Hazardous chemicals? Men in ‘green gear’ will handle them

By: Nestle L. Semilla August 17,2018 - 09:58 PM

Four personnel from the Bureau of Fire and Protection-Special Rescue Unit (BFP-SRU) rushed to a parking area, put on their green protective gear, grabbed a gadget placed on a trolley and rushed to another part of the parking lot where barrels of chemicals are found.

The four BFP-SRU personnel are the first responders in situations involving hazardous chemicals.

They moved in pairs as they approached the barrels of chemicals to check if this were hazardous or would likely explode.

One of the responders, grabbed the “Gemini” analyzer, a gadget on the trolley that analyzes chemicals, which was donated by the United States government, to check on the spilled chemicals on the ground.

After using the gadget to check if the chemicals are hazardous, the responder said that they would need to clean the spilled chemicals by putting soil on it.

This was just one scenario during yesterday’s simulation exercise involving hazardous chemicals which was conducted by the Defense Threat Reduction Agency (DTRA) of the United States of America Department of Defense.

Supt. Jose Embang Jr., BFP-7 deputy chief, said that they could face situations where there would be hazardous chemicals whether it would be accidental or human induced.

So the the joint project would be to build the capacity of their personnel particularly their Special Rescue Unit (RSU), said Embang.

“This is for capacity building of our personnel especially in situations where there are hazardous chemicals or CBRN (chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear),” said Embang.

He added that the simulation exercise, which was held yesterday at the Cebu Port Authority, also served as a training not only for BFP but also for other government agencies that are considered as first responders to emergencies like the Emergency Rescue Unit Foundation, Philippine National Police, and Armed Forces of the Philippine.

“The US DRTA did not only give us training but also they gave us equipment for situations involving hazardous chemicals like protective gear,” Embang said in Cebuano.

Embang said that it would take time to learn all the procedures of handling situations with hazardous chemicals, but with equipment given by the US government, it would help them boost their capacity.

Lt. Col. Joseph Silvers, the CBRN Preparedness officer of the US-DTRA, said that they had been partners with Philippines for almost 20 years.

“We have worked with many nations. And here in the Philippines there is a sense of readiness, always wanting to respond and always ready to protect the communities,” said Silvers.

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TAGS: green gear, handle, Hazardous chemicals, men

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