IN the late-1980s and early-1990s, Burlington became a byword among young Filipinos because of the brand’s association with sports.
Hence, when the company reached its 50th year, Burlington Industries Philippines Inc. General Manager Ruddy Tan decided to involve millennials in its golden celebration. Tan decided to search for an organization that allows young people to have a role in a meaningful undertaking.
They found the Caloocan East Fire and Rescue Volunteer Inc. (Cefrvi) an ideal beneficiary as, Tan said, the group promotes volunteerism among millennials and their younger counterparts.
“We were looking for non-governmental organizations when an employee approached us for assistance to the Caloocan fire brigade of which he’s a member,” Tan told the BusinessMirror.
“We selected the group [Cefrvi] because it encourages civic involvement, especially among the millennials,” he said. “Thus, it was the start of a fruitful partnership.”
Tan added the company realized the value and importance of Cefrvi’s work, not only in the community but in other areas as well, when the need arises.
“We acknowledge their importance in our daily lives,” he added.
Peter John Dimal, 32, and Alan Gokioco, 37, lead the volunteers of the Cefrvi. The volunteering started among the group when one of their friends, a full-time fireman, urged Dimal and Gokioco to volunteer.
To prepare them for job, Dimal and other volunteers had to undergo training once a week for one month.
So far, 20 of the 30 volunteers remain active volunteers, according to Dimal, who explained that others became inactive because of their work.
“Distribution of duties is a constant challenge because a lot of the volunteers have full-time jobs,” he added.
Aware of this predicament, Gokioco said they require the volunteers to spend their free time at the Cefrvi headquarters. Firefighting is a tough job, as some volunteers stay late after work to ensure there is a stand-by force in case fire breaks out at night.
Based on their experiences, fires usually break out in slums. They recommend that more awareness programs must be conducted in these areas to teach the residents in these areas the basic ways to prevent fires.
Dimal said crowd control remains a big challenge for volunteers and firefighters alike.
He said they experienced being harassed by people who wanted their houses and properties saved first. Dimal said these people are ignorant of the fact that there is a plan in fire control. In these delicate situations, the veteran firemen act as the leaders of the younger and volunteer group.
One of their most memorable experiences was the Kentex factory fire on May 13, 2015. That proved to be a tough undertaking because it involved saving trapped workers, Dimal said.
Right now, Gokioco said they are satisfied with the size of the group, as it is easier to manage.
Dimal said the millennial volunteers have a high degree of satisfaction because they know their effort benefits the community.
Image credits: Rizal Raoul S. Reyes