Huwebes, Hulyo 5, 2012

Disaster council holds nationwide simultaneous quake-fire drill in public schools

The National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) held the second quarter nationwide simultaneous earthquake-fire frill in public schools on Friday, June 29.

Pasig Central Elementary School in Barangay San Nicolas, Pasig City hosted this quarter’s drill.

The activity commenced with the ceremonial sounding of the alarm which also signaled the start of a strong-magnitude earthquake.

Some 4,000 students, faculty members and non-teaching personnel of the school demonstrated the evacuation procedure recommended by the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs), particularly highlighting the “duck, cover and hold” position.

During the evacuation, the students made use of an improvised head gear to ensure protection from falling objects and debris.

After the evacuation, the Pasig City DRRMC demonstrated the response phase which includes the suppressing of fire in one of the school buildings anticipated to have been caused by the earthquake.

Other offices that compose the local disaster team also performed their actual tasks such as inspection and providing of security in the area, rescue of those trapped in the scene, providing treatment to the injured and conducting assessment to the structures’ integrity.

The activity’s over-all objectives are to increase disaster-preparedness and awareness of the public, evaluate response and rescue capabilities and improve coordination among the tasked units during an earthquake.

Department of National Defense secretary Voltaire Gazmin commended the Pasig Central Elementary School for their participation in the activity as it is one way of imparting knowledge to the students and school personnel alike on the proper earthquake evacuation procedure.

Gazmin admitted the lack of open spaces and fire exits in schools in Metro Manila, but disasters could be handled through education and preparation. He said, “Safety doesn’t happen by accident, but it happens through preparation and practice.”

Department of Education secretary Armin A. Luistro also reminded the students to always be prepared as this will ease away their fear during a disaster such as earthquake.

Phivolcs director Renato Solidum Jr. recalled the 9.0-magnitude earthquake that hit Japan in March last year and the 6.9-magnitude quake in Negros last February. Both claimed thousands of lives and destroyed properties.

Solidum said, “Expect the unexpected. With the disasters that have been experienced in nearby areas, the Philippines might yet experience another earthquake,” he added.

He said that earthquake drills in schools and offices will make the country prepared and safe in times of disasters. “After all, a safe community reflects a progressive nation,” he concluded.

The Pasig Central Elementary School, through Pasig City Mayor Robert Eusebio, is the 13th host of the earthquake-fire drill in public schools since it was first introduced in 2006.

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