What's Eating Jdavies?

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Emergency Response Time
and Disaster Recovery in the Philippines

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Saturday, 12th of September.

I was on my usual dose of Saturday chess with neighbors and with white pieces on my side I opened with a rare King's gambit. Knowing it has been years since anyone used that rare opening, I am cetain opening my King's Side for the rook will give me a good win should it be accepted. While my opponent readily agreed to take the king side bishop pawn, I was ready with my knight in front of it.
As I lay it to block the black pawn's advance, there was a loud bang! and the lights went out.
I had to scream "Punyeta"! knowing how rare a King's Gambit is accepted.

It turns out the transformer from the nearest block overloaded, and there is fire in the electric post. The rubber coating of the cables is crawling with fire, and with such stark darkness, a small 5-inch yellow of any fire looks bigger than it seems.

It was my first taste of urban chaos. I never thought the streets will be flooded with so many people. I almost counted hundreds. This made me think twice about the Pinoy's emergency response time, and what systems were in place for disasters. See, I have seen several fires already, once when I was six, I experience how our family got ready for evacuation. To this date, I have kept that in my head. When there was a shooting near my place, when an NBI crackdown on Jueteng was made, I remember how and what our family did to safeguard each and everyone. I suppose that should be standard in any family - to discuss what to do in event of fires, or any similar emergencies.

I am certain though that there are Filipino families, big and small, rich and poor who have not thought of it or really talked about it seriously. We have not been quick to adapt safety regulations to the letter, nor do we have any sense of safety in most things we do. What is a weekend or just a day for instance of teaching a kid how to use a fire extinguisher, or what to do in case of an earthquake, or how to identify if water should be used on the fire or not. These are small things but they can save lives.

On the community level, I've seen how volunteer fire brigades were at work in 3 fires in our very small town in Laguna. I've seen how at the same time traffic is rerouted quite easily, and how things are done very orderly. Well, that old town, is small and manageable of course, besides the poblacion barangays there (if not all) have small water pump units ready for small fires. But this one in Mandaluyong - Incidentally near the house of a government official? There was not any big fire, but I clocked the Fire Truck coming to the scene 15 minutes after the fire WAS extinguised.

I will not judge on the ciscumstances, perhaps it was because they were told that the little fire was under control on the radio... or something similar --- I will not speculate. Still, I thought they would have come sooner --- or a least the barangay has a small unit ready to extinguish it. Even as the water did extinguish the fire - I have to say kudos to the citizens who did their best to stop it. Remember - it being an electric fire water should not have been used - it could have short circuited the "other' transformer or something crazy like that. But still, 15 minutes after the fire was extinguised? It would have been worse. Not very good. See my next posts for other observations.


posted by Jdavies @ 9/13/2004,

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The Author

J.Davies

Jdavies lives in Quezon City, Philippines and has been blogging since 2002. A brand manager in a leading technology company and a freelance new media/web strategy consultant, he has refocused his blogging from personal, political & sociological observations, to marketing-related efforts and Internet trends that are relevant to his career and branding advocacies.


About This Blog

This blog is a depot of thoughts and observations on marketing trends which remain personally relevant to the Author as far as his marketing career is concerned. Having evolved from the personal blog of Jdavies, much of the earlier work contained herein are laced with personal speculation, political views, and similar advocacies. These posts are being kept for posterity's sake and for no other reason. No effort is being made to claim that the author will not contradict himself from his previous positions or that such advocacies are absolute.

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