Social Work

Rescue 926: Toughening up to Respond to Disasters

rescue 926

Typhoons in the Philippines is an annual event. Here’s how a rescue group responds to disasters.

Every year, it has been part of the Filipino consciousness calendar to anticipate the coming of roof-blowing typhoons and waist-level floods during the later half of the year.

The Start of My Volunteering

The first major typhoon I remembered was Reming, back when I was in high school. Donation drives then were on fire, and people were volunteering back and forth. In college, my best friend’s mom would rally us girls to the groceries and clear the aisles of canned goods, noodles and bottled water to supply relief operations.

This has since influenced a mindset of volunteering and responding quickly to meet the needs of others in times of need. What’s amazing with all of this was, in the yearly typhoons I witnessed, it’s solidarity that I remember more than the disaster.

rescue 926

Prevent, Not Just Cure

And there are a lot of disasters, so many that I got tired of merely collecting money from friends, buying groceries and repacking them into bags for victims. I’m tired of relying in social media to see the scope of the disaster and only hope from afar for things to get better. And especially when I came to Tacloban months after the devastation, I realized I wanted to be there personally to provide care, and possibly, grieve and hope with the victims.

I can’t say this volunteerism sprung from guilt feelings. I never considered myself particularly selfless (quite the opposite, in fact). But it’s a sense of helplessness that pushes me. Or, more specifically, of wanting so badly to help but being unable to. Of being not equipped enough to.

rescue 926

Rescue 926: We’re Not Helpless Anymore

This year, Josh and I signed up for Rescue 926 team Batch 15-01 — a newcomer in the rescue industry that bagged the champion title during the first Rescue Marathon in the country. R926 is a volunteer group established in response to Typhoon Ondoy. Prior to becoming officially part of the team, we first had to undergo a back-breaking Commitment Phase that tested our physical and mental capacity.

Within four weekends, Batch 15-01 has gotten used to carrying 30-pound bags while running around the uphill and downhill terrain of Antipolo, Rizal, attempting to beat our previous time. We have crawled on the ground carrying the same weight, without using our limbs and emerging muddied and sometimes smelling of poop.

rescue 926

Rigorous Skills Training

We gained valuable skills in rescue such as land navigation, the use of lensatic compasses, shooting azimuths and learning about three norths. We tied all sorts of useful knots for rope rescue and have carried our own weight within those same ropes.

Most difficult of all, we endured week after week of carrying 30 pounds coupled with a person lying on a stretcher, at one time, for more than an hour. No matter if our arms were on the verge of snapping from our shoulder sockets.

rescue 926

Making it to the Team!

The experience really tested our willpower and physical prowess. It tested our commitment too, given that we can always choose not to show up the next week. It helped us get to know our batchmates’ strengths and gain their trust. It made us experience the hardships we might face during actual rescue, when times get unpredictable and rough.

In the end, Batch 15-01 survived and are now officially part of the Rescue 926 Team! We will be undergoing basic life support training within the next few weeks (first aid, CPR, to name a few). In the future, we will also be training for boat rescue, swift water and wilderness rescue, among others.

rescue 926

Even though the Commitment Phase ate up a lot of my time and physical strength, I can honestly say it’s all worth it. We’ve all been in that situation when we were in need and a stranger helped us. I wanted to be that kind of stranger. In Rescue 926’s words, “That Others May Live”.

Want to join or support the rescue team? Find the details below:

Rescue 926

9530B Taguig St., Barangay Valenzuela, Makati
Contact No.: 0919 6603333
E-mail address: recruitment.rescue926@gmail.com
Facebook: http://fb.com/rescue926

Photo Credits: Fitz Borlongan, Rescue 926 Facebook Page, Ray Antonio and Denise Pena

  • Inspired? Read more essays about being a Volunteer
  • Subscribe to get exclusive stories and travel itineraries
  • You can also read more stories about Wanderlust
Share

You Might Also Like

49 Comments

  • Reply
    Rescue 926 Graduation — Toughening up to Respond to Disasters | Team 926
    August 13, 2015 at 10:35 AM

    […] Rescue 926 Graduation — Toughening up to Respond to Disasters. […]

  • Reply
    WengMan Cup 2015 — Champions at Last | FOLLOWYOUROAD
    July 31, 2015 at 8:14 PM

    […] knowledge of the game, I did not set myself up to improve. Add that to busy schedules of trips and rescue training, and I get almost no weekend training. So, as my teammates amped up their skills, I am left with […]

  • Reply
    Dianne
    March 15, 2015 at 9:31 PM

    Hi! How long was the initiation phase? Thanks!

  • Reply
    John Aries Tudla
    February 26, 2015 at 7:57 PM

    Great, I love your dedication. Naalala ko tuloy yung college days ko when I used to volunteer in various organizations. Cheers to the modern heroes of this country! 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:21 AM

      Let’s do more of those while we’re young and physically fit 🙂

  • Reply
    Migs&Alaine (@migsandalaine)
    February 25, 2015 at 6:45 PM

    Wow. This is interesting. I’ve only tried Red Cross Training but this one looks more intense. Would love to try this out.This is very helpful. Every household should have at least one member who is trained to do such things in case of calamities.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:23 AM

      I’ve always had the frustration of undergoing Red Cross Training back in college. I’m glad I fulfilled it this time with R926 🙂 I agree, at least first aid should be trained in every school and household

  • Reply
    Fajar
    February 25, 2015 at 8:19 AM

    Absolutely not easy to follow activities such as Rescue 926, It’s necessary strong capabilities and “clean heart” as well. Good for you, God bless you and team.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:25 AM

      True. It’s the motivation to serve that will fuel you to push beyond limits — physically and emotionally 🙂

  • Reply
    slickmaster
    February 25, 2015 at 8:06 AM

    Well, as the saying goes, “Tough times don’t last. Tough guys (people) do.”

