by Kimberly Bacareza
In times of trouble, Barangay Anos relies on its three-wheel emergency response unit to attend to its constituents in a swift manner. Yes, the barangay uses the usual passenger tricycle as emergency response unit, which is prepared to immediately run after crime perpetrators and offenders on the run or to aid community members in accidents, such as a fire outbreak.
Anos has a population of 11,410 (as of January 2017) and a land area of 586.03 sqm. The rescue patrol tricycle make rounds every evening. The rounds start at 8 o’clock and end at around 3 a.m. to ensure that barangay households are safe and sound.
Barangay Chairperson Celerino Balasoto, Jr. deems their move as innovative, being that Anos is the only barangay in Los Baños to have such as emergency response vehicle. While other barangays have vans for disaster response, Balasoto finds the tricycle sufficient for their needs. One important advantage of such a small vehicle is its ability to fit though narrow alleys, unlike big fire trucks that cannot fit in and thus usually stay on wider roads. That the tricycle can easily traverse narrow roads means that it can run after thieves hiding in narrow side streets.
“Syempre ang tricycle madaling ibwelta at ang mga kalsada na maliit, tricycle lang ang kasya kaya yun din ang napili kong ipang-ronda sa gabi,” said Chief Tanod Carlos Ortega Jr. “Malaking tulong yang rescue vehicle na yan kasi unang una, yung mga snatcher, kung sila ay mag-sususuot sa maliliit na eskinita at least kaya nating pasukin… At kunwari may sunog dito malapit sa amin, kami agad yung reresponde,” he added.
The tricycle is equipped with two fire extinguishers and an axe.
Balasoto also said that the barangay leadership chooses to be proactive when it comes to accidents and disasters. “Bago bumagyo, ikakarga na ang lahat ng gamit doon [sa tricycle] at gagawa ng public announcement na maghanda sa bagyo, i-trim ang mga puno, maghanda ng rechargable flashlight, wag nang ggumamit ng kandila o gasera because it may cause fire, mag-imbak na ng tubig at pagkain,” he explained.
The barangay holds regular trainings for the barangay tanods in handling fire extinguishers and performing rescue drills to train muscle memory, according to Balasoto. He wants that barangay tanods are equipped with the skills, knowledge, and resources to respond to emergencies.
Balasoto proudly narrated that his team of tanods and the tricycle have been able to respond to four fire emergencies already. In fact, in a fire outbreak in San Isidro Village, the team led by Ortega was the first to respond. Ortega recalled that the said incident started from an LPG tank.
For now, Ortega said that one tricycle is enough. However, he hopes that the barangay will have additional units in the future.