June 21, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Participants in the first quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill need to be reoriented on the proper execution of other phases necessary in the occurrence of an earthquake. 

Based on the assessment of evaluators, most of the participants properly executed the “duck, cover, and hold technique” and moved away from the windows, cabinets, and electrical lights. Most of the participating schools and offices also checked for any sustained injuries and performed the headcount. 

However, some participants did not properly execute the “duck, cover, and hold technique”; some did not observe the buddy system; others walked at the normal pace instead of walking faster; some students were still standing when they arrived at the evacuation area; some teachers did not do the headcount of their students; and some clients continued with what they were doing. 

The participants were students, faculty, and non-teaching staff of private and public schools in the central barangays of Bontoc; and clients, officials, and employees of the local government and the national government agencies with offices located at Bontoc Municipal Capitol.

During shake drills, participants are expected to properly execute the six steps necessary to do during an earthquake.

First is the alarm such as the siren or bell, as a prearranged signal that indicates the occurrence of an earthquake or ground shaking. 

The second is the response. While the siren or bell is ongoing, everyone shall move away from windows, glass, or lights. It is also in this phase that everyone shall perform the “duck, cover, and hold” under desks, tables, or chairs and remain in this position until the shaking stops. 

Third is the evacuation phase. In this phase, once the shaking stopped, participants must wait for 10 seconds, evacuate the building using pre-determined routes, and follow the “buddy-buddy system” going to identified evacuation areas.

Fourth is the assembly in which at the designated evacuation area, students are to be grouped according to the class to which they belong.

Fifth is the headcount. The teachers should check and make sure that all students are accounted for.

The sixth phase is the evaluation of which problems encountered during the earthquake and how this can be corrected in the future occurrence of an earthquake is to be relayed to the participants. 

The lapses in the proper execution of other phases were attributed to the suspension of the third phase which is the evacuation phase, and the fourth phase in the previous years of the quarterly NSED due to the threat of Covid-19. The participants did not perform this in the previous earthquake drills, thus, they seem to have forgotten these phases. 

Observations were relayed by the evaluators to the concerned schools and offices to further improve their earthquake preparedness. – Alpine K. Malwagay