Saturday, March 5, 2011

LDS Seagulls to the Rescue in Cebu

Heaven forbid if something like an Ondoy or an earthquake like that recent one in New Zealand happens in Cebu, who do we definitely need?

Trained rescuers, of course (with emphasis on trained). Because an attempt of rescue without training can have dire consequences. And we may need plenty of these trained rescue teams.

Good thing we have the LDS Seagull Rescue International Incorporated, Cebu Chapter.

A risky mission means these rescuers are paid with large salaries, right?  ...Wrong.

The LDS Seagull Rescue Teams are composed of volunteers from all walks of life. They do not receive any regular salary. They volunteer simply to serve and help save lives which is enough joy for them.

It was founded by Brad Pitt...wait, it's Brod. Pete or Mr. Peter Negrido, a veteran climber and paramedic with Visayan roots who has successfully trained rescuers in various parts of the country including the Philippine military. He looks like a military man himself.

Mr. Negrido's advocacy is to teach search and rescue skills to ordinary persons and the ordinary military personnel who are not themselves part of any special rescue team so that if the need arises like an Ondoy-like typhoon, they can also be tapped.

Anyway, the LDS rescuers are not just composed of men as you can see in the photo. In fact a lot of the volunteers and trainees are women. Volunteers undergo several levels of training including first aid, basic life support, search and rescue in confined spaces and tall buildings, fire rescue, water and rescue and many more.

The equipment that they have is a product of donations from fellow members or volunteers, past trainees, church members (Latter Day Saints church) and support from the Cebu City government. The city government through the Cebu City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council may tap them as part of the personnel to respond in situations of disaster.

The members of LDS Seagulls are from the Church of the Latter Day Saints (thus the name LDS which also means Light Disaster Squad) but they also accept trainees practicing other religions for collaborations).

I was fortunate to be invited to witness a critical part of the training of their latest recruits last Thursday, March 3, 2011 at the LJD Dormitory, Nasipit, Talamban wherein they would learn how to maneuver in tall buildings.

Before the spidey thing, of course they had some briefings and last-minute instructions...
...and then, they did this...
and this...
and this.
I salute this people really. Just to undergo training requires courage and determination.

Mr. Negrido dared me and fellow blogger Bjorn Bernales to give these maneuvers a try and we said...hmmm...well....nah! And we proceeded to take pictures. (If blogger-mountaineer Vince was there, I think Brod. Pete would have his volunteer).

In the future, expect the LDS Seagull Rescue International Cebu Chapter to have their own base and hotline like other volunteer emergency teams. For now, they are part of Cebu City's team of responders during emergencies and disasters who are ready to lend a hand risking their lives for the sake of their brethren.

More power to LDS!

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