On November 8th 2013, the most powerful storm ever recorded to make landfall, struck the Philippines. Four days after this devastating event, GlobalFire volunteers arrived in the hardest hit area of the Philippines, Leyte province. For 95 days the focus of GlobalFire's operations was disaster response, but as time passed, our charity's efforts shifted to capacity building.
The largest “Capacity Building Operation” (CBO) team of GlobalFire volunteers ever deployed, arrived in Tacloban City on 27 February 2014. This team of volunteers was comprised of Firefighters and Fire/Medics drawn from fire departments across Canada, and many are the finest emergency service instructors Canada has to offer.
The team’s mandate was, to conduct an accurate needs assessment of the local fire and emergency medical service (called the Bureau of Fire Protection, or BFP) and eliminate as many deficiencies as possible while concurrently providing a series of training courses. As always, GlobalFire provided this assistance for free!
GlobalFire shipped a sea container and airfreighted: fire, rescue and medical equipment that the team distributed. In addition to this, equipment was purchased, and repairs conducted, within Tacloban City and the surrounding area with funds raised through private donation.
The CBO Team’s instructor group ran 4 week’s worth of parallel courses for 85 members of the BFP who have been brought in from all across Leyte province. These BFP members then took what they learned back to their home departments and disseminated it, spreading GlobalFire’s training even further. Subjects taught during this operation included (but were not limited to): fireground operations, search and rescue, forcible entry, auto extrication, structural collapse rescue, water rescue and basic trauma life support.
GlobalFire's response to Typhoon Haiyan aided thousands not just in the immediate aftermath of the disaster, but also in the long term efforts to help rebuild the local emergency first response capabilities. This would not have been possible without the GlobalFire volunteers who put their own lives on hold to assist others.