Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Preparing for the Big One: UP Mountaineers and Primer Group Join to Ready the Public for Disasters

Wazzup Pilipinas!

Primer Group, the country’s leading retailer and distributor of premium travel, outdoor, footwear, wellness and urban lifestyle consumer brands, and the UP Mountaineers Search and Rescue, together mounted a series of disaster preparedness talks held at the Recreational Outdoor Exchange (R.O.X) at the Bonifacio High Street in Taguig City. The series is part of Primer Group’s effort to help in disaster awareness.

The partnership came in the heels of a recent study done by the Phivolcs and the Japanese government about the probability of a major movement of the West Valley Fault. This fault line runs from San Del Monte in Bulacan to Calamba in Laguna. Any movement will immediately impact cities like Quezon City, Paranaque, Alabang, Marikina, Pasig, among others, and is expected to cause massive damage to the surrounding cities.

What’s more, Metro Manila will be hit hard because of the large concentration of people and property.

“When the UP Mountaineers Search and Rescue started, we were mostly focused on search and rescue operations in non-urban areas. It was only after the Ondoy incident that we realized the need to educate and prepare people in cities for disaster situations because we realized how vulnerable urbanites really are.” said Jom Daclan, executive member of the UP Mountaineers Search and Rescue. “Many city residents are not aware of what to do and how to prepare for a disaster.”

Daclan stressed that it is important to plan for disasters even before it is not there, as each member of the family will have to rely on one another in the event of a disaster. He emphasized that the first step is to prepare disaster kits for each family member.

“A disaster kit that will see you through a disaster for at least 2 to 3 days can spell the difference between surviving a disaster or not. Each kit should contain at essentials like medicines, food items like canned goods and biscuits, a manual can opener, flashlight and batteries, shoes, clothes and rain jackets, some cash and, identification papers.” Daclan added.

He also stressed that each family member must know how to react in case of an earthquake. Knowing what to do and what not to do whether indoors or outdoors is also important to surviving an earthquake. More importantly, preparing the house and ensuring that it does not cause injury will go a long way since injuries are often caused not by the earthquake itself but by the debris from damaged or broken items such as decorations, furniture, appliances, and other household items.

For instance, heavy furniture and appliances should be fastened or held down as these items will cause injury when they fall on people. Heavy and breakable objects should also be stored or displayed in places close to the floor to minimize the chances of these objects of breaking and causing injury.

Daclan also stressed that having the presence of mind will help save lives and minimize injury because knowing what to do during an earthquake is important.

“This is the 2ndyear we have been doing these seminars. We first did this for the employees but we are now looking at cascading this to the general public,” said Kristine Villaflor, program manager of CORE. “CORE first conducted these talks last Aug, 2013 with the topic on floods and typhoons as the main topic and other related-disaster topic. We have since sustained this for the benefit of our employees and consistently providing information education campaign through info graphic posters within the company premises and online newsletter.”

CORE also conducts talks and training programs forits community partner for Personal Emergency Responsein Baler as the first beneficiary. This was repeated for the Sagada tour guide community and the Great Escaper tour guide in Palawan.

The series of Disaster Preparedness Seminars is part of Primer Group’s advocacy aimed at disaster risk and preparedness. It’s objective is to ready its employees and the public for in case of any kind of disaster and to educate people on what to do ad how to protect and rescue themselves in the event a disaster strikes.

“Being aware will also help people educate their families so each member is better prepared.” Added Villaflor.

Primer Group, through its CORE Program, has been in partnership with the UP Mountaineers Search and Rescue since 2010. The company has supported the group’s training programs and talks and is also their partner during the company’s search and rescue efforts such as what happened during the Yolanda tragedy.

“This is more than a CSR for us. It is really about educating the public with the knowledge on how to act when disaster strikes.” Villaflor added.

Primer Group has been known to carry a wide range of outdoor and recreational products. Starting with just a very few brands, it has grown to include Salomon, North Face, Columbia, Jan Sport, Eddie Bauer, and many other brands all aimed at providing consumers with many outdoor recreational products.

“We have always been committed to enjoining the public to take to the outdoor life because it is not only a good form of exercise but it also allows people to appreciate nature in its purest form.” said Mary Anne Oriondo, marketing communications officer of R.O.X.

Such is the company’s commitment that the company makes it a point to provide a venue for groups such as the UP Mountaineers Search and Rescue to educate the public on matters concerning disaster and rescue programs.

The Primer Group has consistently been engaged in efforts pertaining to disaster preparedness and search and rescue operations during calamities as this is part of its mission to give back to the community. The company was actively involved during rescue and relief operations during the Ondoy, Pablo, Habagat, Sendong and Yolanda typhoons.

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