[13 August 2014] Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has organized a short training program for the Department of Education (DepEd) on the use of the mobile phone as a tool for disaster preparedness in line with efforts to promote safety during extreme weather events and emergencies.
Wireless leader Smart Communications, Inc. (Smart) has organized a short training program for the Department of Education (DepEd) on the use of the mobile phone as a tool for disaster preparedness in line with efforts to promote safety during extreme weather events and emergencies.
Personnel from the DepEd’s Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (DRRMO) joined the half-day training on how to use the Batingaw mobile application, which can be used as a tool to help reduce and mitigate the disastrous effects of natural and man-made hazards to vulnerable communities, including schools.
Batingaw, a Tagalog word for “siren”, is a pro-active, comprehensive and rational disaster management mobile application adopted by the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) for their nationwide disaster management efforts. This was co-developed by Smart and tech start-up Tudlo Innovation Solutions, Inc.
“The pervasive use of the mobile phone has made it an ideal communications tool before, during, and after disasters. With the increasing vulnerability of the country to extreme weather events and other hazards brought on by climate change, we at Smart continue to work on utilizing mobile technologies for disaster preparedness,” said Ramon R. Isberto, head of Public Affairs at Smart.
“Batingaw makes any smartphone a valuable lifeline during emergencies and disasters. It provides basic information on how to help reduce one’s vulnerability during disasters,” added Isberto.
The mobile app can be used to give government agencies, organizations, and individuals, immediate access to disaster warnings, advisories, location data, and disaster mappings. It features step-by-step instructions that can guide users to safety during disasters. The app also enables users to contribute information to emergency agencies more easily and quickly.
During the half-day training, DepEd’s DRRMO personnel were taught how to optimize Batingaw’s features. Batingaw may be downloaded for free from the App Store (for iOS devices) and Google Play Store (for Android devices).
“There was warm reception from the DepEd on the short course on Batingaw. In fact, the DRRMO wants to cascade this to the schools as part of the government’s efforts to make schools less vulnerable during disasters,” said Darwin Flores, department head for community partnerships at Smart.
“They especially liked the offline features of the app such as the siren, strobe light, flashlight, and safety tips,” added Flores.
This is the latest in a series of initiatives that Smart and DepEd have been working on to reduce the disruptive impact of disasters on education. The series of disasters have substantially disrupted education in the country, with classes suspended for months in areas severely affected by typhoons.
Under the partnership, Smart collaborates with the DepEd DRRMO in beefing up the agency’s capability to deal with disasters. Smart will support the agency in organizing trainings as well as developing and producing Information, Education and Communications (IEC) materials on disaster reduction and climate change adaptation.
At the same time, Smart is providing DepEd with information and communications technology (ICT) support that includes mobile phones, media tablets, pocket Wifi, and load provision during emergencies and disasters.
As part of the communications support, Smart has made available to DepEd DRRMO the Infoboard service. The Smart Infoboard is a web-based solution that offers various SMS facilities with different functions and capabilities catering to the needs of a specific community. This has proven to be a very useful information, communications and warning tool for high-risk communities during disasters.
As part of its corporate social responsibility (CSR) program, Smart has been promoting the culture of preparedness with its partner-communities, including schools.