During the 2nd General Assembly and Skills Competition held at the Valenzuela City Social Hall and the New City Government Complex Grounds yesterday, May 20, several Bantay Sunog volunteer teams were commended for thwarting what could have become major fires.
At least seven fire incidents in the city were documented that were thwarted by the volunteers because of their quick response and immediate actions to stop the spread of what could be major fires.
City Mayor WIN Gatchalian expressed his gratitude and appreciation for the volunteers’ dedication. “Nagpapasalamat ako at sumasaludo sa inyo dahil sa pagbo-volunteer ninyo para sa inyong komunidad na hindi nag-iisip ng pinansyal na kapalit. Marami na tayong naitalang insidente kung saan dahil sa maaga ninyong pagresponde ay naagapan ang pagkalat ng nagsisimulang sunog. Ipagpatuloy natin ito at palawigin pa natin ang inyong hanay. (I thank and salute you for your voluntary service to our community without asking or expecting any remuneration or compensation. There have been many incidents where starting fires were stopped outright because of your prompt response. Let us continue this and at the same time expand your group)” he said.
Valenzuela City Fire Station Chief, F/CSUP Mel Jose P. Lagan bestowed Certificates of Appreciation to these BSV teams.
These volunteers are the city’s team of trained fire-fighting and disaster response volunteers under the Bantay Sunog Fire Protection Program, a brainchild of City Mayor WIN Gatchalian, was launched in February 2009 with community participation and volunteerism as its rallying points. It was pilot tested in 10 key clustered residential areas in eight barangays.
Bantay Sunog volunteers act as the first line of defense of their communities against fire by responding immediately in case it happened in their neighborhood, and by immediately coordinating their actions with and alerting the authorities. To date, it has able to meet the target to raise the number of volunteers to a thousand to cover most of the city’s 33 barangays, complementing the 96 firefighting personnel of the Valenzuela City Fire Station.
A volunteer is certified upon completing a series of training on first aid and basic life support, disaster preparedness and mass evacuation, firefighting skills, fire suppression, and fire extinguisher use and maintenance.
The City Government provide each Bantay Sunog volunteer with hard hats, vests, whistles, issued IDs, as well as orange t-shirts with Bantay Sunog logo for proper identification. The city fire department also conducts regular re-training programs for the volunteers. As well as the annual Mayor WIN Gatchalian Bantay Sunog Volunteers General Assembly and Skills Competition which aims to enhance the capability of the volunteers and for them to learn more tactics and techniques during fire incidents.
Results of the 2nd Mayor WIN Gatchalian Bantay Sunog Volunteers Skills Competition were described by F/CSUPT Lagan as their best show of their acquired skills.
Vice Mayor Eric M. Martinez handed down the trophies to the teams after competing in Blaze Attack Fire Extinguisher Operation, Bucket Relay and Rescue Game categories.
Participating volunteers from Barangay Veinte Reales emerged as the overall Champion.
During the event, Mayor WIN also announced that 2,000 more fire hydrants will be installed around the city in addition to 300 active units.