redcrossSAN MIGUEL, Leyte, Nov. 10 (PNA) – Philippine Red Cross (PRC) Chairman Richard Gordon recently sworn in more than 2,000 volunteers in this town who will serve as first responders during disasters.

The undertaking is part of PRC’s intensified Red Cross 143 volunteer program, especially after the onslaught of Typhoon Yolanda last year.

The program aims to train and capacitate more volunteers on the ground to boost community level disaster preparedness and community capacity building programs.

Accompanied by PRC Secretary General Gwendolyn Pang, Gordon personally sworn in the 2,168 Red Cross 143 volunteers.

According to Gordon, it is often difficult to reach affected areas immediately; thus, people in the communities have to be empowered to act on a crisis situation in coordination with government agencies.

Meanwhile, San Miguel Mayor Cheeryl Enrica Esperas said the target is 1,200 volunteers for their municipality, however the number rose to more than 2,000 which she said shows how significant the spirit of volunteerism is among locals.

The lady mayor said the volunteers are in the best position to respond quickly to any emergency situation in their respective villages and even in other communities.

She is positive that this will greatly enhance the disaster mitigation and response efforts of their municipality where many villages are prone to flooding.

The new 143 volunteers underwent disaster training. They are also taught self-reliance wherein they can provide first aid treatment on their own without waiting for rescuers.

Volunteers are trained to be resourceful by giving first aid treatment using alternative treatment that can usually be found at home. They would also be trained in monitoring and evaluation in times of disasters and emergencies.

Red Cross 143 is a flagship volunteer program of PRC that recruits and trains 44 volunteers in every barangay – one leader and 43 members – to serve as humanitarian arms of the Red Cross on the ground, especially in times of disasters.

They will also serve as walking blood donors to ensure adequate supply of safe and quality blood anytime the need arises. (PNA/ahlette reyes)