Empowering kids as junior fire marshals
Apr 30, 2014
Public school kids as young as nine years old in Batangas City are teaching their peers the basics of fire safety and inspecting their schools for fire hazards.
These young heroes are duly trained under the Junior Fire Marshal (JFM) program of the Pilipinas Shell Petroleum Corporation (PSPC), Pilipinas Shell Foundation Inc. (PSFI) and the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP)–Batangas City in cooperation with the Department of Education (DepEd)–Batangas City division and the Batangas City government.
“Children are the most vulnerable to fire, followed by senior citizens. They top fire casualties. Thus, they should know how to protect themselves and consequently, other members in their household,” explains BFP–Batangas City Fire Marshal Superintendent Romel Tradio during the 3rdJunior Fire Marshal Camp this year.
Launched in 2012, the JFM program in Batangas City is conducted year-round in three phases. Participants are selected among public school students from Grade 3 all the way to high school in communities surrounding the Shell Tabangao Refinery in Batangas City. They go through a two-day camp designed to teach them the basics of fire safety and prevention in fun, interactive learning sessions and games.
After the JFM Camp, they validate what they learned through activities in their respective schools—organizing themselves into inspection teams to check for fire hazards, which they report to the nearest fire station. Once the fire safety officer validates their findings, they formalize a request for needed action in a letter addressed to their school principal.
The third phase sees the junior fire marshals competing in the JFM Olympics, which is held by the end of the year.
Department of Interior and Local Government (DILG) Region 4A Director Josefina Castilla-Go is amazed by the extent of the fire safety program in Batangas City. “Sulit na sulit ang inyong pagdalo sa JFM (You get so much out of attending the JFM),” she tells the students.
Castilla-Go recently signed the Memorandum of Agreement on the year-round implementation of JFM activities along with Batangas City DILG Director Amor San Gabriel, PSFI Program Development Manager Jay Javier, PSPC Communications and Social Performance Manager Cesar Abaricia, Generiego Javier of DepEd–Batangas City Division, and Tradio.
She thanked all program partners for sustaining “this project on public safety which is the only one of its kind in the country.”
As a global leader in power, energy and gas technology, Shell not only seeks to continuously address energy challenges by delivering smarter products, promoting cleaner energy, and encouraging sustainable mobility. It also seeks to contribute to nation-building, starting at the very communities it operates in—advocating such causes as fire and road safety, environmental management, public health and many others.
This year’s JFM camp brings together 120 students from elementary schools San Isidro, Libjo, Calicanto, Balagtas, Batangas City East Central, Gulod, Jose C. Pastor Memorial and Alangilan; and national high schools Tabangao, Libjo, Batangas and Casa del Bambino Emmanuel Montessori.
The students learn the basics of fire safety and emergency response through fun and engaging games as well as emergency simulation exercises. They also undergo lectures on basic first aid, basic electrical connections, basic fire prevention and response, liquefied petroleum gas (LPG) safety, use of fire extinguishers, and basic search and rescue.
“This is the kind of knowledge that we hope we will never have to use,” says Abaricia. “But should the students ever find themselves in these undesirable scenarios in school or at home, they can draw on their JFM training and use their knowledge to respond appropriately.”
DILG Region 4A Director Josefina Castilla-Go (3rd from left) and PSFI Program Development Manager Jay Javier (4th from left) sign an agreement for the year-round implementation of the 3rd Junior Fire Marshal Camp in Batangas City, joined by (from left) BFP Batangas City Fire Marshal Superintendent Romel Tradio, Batangas City DILG Director Amor San Gabriel, PSPC Communications and Social Performance Manager Cesar Abaricia and Generiego Javier of DepEd–Batangas City Division.
Shell’s Junior Fire Marshal Camp in Batangas City aims to inform and empower kids—who, along with the elderly, are the most vulnerable against fire hazards and accidents