With the aim of intensifying public awareness and enhancing disaster preparedness and response capabilities, the Cebu Provincial Government successfully implemented the simultaneous nationwide earthquake drill held last July 24 at the Capitol Compound.
Close to 2,600 employees, including clients, participated in the drill.
The drill is pursuant to the President’s directive through the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) issued in 2006 directing all schools, private and public and government offices nationwide to conduct quarterly earthquake drills.
Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (PDRRMO) facilitated the drill led by Baltz Tribunalo.
Tribunalo said that today’s exercise was just basic since there were no other situations or scenarios applied.
“Basic lang ni nga exercise, wala ta naghimo ug scenario kay tan-awon nato unsay behavior sa mga employees and mga bisita kung adunay earthquake drill (This is a basic exercise. We didn’t do any scenario to see the behavior of our employees and visitors when there is an earthquake drill). We are just observing their natural behavior,” Tribunalo said.
“I went inside the Integrated Bar of the Philippines (IBP) office and I noticed no one came out of the building,” he said.
Duck, cover and hold
Sirens rang at 9 a.m. signaling that an earthquake had hit. Capitol employees gradually came out minutes after from their offices and assembled at their designated evacuation area.
Tribunalo said that the one minute alarm phase represents the earthquake event, which is the time to perform the duck-cover-hold procedure and another one minute for the evacuation.
An evacuation team is composed of three people per office and each of them is responsible for smooth flow of evacuation.
The Department or unit head oversees over-all evacuation flow while the lead man makes sure that the exits are passable and the sweeper ensures that everyone has evacuated the room safely.
The lead man and sweeper report to the unit head as soon as everyone is accounted for.
PDRRMO Staff Jules Regner observed that there were also some employees who did not cooperate right away; they had to make an effort until the employees submitted themselves to participate.
PDRRMO is aiming to have capitol employees evacuate the buildings within five minutes.
Around 900 employees at the legislative building participated and cooperated well during the drill.
It took them 3-4 minutes to evacuate the building.
Some floors of the legislative building were badly damaged during the 7.2 magnitude earthquake in October 2013.
Vice governor’s Chief of Staff Bo Sungcag, unit head of the building’s 4th floor , states that the drill went smoothly and people were very cooperative.
“Nobody hinted any resistance and they were even receptive of the drill. They were even serious that some of them covered their heads as they went out of the building, as if it was real,” Sungcag said.
Bonifacio Sarsalejo, CSU guard, said that he is glad the drill was implemented.
“This is good practice for all of us so that we will be reminded and we will know what to do when an earthquake struck,” Sarsalejo said.
Another earthquake drill is scheduled on October 15 to simulate the magnitude 7.2 earthquake that struck Bohol and Cebu in 2013.