Bontoc’s earthquake drill preparedness Bontoc continues to improve

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Bontoc, Mountain Province – There has been an improvement in the preparedness of the employees, officials, and clients of the Bontoc Local Government Unit (LGU) and the national government agencies with offices located at Bontoc Municipal Capitol and Cooperative Bank of Mountain Province during an earthquake.

This was evident from the response of the 254 individuals who participated in the 4th Quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) at 9:00 in the morning of November 11, 2021.

During “shake drills”, participants are expected to properly execute the six steps necessary to do during an earthquake. However, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, the third phase which is the evacuation phase, and the fourth phase (assembly at the designated evacuation area) were suspended to prevent possible exposure to the virus.

With this, the participants were assessed based on their execution of the other steps not temporarily suspended.

First is the alarm such as the siren or bell, as a prearranged signal that indicates the occurrence of an earthquake or ground shaking.

The second is the response. While the siren or bell is ongoing, everyone shall move away from windows, glass, or lights. It is also in this phase that everyone shall perform the “duck, cover, and hold” under desks, tables, or chairs and remain in this position until the ground shaking stops.

The fifth phase is the headcount wherein the head of the office shall check and make sure that employees and clients are all accounted for.

Per observation by the evaluators, some employees properly executed the “duck, cover, and hold technique” and moved away from the windows, cabinet, and electrical lights. Also, upon the first sound of the siren, some employees informed their clients of the drill and advised them to participate.

However, there are some participants, most clients who did not properly execute the “duck, cover, and hold technique” and some offices did not perform the headcount.

Nevertheless, the evaluators mentioned that the earthquake preparedness of the participants is far better compared to the previous earthquake drill and most clients participated.

The participants were informed of their performance after the drill, including the positive feedback and recommendations for improvements by the evaluators.

Bontoc Mayor Franklin Odsey mentioned that the conduct of quarterly earthquake drills is necessary as it intensifies readiness, awareness, and responsiveness of the public. He enjoined the cooperation of all sectors to take the activity seriously.

Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Officer Johanna Padaen extended her gratitude to all the offices and agencies that assessed the participants stressing that their recommendations are of great help to improve the earthquake preparedness of the community.

The workforce during the earthquake drill are personnel from the Bontoc Municipal Fire Station, Bontoc Municipal Police Station (MPS), Bureau of Jail Management and Penology (BJMP), and some employees of the Bontoc LGU.

The NSED is a regular activity spearheaded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) which is cascaded down to local DRRMs to promote a culture of safety awareness and foresight among all people. // Alpine L. Killa, Bontoc LGU

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