Regular earthquake drills pushed in Caraga

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Thursday, March 27, 2014

THE Regional Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (RDRRMC) in Caraga region is pushing for government offices, school and business establishment’s to conduct regular earthquake drill throughout the region.

“Earthquake drills will help us evaluate and gauge the efficiency of the warning dissemination and the response of the local DRRM Councils and the local government units (LGUs), as well as the level of preparedness of schools, hospitals and surrounding communities if an actual earthquake takes place,” said Liza Mazo, chair of the Caraga RDRRMC.

Mazo stressed on the importance of such drill for Caraga region.


Active faults

“Caraga region has a high risk to earthquake considering the number of active faults in the region. It is important that everybody knows the risk and how to react when this risk becomes a disaster. A culture of safety should be instilled in everyone. Regular conduct of drills will ensure that safety is institutionalized and become a lifestyle,” said Mazo.

Mazo who is also the regional director for the Office of Civil Defense in Caraga further explained the need for local legislation to make the drill a requirement for institutions especially government offices and schools.

"Right now, the regular drills have not yet been fully implemented, we hope that this would change and LGU legislations would push for the implementation. Right now only a handful of schools in Butuan City have been doing regular drills, which should be a minimum of four within a year and hopefully more," she said.

Eugene Boco, wilderness emergency medical technician, president of the United Sentinel Search and rescue team pointed out the importance of the drills in preparing and avert future disasters.

“Drills are one of the most important parts of an earthquake plan. They allow you to see how well things operate and to correct any problems. When an earthquake happens it is too late to discover that parts of your plan may not work, so constant practice and evaluation should be done,” said Boco.

Boco who has experienced several search and rescue scenario all over the country emphasized that when a person has already been trained in situations such as earthquake drills it would now be a secondary muscle reflex in moving and making the right decisions and the person would less likely panic.

Michael Leo Cane Torralba, Caraga coordinator of Samahang Magdalo, is enthusiastic to support the call to implement regular disaster related drills.

“We know that the budgets for such drills are limited so we in our group have linked up and partnered with disaster response network professionals to help disseminate, give out free trainings and conduct drills here in Caraga. The alliance is geared toward the provision of basic to advanced training to help grassroots communities to be aware and be of service to their localities,” said Torralba.

Torralba said that his group will assist and help government programs like disaster mitigation and response, most especially on areas where the government falls short in its delivery due to its lack of resources.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on March 27, 2014.

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