    It’s been really a roller-coaster grind for one to experience one. I commend you for those deeds of saving endangered lives during Ondoy and its aftermath.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:27 AM

      I hope I can experience rescue firsthand. That is, after the rest of the trainings. This is just the first step 🙂

  • Reply
    Doctor Eamer
    February 23, 2015 at 3:51 PM

    God bless your team! Part din ako ng emergency responders team sa amin.hehe 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:33 AM

      That’s great! I never thought these this exist before R926. I leave it to the government most of the time. Haha.

  • Reply
    florfullo0714
    February 22, 2015 at 6:45 AM

    Truly worthy time well spent. Having adventures and new learning to help and rescue others in times of calamity is one good thing to feel fulfilled. Keep it up 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:34 AM

      Thank you! It’s definitely a great adventure for me 🙂

  • Reply
    yvonnembertoldo
    February 21, 2015 at 6:30 AM

    Wow I admire your willingness, strength and determination to be a person that is certified in helping other people in the scariest situations. Amazing. Goodluck on your next challenges 🙂

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:35 AM

      Thank you! There are lots to be inspired about in this team 🙂

  • Reply
    Peachy @ The Peach Kitchen
    February 20, 2015 at 6:10 AM

    WOW! I admire you for joining and for undergoing the training! Kudos to you and your team.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:36 AM

      Thank you! There are more difficult trainings to come. I’m excited 🙂

  • Reply
    len
    February 19, 2015 at 11:46 PM

    great post! this is physically challenging and very inspiring to inform the readers about our preparedness for the disasters.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:37 AM

      Thank you! I just wish there are more attention towards disaster-preparedness in our country 🙂

  • Reply
    Janice
    February 19, 2015 at 9:47 PM

    What you and your team are doing are great. Bless you guys! There should be more of you in the world.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:38 AM

      Thank you! I think civilians should also know that they can be part of rescue volunteer groups. I hope this post accomplished communicating that 🙂

  • Reply
    Angelo The Explorer
    February 19, 2015 at 6:36 PM

    You are very lucky to be part of this group. I wish I could do something like this in the future. Congratulations for making it! 😉

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:41 AM

      Try doing it too! It’s a commitment though. 🙂

  • Reply
    Mommy Levy
    February 19, 2015 at 5:41 PM

    WOW! Ang galing mo (nyo)!!! I hope that more people will enroll in this kind of training program.

  • Reply
    milastolemyheart
    February 19, 2015 at 5:03 PM

    a great way to spend your quality time > learn something useful to improve yourself and help other!

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:56 AM

      Agree 🙂 I’m definitely excited to learn about first aid and CPR, which is up next 🙂

  • Reply
    Earth Rullan
    February 19, 2015 at 4:35 PM

    This is a nice! I am also looking forward to join something like this 🙂

  • Reply
    rainbowjournal
    February 19, 2015 at 12:54 PM

    Wow! Congratulations and good luck on your basic life support training!

  • Reply
    Jojo Vito
    February 19, 2015 at 12:06 AM

    great!!! but I suppose this is physically challenging.Your dedication is commendable:)

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 11:04 AM

      It is physically challenging esp that it’s an initiation sort of phase 🙂

  • Reply
    franckxethee
    February 18, 2015 at 11:22 PM

    The commitment phase is really tough with the load you are carrying but it’s gonna keep you strong when you do actual rescues.

  • Reply
    Fully Housewifed
    February 18, 2015 at 9:29 PM

    Oh wow, your adventurous spirit is really admirable. And to see you channel it to assist others…I wish I had been a lot like you when I was your age.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 11:03 AM

      More young people should try it, perhaps you can encourage your kids to volunteer too someday 🙂

  • Reply
    Rebecca Wong
    February 18, 2015 at 9:04 PM

    I admire your dedication. Keep up the good work, and hope more people would join you in this.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      Thank you! Hope you can support R926 🙂

  • Reply
    Manu Kalia
    February 18, 2015 at 9:03 PM

    I think this is a must in teenager. This kind of workshop is very helpful. Thank you for sharing

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 11:02 AM

      Me too. There are CATs and ROTCs for high school and college students in the Philippines. Hope more people get into that.

  • Reply
    franckxethee
    February 18, 2015 at 4:26 PM

    You’re definitely tougher after the rescue 926. It’s also gonna keep you ready when disaster strikes.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 11:01 AM

      Indeed. One prepares for the battle before the battle, after all 🙂

  • Reply
    Mitch Ryan
    February 17, 2015 at 3:38 PM

    Wow, I admire your dedication. I am impress and definitely encouraging you and your team to continue.

  • Reply
    joyfelizardo
    February 17, 2015 at 3:26 PM

    Good for you! I want to enroll m kids there as well. in the mean time, when a calamity arises, I know who I’m going to call.

    • Reply
      Samantha C.
      March 2, 2015 at 10:59 AM

      Boy/Girl Scouts would be great for kids 🙂

    Start a conversation

    %d bloggers like this: