Agata Grabs Third Provincial Fire Safety Olympics Crown, Competes in Regionals
Agata Emergency Response Team dominates Industrial Category in fire safety competition
Literally blazing the trail at the Butuan City Sports Complex, fire and emergency responders across Agusan del Norte gathered under the scorching heat of summer for the yearly Provincial Fire Safety Olympics organized by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP). The said competition has the barangay and community category as well as the industrial category, which Agata’s 12-man Emergency Response Team (ERT) dominated for the third time.
Participating teams have endured challenging tasks during the competition: Rescue and Fire Transfer, Busted Hose and Up-the-Ladder, Ladder Raising and Rescue, and Fire Aid Relay. At the end of the day, the Agata ERT successfully defended its championship title, besting all other entrants from the province – and even earning a special award for Best in Uniform.
Prior to this, Agata was hailed national Fire Brigade Champion in the Field Safety Competition of the Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference last November 2018. To date, the spirit of volunteerism continues to fuel the team to victory.
The team then advanced to the Caraga regional level and represented Agusan del Norte in the industrial category of the first Ultimate Firefighters Competition (UFC). Along with seven other mining companies, Agata took on seven challenges: Ladder Raising and Rescue, Fire Engine Relay with Target, Fire Extinguisher Firefighting, Ladder Raising with Target, First Aid Relay, Firefighting and Rescue – and the latest addition – the Singaporean Belay Challenge.
The latter was a first for all the mining companies, and which involves a high-altitude rope system that allows the victim to be lowered to the ground with the aid of a basket stretcher.
After the 2-day competition, the Agata ERT was hailed Fire Engine Relay with Target Champion, the Most Disciplined Team and 1st Runner Up in 2 events: Ladder Raising with Target and Fire Extinguisher Firefighting.
Advocacy in action
“We deeply appreciate the commitment and dedication of the participants. Fire prevention is the greater challenge ahead. If every community can develop fire fighters, all can become a tool in reducing damages and even preventing fire incidents from happening,” said BFP Regional Director Senior Superintendent Romel C. Tradio.
The annual event was spearheaded by the BFP Caraga Regional Office, in coordination with the Agusan del Norte Fire Marshall, to promote the advocacy and awareness of Fire Prevention Month.
Provincial Fire Marshall Supt. Arvin Rex A. Afalla, DSC also shared “Agata’s ERT is such an insight (sic) to emulate for all industries in the province. It showcases advocacy. We hope to see more industries to also develop their fire volunteers in the future.”
Two female members of the Agata ERT are local residents of host Santiago Municipality: Chrizza Joy Polistico and Izette Therese Lim who both devoted their spare time to rigorous weekly training under different weather conditions.
“We believe that the opportunity to be part of the Agata ERT is a chance to show everyone how women can become an essential part of a male-dominated industry. I also appreciate our management’s trust and confidence in the capacity of female employees, especially coming from the local community.” expressed Chrizza.
Meanwhile, company staff nurse Izette shared: “I have earned greater confidence, aside from my profession, in becoming more effective and efficient during emergency situations.” Her time as staff nurse is devoted to clinic hours, routine health check-ups, and health and safety pep talks for the company’s employees and contractors.
While operating in a geo-hazard prone area, as identified by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office, Agata started the training of emergency responders in 2017 and has staged several Fire Safety Olympic competitions at its mine site.
The Agata Nickel Project is operated by TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. (TVIRD) and is certified ISO compliant. It has reached close to 16 million safe-man hours owing to its stringent measures for health and safety both in its mine site as well as in its surrounding communities.