School drills help ready young people during quakes, DepEd says

By Alexander Villafania

PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA—Equipping students with knowledge on how to save themselves and possibly others during quakes and disasters is a key aspect in disaster preparedness in schools.

In line with this, a nationwide earthquake drill was held simultaneously in all public elementary schools last June 29 as part of the National School-based Earthquake and Fire Drill activities of the Department of Education (DepEd).

The activity was a new directive by the agency in an effort to prepare students during earthquakes.

While there have been no major earthquakes in the country since July 16, 1990—when around 1,600 people were killed—DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro stressed the need to make students aware of ways  to protect themselves and others during disasters.

DepEd Order No. 48 series of 2012 directs all public and private schools to have all necessary equipment and materials to conduct earthquake and fire drills. Among these are site development plans, the creation of a school disaster management committee, identification of high risk areas within the campus, and emergency preparedness evaluation plans.

Schools must have a communication and coordination plan to link up with respective local government units and the local disaster coordination teams.

DepEd also partnered with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) to hold the nationwide emergency drills.

“Let us make sure that all bases are covered and secured so that we are not caught off guard when emergencies happen,” said Luistro.

Apart from the earthquake and fire drills, DepEd issued new directives regarding suspension of classes during inclement weather to ensure that students remain safe from heavy downpour and floods.


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