‘Safety should be a culture’

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Thursday, July 3, 2014

SAFETY should be a priority of the people, the Office of Civil Defense (OCD) in northern Mindanao said after it conducted drills and safety exercises in a public school here Wednesday morning.

“Our aim here is to develop a culture of safety. Although we are aware, but there is a need for practice of these things,” OCD regional director Ana Cañeda said.
In observance of July as the National Disaster Consciousness Month, OCD began its month-long disaster consciousness with an earthquake drill at West City Central School (WCCS) in Barangay Carmen.

The conduct of safety drills are done quarterly. Government corporations and schools are highly prioritized by OCD.


“We conduct the drills on high-density convergence areas. WCCS is one of the most populated schools in the region,” Cañeda said.

Zyra Sotaridora, Gabrielle Zapanta and Stacey Yacapin are Grade 6 students of WCCS. They shared that ever since grade four, they have been taught the basic procedures of what to do in case an earthquake occurs.

“Every year, we are taught basic stuff like where do we go when an earthquake is going to hit and what to do before, during and after the disaster,” Sotaridora said.

“We actually like it because there are really times that when the ground is shaken caused by a small earthquake, we do not know what to do. With this refresher, we get to remember those things that should not be forgotten,” Yacapin added.

Their teacher, Maria Lourdes Lopez, also said that with the unpredicted weather condition today, such drill is deemed a necessity.

“With the global warming that we have today, earthquake drills are really important because we just never know when it is going to happen. At least if it is going to happen, we are a hundred percent prepared,” Lopez said.

Grades 5 and 6 students, numbering about 1,500, were selected to participate in the drill.

Lopez added that the drills will “help the students value their life.”

Cañeda said that there are still more drills that are prepared.

“We have a roster of drills on flood, storm surge, among others. But earthquake is very much unpredicted. There is no technology out there that can predict as to when an earthquake is going to hit and where to hit. That is why our prime focus is really on the earthquake drills,” she said.

Together with WCCS, Ayala Centrio also participated in the OCD’s program. At 9:00 a.m. Wednesday tenants of the mall also underwent the earthquake drill.

Cañeda added that their next focus is on the flood contingency plan live simulation in Cagayan de Oro.

Published in the Sun.Star Cagayan de Oro newspaper on July 03, 2014.

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