BAGUIO CITY – Authorities in this mountain resort advise the public especially students and school officials to be more serious in conducting earthquake drills.
Last March 21, the Department of Education conducted a city-wide earthquake drill participated by at least 60,000 students, faculty and non-teaching personnel from all the 67 public elementary and secondary schools in the city.
The drill started at about 9AM with the ringing of the sirens of schools. Students and teachers immediately conducted the “duck-cover and- hold” positions in their classrooms before proceeding to their designated evacuation areas.
Observers from the Office of Civil Defense(OCD), the Baguio City Police Office and the Baguio-Benguet Civic Action Group(BBPCAG) noticed several lapses and the unenthusiastic attitude and hesitation of some participants during the earthquake drill.
OCD-CAR Information Officer Frances Ivy Carasi said that every time there is an earthquake drill, they monitor the level of seriousness of the participants. It was observed that most of the students and even some of the teachers seem hesitant and unconcerned while participating in the earthquake drill.
Some do not know the protocols before, during and after earthquakes despite the regular drills being conducted in the city, it was noted.
Other lapses include the non-conduct of headcount after evacuating at their designated areas, absence of markers from the different classrooms and buildings leading to the evacuation sites, and absence of a command structure or designation of teachers and students at the evacuation sites which could be fatal in actual earthquake scenario.
BBPCAG official Neftali Marilla said these lapses should be addressed by the schools and the DepEd with the help of the authorities from the government and private sectors to ensure the preparedness and safety of students and faculty when the real earthquake occurs.
The observers recommended for the schools to conduct trainings of people who will be in-charge during disasters, and that conduct of regular earthquake drills should be taken more seriously.
Meanwhile, the schools and other establishments are encouraged to join the first quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill set this March 31. The quarterly conduct of NSED is pursuant to Republic Act 10121 or the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010 particularly on increasing public awareness. /PIA CAR & UB and SLU Interns#