, lending active support.

Attending also are the LDRRMOs from Daanbantayan down to Santander and the satellite islands of Bantayan, Mactan and the Camotes; and the CDRRMOs of Cebu, Danao, Talisay, Naga, Bogo, Mandaue, Toledo and Lapulapu. For three days, no eyes blinked as everyone participated and witnessed every scenario they could join, touched and haggled every item displayed they could hold, and attended every mini-clinic each participating organization could muster.

This blogger, who had built a reputation for introducing bushcraft and survival as an outdoor leisure activity in the Philippines, was invited along with the Camp Red Bushcraft and Survival Guild to this summit, not a mean feat, considering that I and Camp Red are not emergency responders. Our presence and participation is anchored through our availability to train and impart ERTs/EMTs and the LDRRMOs our wilderness survival skills which would benefit them in difficult terrain, situations and time.

Gracing the first day and the opening of the 1st SAR Summit is the Honorable Hilario Davide III, the Cebu Provincial Governor, after a short introduction by Mr. Tribunalo and the overview of the idea of the SAR Summit by Mr. Cortes. “Interoperability Camaraderie and Unity” is the theme of the event for which the goal really is to unite all the different ERTs/EMTs to one protocol in responding to emergencies. In the next three days this scheme would be tested.

FIRST DAY – JULY 29, 2015

SCENARIO 1: Collapsed Structure Search and Rescue

Mr. Cortes of PDRRMO-Cebu briefed the mixed group of participants coming from different ERTs and LDRRMOs to respond to and extricate two unconscious “victims” trapped inside a collapsed building after an “earthquake”.

SCENARIO 2: Confined Space Breaching and Extraction

The 53rd Engineering Battalion of the Philippine Army briefed another mixed group of participants from the different ERTs and LDRRMOs in breaching a building structure composed of different materials using industrial-grade power tools.

CLINIC 1: Orientation to Bombs and Explosives

A Bomb Technician belonging to the Explosives Ordnance Disposal Team of the Philippine Army discusses about bombs, explosives and its paraphernalia; the chemical compositions of explosives; the Improvised Explosive Devices; and the safety protocols in responding to or encountering suspected bombs.

CLINIC 2: Wilderness First Aid

Christopher Ngosiok of Camp Red discusses the limitations of responding to emergencies in difficult terrain and explains the different techniques, through improvisations, to address the injuries sustained by a victim in that situation.

SECOND DAY – JULY 30, 2015

SCENARIO 1: Mountain Search and Rescue

Members of the UP Mountaineers briefed a mixed group of participants coming from different ERTs and LDRRMOs to respond to and extricate two missing “victims” found on two different locations of a deep ravine.

CLINIC 1: Land Navigation and Terrain Analysis

The Army's 5th Special Forces Company conducted a brief lecture on map reading, direction finding and grid coordinates.

CLINIC 2: Single Rope Technique

Members from WERUC demonstrated how SRT works and how it could be incorporated into rescue operations.

CLINIC 3: Low Angle Rescue

Lead responders from the Central Visayas Search and Rescue (CEVSAR) showed the many different techniques in low-angle rescue and safe extraction of victims.

CLINIC 4: Orientation to Amateur Radio

Jet Manuel of Ham Radio Cebu discuss a brief orientation on the laws that guide radio use in the Philippines and the simple ways to operate a radio transceiver and the protocols of communications.

Each participating ERT/EMT, volunteer, partner organization, vendor and exhibitor were allocated a tent on the second day. Camp Red was supposed to conduct a mini-clinic on this date but I decide to forego it since the volume of people coming in to visit our tent was extraordinary and there was a very effective yet interactive sharing of information to the visitors by those who manned the display table.

DAY 3 – JULY 31, 2015

SCENARIO 1: Hazardous Materials and Vehicle Rescue

Lead agency is the Special Rescue Unit of the Bureau of Fire Protection-Region 7 who responded to a “vehicular collision” of a tanker which caused leak of an unknown kind of hazardous material and the extrication of two unconscious “victims” from the scene of incident. A showcase of HAZMAT equipment designed for responding in that kind of situation.

SCENARIO 2: Water Search and Rescue

The Philippine Coast Guard and the PNP Maritime Group-7 invited and briefed a mixed group of participants coming from the different ERTs and LDRRMOs in rescuing “survivors” from a “sunken ship” at the entrance to the Mactan Channel on two rubber rescue boats.

SCENARIO 4: High Angle Rescue

The Philippine National Red Cross, UP Mountaineers, TARSIER 117, Sta. Rita FRADRU and highly-experienced individuals (Randy Salazar and Chico Estrera) pooled together their skills and knowledge to brief a mixed group of ERTs and LDRRMOs in responding to two unconscious “victims” during an ongoing “fire incident” and extricating them from the rooftop of a multi-storey building.

CLINIC 1: Incident Command System

The Office of Civil Defense-Region 7 gave a summarized discussion about the ICS to all the participants.

CLINIC 2: Vehicle Extraction

Mr. Cortes demonstrated the tools and techniques to extract an unconscious “victim” from inside a vehicle. CDRRMO-Danao provided their hydraulic tools for this occasion with which crews from different ERTs and LDRRMOs tested. Same with the battery-operated tools provided by CDRRMO-Naga.

It is wise to note that ambulances from the participating ERTs, EMTs and LDRRMOs were extensively used during each scenario. The “victims” were immediately transferred from the SAR scenarios to waiting ambulances and the EMTs performed accordingly by applying life-support systems and moving the “patients” to safe zones. Also in good stead are the ACER guys who gave constant real-time communications to ICS on all the scenarios, clinics and on invisible grounds where they are stationed.

Ultimately, the 1st SAR Summit held here in Cebu was a tough act to follow and it was successful, in the sense, that egos were kept behind where it would have thrown a monkey wrench on the whole event. The intention was to foster camaraderie and familiarity among the different ERTs and EMTs who, I believe, have their own set of values, or rules to be exact, to follow. Having done that, the summit achieved unity and harmony. Interoperability would just be a few steps away.

Kudos then to the successful bid of the Cebu Provincial Government to achieve this as well as to the staff of PDRRMO-Cebu. For those who attended the summit, it was very engaging and quite helpful on their part as each were exposed to the different levels and disciplines of search and rescue. For the LDRRMOs, it is high time that their respective LGUs commit a respectable budget to run this department efficiently as envisioned in Republic Act 10121.

Document done in LibreOffice 4.3 Writer

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