June 23, 2024

BONTOC, Mountain Province – Evaluators of the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) pointed out some lapses that people must correct in the bid to make communities earthquake-ready.
The evaluators from various government agencies observed that some participants did not properly execute the “duck, cover, and hold” technique while others continued with what they were doing and were not aware of the earthquake drill.
Some also did not perform the headcount while one school rang the bell 10 minutes earlier than the 9 a.m. siren, which confused the participants and a neighboring school.
The participants to the 1st NSED were students, faculty, and non-teaching staff of schools in the central barangays of Bontoc; staff and clients of the Cooperative Bank of Mountain Province; and clients, officials, and employees of the Bontoc local government unit and national government agencies with offices located at the Bontoc Municipal Capitol.
The schools that participated in the drill are Bontoc Central School, Saint Vincent’s School-High School Department, Bontoc Ili Primary School, Pukisan Elementary School, All Saints Mission School, Inc., Saint Vincent School-Elementary Department, Samoki Elementary School, Ut-utan Elementary School, and Mountain Province General Comprehensive High School. 
Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Johanna Padaen extended gratitude to the offices and agencies that assessed the participants, saying their recommendations will help improve the community’s earthquake preparedness. 
The workforce during the earthquake drill is composed of members of the Bontoc Emergency Response Team, personnel from the Bontoc Municipal Fire Station, Bontoc Municipal Police Station, and employees of the Bontoc LGU.  
During “shake drills”, participants are expected to properly execute the six steps necessary to do during an earthquake.
However, due to the Covid-19 pandemic, the third phase which is the evacuation phase, and the fourth phase, which is the assembly at the designated evacuation area were suspended to prevent possible spread of the virus that causes the infection. 
The participants were assessed based on their execution of the other steps not temporarily suspended. 
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 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 ground shaking stops. 
The fifth phase is the headcount wherein the head of the office shall check and make sure that are all accounted for. 
Per observation by the evaluators, most of the participants were responsive and properly executed the “duck, cover, and hold technique” and moved away from the windows, cabinet, and electrical lights.
Also, most of the participating schools and offices checked for any sustained injuries and performed the headcount. – Alpine K. Malwagay