Pinoy first responders honored by American Red Cross

GREENWICH, Conn. – From being first aid providers for local Pinoy basketball leagues, a group of Filipinos in Connecticut have turned into American Red Cross first responders for calamities and disasters on the East Coast.

When Hurricane Irene pummelled the East Coast nearly four years ago, members of the Filipino Amateur League in Connecticut or FALConn became part of a team of first responders.

They are known today as Falconn Injury Response and Safety Team (FIRST) and they are also this year’s recipient of the American Red Cross’ “Good Neighbor Award” – an award presented to an individual or organization making significant humanitarian contribution in support of the American Red Cross chapter.

FALConn First Responder Ariel Magtibay said, “Additionally some of us had trainings on disaster, so during Hurricane Sandy and Hurricane Irene they asked our group again to man their shelters.”

American Red Cross instructor Jesse Streeter is teaching them how to recognize and respond to an emergency as quickly as possible.

Streeter said, “Emergencies happen without a moment’s notice, and if you don’t know anything to do, that person can actually die because you don’t know what to do. So it’s very important for everyone to know these skills.”

Magtibay said, “We need to be involved so we can help them more. We can help the Red Cross to communicate more sa mga Pilipinos na masasalanta ng disaster na to and at the same time it’s like rendering service to the community.”

Magtibay says first responders can also serve as role models for other members of the community, that is, by leading by example to encourage emergency preparedness.

You can contact Don Tagala at for more information.

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