| Dec 17, 2014
We would like to share this story from Tyler Graf, MTI's Content Coordinator. Tyler is currently in the Philippines with MTI's assessment team. Read Tyler's previous story about visiting a hospital in Dolores, Philippines.
Teachings imparted under the weight of unimaginable sadness have a way of sticking with people.
That was evident in the Philippines this month, when Typhoon Hagupit — referred to as “Typhoon Ruby” in the Philippines — threatened to sweep through the same areas that Super Typhoon Haiyan (“Yolanda” in the Philippines) did just a year earlier. The coastal city of Tacloban continues to pick up the pieces of last year’s storm, which flattened much of the community. A year later, the resiliency of the people in the Philippines is evident in Tacloban. With the help of Medical Teams International, the city’s first responders learned from the lessons of Haiyan and were better prepared during the recent typhoon.
At the Tacloban Filipino Chinese Volunteer Fire Brigade, volunteer firefighters said emergency preparedness training sessions conducted by MTI volunteers from Tualatin Valley Fire & Rescue helped them know what to do during Typhoon Hagupit.
Medical Teams International’s training “opened us up to ideas we didn’t know yet,” said Jerome Eguillos, a volunteer firefighter at the station. “They taught us things. We were amazed. It was like, ‘Whoa, is this even real?’”
Through MTI’s training sessions in the aftermath of Super Typhoon Haiyan, Tacloban’s first responders learned how to make 72-hour emergency preparedness kits, perform medical assessments on patients and properly coordinate with other agencies.
Linnet Ryzel Jo, another volunteer firefighter, said the emphasis on communication and coordination was a key part of evacuating residents and keeping them safe during Typhoon Hagupit.
“Before, every agency was not very well coordinated,” she said. “Since we (attended MTI’s) seminars, most of the agencies have been united.”
She added: “With Typhoon Ruby, we were prepared.”
At the Bureau of Fire Protection, Tacloban’s official fire station, those sentiments were echoed. Firefighter Zardoz Abela said more than anything, MTI’s training gave local emergency medical service responders the confidence to take a leadership role during Typhoon Hagupit.
“We are more equipped than with Yolanda. Our confidence was bolstered because of (MTI),” Abela said. “Every time we encounter a serious case, there’s a sense of confidence.”
That confidence shone through during Typhoon Hagupit. The volunteer firefighters of Delta Volunteer firehouse in Tacloban, who also underwent MTI’s preparedness training seminars, travelled to nearby Dolores to deliver aide packages consisting of food. Dolores received the brunt of Hagupit’s force.
Mave Lim, a Delta firefighter, said volunteer responders had adopted new procedures to assess the needs of patients, based on MTI’s training. Those were put to use in Dolores.
He expressed happiness at being able to assist the residents of Dolores, saying it was “time to reach out.”
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