Enhanced firefighting and rescue skills make Agata a safer place
The road to reaching almost 17 million safe man hours has been an inspiring journey for the Agata organization – more so for its Emergency Response Team, which has been at the forefront of both regional and national safety competitions, and bagging victories under the company’s banner in recent years.
And to further underscore safety and health awareness as an attribute among all its employees, the company rolled-out the second Agata Safety Olympics among office and field personnel as well as contractors and on-the-job trainees from partner Mindanao State University who pitted their skills against each other to win top honors at the homegrown competition.
Spirit of competition
Responders from all departments and stages of mining operations underwent daily training conducted by ERT members for almost the entire month leading-up to the event:
Fire Extinguishment – A male and a female firefighter run a 20-meter dash while carrying a three-kilogram fire extinguisher to put out two petrol-based fire spots in the shortest time possible.
Bucket Relay – A team member shoots water into a target drum barrel from an elevated position while other firefighters run back and forth while carrying buckets of water across a 10-meter distance from the source to the elevated post.
Ladder-Raising with Target – Eight responders erect a ladder which their nozzleman climbs and from which he sprays three targets on the ground.
First Aid Relay – Eight responders must perform different first aid procedures in different stations and carry “victims” to the ambulance in the shortest time possible.
Fire Fighting and Rescue – The latest addition involves a seven-man team to put out a fire using a firetruck and water hose as well as execute a rescue extraction of a fire victim. Each team must break through a wall using an axe then carry the “victim” to a safe location.
Agata’s league of volunteer ERT members is drawn from participants of the Safety Olympics.
These aspirants are further trained and screened for provincial, regional and national competitions. The company’s initiative to train more local elite responders also serves as the first line of defense of its vulnerable communities, which are prone to floods, forest fires and typhoons.
To date, Agata trained over 500 new rescuers who comprise the eight Community ERTs in the area. These teams are frontliners during rescue and assistance operations in times of natural calamities and disasters. Meantime, the Agata Safety Olympics has become one of its newest and most highly-participated yearly activities in its mine site.
“It’s really inspiring that Agata continues what it has started in terms of developing more responders in the communities,” exclaimed Tubay Fire Marshall Guillermo P. Abarquez as he observed the safety drills during the event. These drills were taken from the Bureau of Fire Protection’s (BFP) Fire Olympics, which is conducted annually every Fire Prevention Month.
“This activity could spark more companies or establishments to conduct such competitions and increase awareness and skills,” he added.
“Agata’s support is really motivating – also its personnel’s dedication throughout the series of challenges,” said Basic Life Support (BLS) Instructor Armando Omac of the Philippine National Red Cross. He was joined by colleague Roland P. Galano in conducting BLS and Advance First Aid Training in Agata.
Prior to the event, the Agata ERT also taught basic firefighting and rescue to its current roster of OJTs – mining engineering students from the University of the Philippines, Caraga State University, Mindanao State University (Zamboanga) and the University of Southern Philippines. It likewise included Geology students from Adamson University and Environmental Science students from MSU-Iligan.
Agata Mining Ventures Inc. is a joint nickel laterite joint venture project of TVI Resource Development Philippines Inc. and MRL Nickel Philippines Inc. Its acclaimed ERT currently holds the National Fire Brigade Championship Title from the Field Safety Completion of the last Annual National Mine Safety and Environment Conference.
It is also a three-year championship title holder of the BFP’s Provincial Fire Olympics in Agusan del Norte. On the regional level, Agata likewise cornered one championship and four minor awards from the first Ultimate Firefighting Challenge of BFP Caraga.
The company is presently geared towards expanding its current ISO 14001:2015 Environmental Management System Certification to two ISO accreditations: Occupational Health and Safety Management System, and Quality Management System.