Fiesta emergency response training

NAGA CITY --- The City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office of the local government unit here staged a series of trainings on emergency response along with its partner agencies on August 22-24, this year.

The 3-day training on contingency planning was in preparation for the month-long celebration of the Peñafrancia festivities. It went through by way of analyzing specific potential events that might threaten the public, and by establishing arrangements in advance to come up with timely and appropriate responses to such events.

One of the worst-case scenarios that should be anticipated as discussed in the training was the collapse of one of the city’s old bridges while in the midst of the Peñafrancia celebration.

It was 47 years ago that the old Colgante Bridge collapsed while the fluvial procession was in progress. Over a hundred of individuals, including pilgrims, visitors, children and elderly, died in that horrible scene in 1972.

Renee Absalon E. Abiada, CDRRMO operations officer, said: “With the restricted weight capacity of our bridges, we cannot afford to allow the public to stay in any of these structures for a longer period, especially during the Peñafrancia fiesta. The facilities [bridges] can only be used as passageways for those who wish to cross from one end to the other.”

An estimated two to three million pilgrims, tourists, devotees, and guests from different regions of the country and the world are coming in the city to pay homage to Ina, Our Lady of Peñafrancia, and to participate in the celebration of the over three-centuries old religious event.

Other scenarios that may possibly happen during the fiesta, like earthquake, fire, bomb threat, and persons gone berserk were also discussed to minimize the impact of their occurrence by preparing for timely, effective, appropriate, and well-coordinated responses as well as the efficient management of resources.

Aside from contingency planning, the training participants, which included representatives from the government’s uniformed services, the Bureau of Fire Protection, concerned personnel from the LGU, Department of Education, Dept. of Health, the Catholic Church, and Cofradia de San Jose were also convened for incident management team training and incident command system (ICS) training.

ICS is a standard, on-scene, all-hazard incident management concept that can be used by all member agencies of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Councils and response groups. It allows its users to adopt an integrated organizational structure to match the complexities and demands of single or multiple incidents without being hindered by agency or jurisdictional boundaries.

The Incident Management Team is a team composed of Command Staff and General Staff who will take the lead in ICS implementation.

Wikipedia explained that: IMT is a term used in the United States of America to refer to a group that responds to an emergency, an IMT can respond to a wide range of emergencies, including fires, floods, earthquakes, hurricanes, tornadoes, tsunami, riots, spilling of hazardous materials, and other natural or human-caused incidents.