The top-of-the-line ambulance recently received by the Virac Fire Station will not be operated fully as of now as its crew will have to undergo training, the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) said last week.
Fire Inspector Danilo Tayobana told the Tribune last week that there are two nurses among the personnel of the station while three more will come from the Special Rescue Force (SRF) which covers the entire province.
Only one of the five licensed nurses-turned-fire personnel has undergone Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) training which is required for an ambulance crew.
Together with Tayobana, Virac municipal government liaison officer Evan Vargas, who represented Mayor Samuel Laynes, received the symbolic key to the ambulance during the turnover ceremony at the BFP national headquarters in Quezon City recently.
Virac was among the seven city and municipal fire stations in Bicol and 84 nationwide that received the new ambulances as part of plan of the Department of the Interior and Local Government (DILG) to boost the capacities of firefighters to provide emergency response services especially during the coming holidays.
DILG Secretary Benjamin “Benhur” C. Abalos, Jr. said the distribution of new ambulance units is a testament to the government’s commitment to public safety as he lauded the 34,000 BFP fire officers who serve as front liners in protecting innocent lives during emergencies and disasters despite challenges posed by lack of facilities and equipment.
“These emergency vehicles will further empower our personnel as we remain committed to providing high-level emergency response and rescue services and improve our agency’s health services,” he said.
Abalos said that of the 84 ambulance units, Regions V and VII obtained seven units each, while Regions I, VIII, IX, and CARAGA got six units each.
On the other hand, Regions II, VI, XI, CALABARZON, MIMAROPA, and Cordillera Autonomous Region got five units apiece, while Regions III, X, XII, and Bangsamoro Autonomous Region each received four units.
Each Type-1 Basic Life Support Ambulance is a top-of-the-line Nissan Urvan NV350 built and designed to comply with local and international standards, not only for transporting patients but also to provide emergency care and avoid aggravating the patient’s injury or illness while transported.
It is equipped with Doctor/EMT/Paramedic Seating and a Negative Pressure System that can eliminate at least three types of viruses to keep BFP personnel safe during its operation.
It also comes with a two-way radio communication device, ventilation airway equipment, monitoring and defibrillator, chest compression device, immobilization device, dressing and bandages, obstetrical delivery set, infection control, and various EMS kits and supplies.
The DILG Secretary urged local government units (LGUs) to work closely with their local fire station commanders to keep their communities safe, resilient, and emergency-ready, especially with an expected surge of emergencies during the yuletide season.
During the event, Abalos said the DILG will keep on training barangay officials to become force multipliers in times of fire and other calamities and tap the help of the private sector to provide fire officers and volunteers with health and hospitalization benefits.
With Abalos during the turnover rites were BFP Chief F/Dir. Louie S. Puracan and BFP Acting Chief Directorial Staff F/CSupt. Manuel M. Manuel.
In the Tribune interview, F/Insp. Tayobana said that while there is sophisticated equipment in the ambulance that cannot be utilized pending the training of the personnel to be conducted in Virac, it can be used to respond to minor accidents and emergencies.
It may also be deployed to other towns outside Virac depending on the need and pursuant to authority from the Provincial Fire Marshal.
The advantage of the BFP is that we do not only respond to fire incidents but also man-made calamities and other emergencies which are included in our mission, Tayobana said.
The ambulance will also be of help whenever there are civilian casualties during a fire or when fire personnel are hurt in the response and would need to be transported to a health facility.
All BFP personnel are required to undergo all types of life support training, he added.
One driver and two responders comprise the crew of the ambulance per shift, with the five nurses to go on rotation duty.
While the provincial fire marshal has already indicated that there would be additional personnel to be assigned to Virac, the ambulance can run at any time as the driver and nurse on duty can be deployed in the exigency of the service.
The fire station has already requested Mayor Laynes to assist in putting up a roof over the area where the ambulance will be parked beside the station.