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March 4, 2016

MMDA Conducts Fire Drill, Mock Rescue Ops

     To showcase and test the emergency response and fire fighting capabilities of the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA), hundreds of agency personnel on Thursday conducted its first fire drill this year in line with the start of the Fire Prevention Month.
MMDA Chairman Emerson Carlos said more than 1,200 employees participated in the fire drill Thursday afternoon at the MMDA grounds on Orense Street, Barangay Guadalupe Nuevo, Makati City.
     Carlos said that as one of the government agencies in the forefront of emergency and disaster response not only in Metro Manila but also in the provinces, the MMDA should be prepared for any catastrophy, man-made or otherwise.
     “We as emergency responders should regularly hone our capability to quickly respond to call for assistance by the public,” Carlos said underscoring the significance of training and re-training MMDA personnel in fire fighting skills.
    He added that the fire drill will also be an opportunity to educate the general public of the importance of immediately reporting fire incidents to authorities to prevent lost of lives and minimize destruction of properties.
     The MMDA has a total of 159 fire trucks all over Metro Manila.
    During Thursday’s fire drill, MMDA’s Rescue and Public Safety Office personnel, volunteer fire brigades and members of the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), headed by Chief Inspector Rowena Gollod, responded to the mock fire scenario where an explosion rocked the eight floor of the MMDA main building.
     Thick clouds of smoke billowed out from the windows of the floor. Moments later the alarm sounded signaling the quick evacuation of the people inside the establishment. Designated fire marshalls then guided the employees to the MMDA parking area while heads made a headcount.
    After the employees’ headcount, 14 persons were missing-- a cue for search and rescue operation by authorities inside the burning building while responding fire trucks hosed the side of establishment to quell the blaze.
     Some of the trapped victims inside the building were rappelled down from the 8th floor while others were assisted by the MMDA rescue personnel as well as fire volunteers. The injured were immediately brought to a tent where they were given first aid treatment before being rushed by the MMDA ambulance to hospital.
     Prior to the drill, MMDA and BFP personnel conducted a walk-through to inspect the fire exits and fire extinguishers on every floor and initially assess the employees’ skills and knowledge on fire suppression and evacuation.
     During a brief talk with MMDA personnel on fire safety and prevention, Gollod said that flames become uncontrollable when no one is left at the scene to suppress the blaze and nobody calls the fire department to report the incident.
     She noted that it is vital for workers inside an office to organize themselves into a brigade, designating the role of each person in a case of fire.

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