WE WERE all surprised by the news that a magnitude 6.4 earthquake happened in the beautiful Batanes Islands, particularly affecting Itbayat, which has already claimed nine lives today. We all know that they hold the record of owning homes which are made up of typhoon-proof structures, thick stones arranged to become a wall, however, it wasn’t able to resist the sudden earthquake’s intensity.
I heard from a television documentary interview that in order for our structures to be earthquake resilient, we need now to follow the provisions of the National Building Code, which I totally agree. That’s why, every time you construct your building, always consult a civil engineer for that purpose. However, it doesn’t stop there. After your construction, know the basics of responding to an earthquake, especially your escape routes when such incidents occur. How? Conduct drills for earthquake, fire, or even evacuations.
Last July 21, 2019, the La Trinidad MDRMC have convinced the residents of the Little Kibungan Community to participate in an evacuation drill. The MDRRMC with the cooperation of the La Trinidad Municipal Police Station, La Trinidad Bureau of Fire Protection, La Trinidad Municipal Jail and Accredited Community Disaster Volunteers transported the community members from Little Kibungan to the newly constructed Evacuation Facility of the Province of Benguet at Wangal Provincial Engineering Office Compound. This drill was conducted with many purposes for all the participants.
Let me just mention some for your information;
For the community members and its leaders, it is a dry run of their evacuation plan. After their participation in this drill, they were able to know the exact moment when they are supposed to start packing their things, the time to leave their homes and gather in the pick-up point area, who is responsible in giving them the signals, and when will they start riding the transportation vehicle.
For the transportation cluster, it would guide them on the time to go to the pick-up point from the staging area, how is the coordination with the community members, and what type of vehicle is required to carry all the members of the Little Kibungan Community.
For the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office (MSWDO), the evacuation camp management protocol was tested of its effectivity, practicality, and usefulness. After transporting the evacuees from the pick-up point to the center, the MSWDO performs functions they are well trained, until they are released to go home.
For the Municipal Health Services Office (MHSO), their standard operating procedures were also performed and evaluated. Critical for them is the functionality of their four sub-clusters as I have discussed in my previous article, which is medical and public health, nutrition, mental health and psycho-social support, and water, sanitation and hygiene.
For the MDRRM Office, the drill serves as a monitoring and evaluation of the response capacities of the LGU. It is a way to check on what else needs to be improved from the incident management team, operations center management, and resource mobilization, which is a part of their mandate as per Republic Act 10121.
And the same purposes apply to your earthquake and fire drill. We do the duck-cover-hold technique to exercise your muscle memory on what to do while the earth is shaking. At the same time, while it is a drill, there are evaluators who takes notes of what to improve next to ensure that your memory won’t cause you trouble in an actual earthquake scenario.
Let me leave it that way for today. In my upcoming articles, I will be discussing my understanding on the effects of the duck-cover-hold technique and what effects this could do to save us from earth shaking. Just understand that Drills are important for you as a community member, and to all key players in Rescue Operations. So please participate and know all things that you need to do.