Earthquake, tsunami drill in Davao City a success

Quake, tsunami drill in Davao City a success

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Quake, tsunami drill in Davao City a success

Friday, July 14, 2017

PARTICIPANTS of the 1st Davao Citywide Earthquake and Tsunami Shakeout Drill on Friday, July 14, rate it a success.

Central 911 Chief Emmanuel Jaldon said based on his observation Dabawenyos did well in conducting duck, cover, and hold position and evacuation during the drill.

"Naikot ko, maganda ang level of participation pero hindi pa sya ganoon ka wide-scale so we need to do this more. This is just an initial phase we are doing this for the past four years, it is somewhat a building block approach meaning we exercise this particular part then we drill another," Jaldon said.

He added that increasing the intensity of the drill is also among the things they are taking into consideration until they arrived to their desired goal.

Central 911 Training Officer Lyndon Ancajas said that they have met their targets in Friday's drill.

"On time ta, we are expecting to start the briefing at 11 am so we hit the target. Although hindi pa lahat ng barangays mag-input everything is moving fast, and majority has terminated their exercise (around 11) and only the city government is ongoing," he said.

Davao City government offices successfully established makeshift agency offices at the Crocodile Park grounds as part of their immediate measures to preserve the government operations in participation to the drill.

Tents of the office of the City Mayor, City Health Office, Public Safety and Security Command Center, Central 911, City Agriculturist Office, City Treasurer's Office, City Environment and Natural Resources Office were immediately established within one after sirens rang the signal for the drill.

"This is for the purpose of the drill, to get the feel lang alam nila na nandito sila, ito yung reporting procedures and later on operational aspects na rin natin ang ma-touch hinay-hinay lang," Jaldon said.

Jaldon said that this is the first time that the government offices joined the evacuation as they put to test the Davao City Evacuation and Re-entry Plan.

"It is a live plan and from time to time in every exercise we do calibration and changes if needed," he said.

Prior to the establishment of alternate offices, sirens were triggered all over the city and evacuation for the 7.2 magnitude earthquake scenario and evacuation were conducted by the communities, schools, establishments, institutions, and offices both private and the government for the drill.

The alternate site of operations "X-Ray Alpha" was launched within the grounds of Crocodile Park immediately around 15 minutes after the first evacuation siren.

"So ideally, merong initial set up na, but it will be fully functional normally within 72 hours," he said.

Jaldon said that among the activities conducted for the drill is the initial conduct of activities that involves rapid assessment to get the picture of the situational build up.

In the established alternate center, Jaldon together with the different heads of offices were seen huddled together to look into the photos taken from a drone which was deployed to get aerial views of the city.

Communication systems were also established in the alternate site and a mass casualty drill and surprise delivery of mock patients to six hospitals within the city was also done.

Around 100 mass casualties were involved and in the later part of the drill these casualties were given medical attention by responders.

Ferdinand Pantinople, Head of Security of City Hall, said that Friday's shakeout exercise was better than last month's nationwide earthquake drill.

"Compared to last June 29's earthquake drill, there was a big difference because the drill (yesterday) was well executed. It's because every employee, and even the clients, participated well... They performed very well in regards of the 'duck, cover, and hold' and maintained it until they arrived in our primary evacuation center," he said.

"Siguro in a scale of 10 nandyan tayo sa mga 8 (In a scale of 10, we're around 8)," he added.

Employees from the surrounding establishments around the City Hall also took part in the drill.

Unitop supervisor Marife Fernando said all of the employees of Unitop participated in the exercise.

"When the siren went off, we all went outside and did the 'duck, cover, and hold'. Then we followed the crowd and positioned ourselves at the park," Fernando said.

She said they learned a lot from the drill and will use what they learned in case the real disaster occurs.

Fernando added that she believes that the drill accomplished what it was meant to do.

Although the majority of Dabawenyos participated in the shakeout, some, still, did not take part.

Pantinople said, "Although the others were aware (of the drill), they did not execute because no one is managing them."

"But if that was a real earthquake, (I know) they'll also do it," He continued.

The citywide drill lasted about 35 minutes and finished with the wavering tone alarm signaling the end of the exercise.

Published in the SunStar Davao newspaper on July 15, 2017.

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