March 5, 2024

Vice President and Education Secretary Sara Duterte has mandated all schools to conduct unannounce earthquake and fire drills.
In a department order, Duterte said all public schools are required to conduct unannounced earthquake and fire drills every first and third week of every month.
The drills and simulation exercises are preventive measures that familiarize escape routes and reinforce proper actions in the occurrence of a calamity.
“Frequent practice of these drills and exercises would eventually turn these actions into automatic reflexes that would manifest during an actual calamity,” Duterte stated.
Duterte has directed all school heads, with the assistance of the school disaster risk and reduction management coordinators, who shall lead the planning, implementation, and regular monitoring of these drills in their respective schools.
The drills should ensure that all learners are properly guided on what should be done during and after an earthquake or fire incidences in schools.
Also, all schools in the National Capital Region, Rizal, Cavite, Laguna, and Bulacan shall create a separate and specific disaster plan for an earthquake with intensity seven or higher. The plan shall specifically lay down the response in the event involving mass casualties of learners and personnel.
Private schools, community learning centers, and state or local universities and colleges may choose to adopt the order as a basis in the conduct of their own earthquake and fire drills for students.
The order is in line with the Republic Act 10121, or the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Act of 2010, which promotes the development of capacities in disaster management at the individual, organizational, and institutional levels.
It is also aligned with DepEd’s commitment of ensuring the safety and well-being of its learners and school personnel.
The Philippines is located in the Pacific Ring of Fire which is prone to natural disasters and earthquakes. – Ofelia C. Empian