Last Friday, I heard the radio telling news about how the Department of Education stand footed on their obligations and responsibilities for our students, and one of it is keeping them aware of school and community safety, specially when disasters strike.
So I asked my daughters, both in grade school (one is in Level 3 and my youngest in Level 1), if they their teachers’ taught them what to do when there is fire and earthquake.
Dana, the older one, happily butted in and said, “I know what to do Mommy! You stay on your chair first and hug yourself and pray to God.” She made me smile but I thought that was a bit silly, but that’s how I taught her.
Then , I turned on to my youngest. “How about you Nica, did your teacher teach you what to do if there would be a fire in your school or at home or if an earthquake struck?” “Yes Mommy! Teacher said that we will all hold hands and stay together first and go out of the room, but if earthquake comes, we hid under our table (they call it office) and pray.” Well that is well-said ain’t it? So gave her claps and commended her. I checked the internet for what could be a scene like that so they can somehow get a vision of it.
So going back to that news, last June 29, at 8:30 a.m., schools nationwide had simultaneously rung the alarm bell to alert students and teachers giving the impression of an emergency when there was actually none. The activity is part of the quarterly conduct of the National School-Based Earthquake and Fire Drill.
Education Secretary Br. Armin A. Luistro FSC has directed all public and private schools nationwide as well as all DepEd offices and attached agencies to undertake the national simultaneous emergency drills today. The directive is contained in DepEd Order No. 48, series of 2012.
Luistro joined the conduct of the simulated emergency response in the Pasig Central Elementary School at Caruncho Avenue in San Nicolas Pasig City. “The ceremonial pressing of the alarm button here marked the start of the simultaneous nationwide quarterly conduct of the school-based earthquake and fire drill.”
DepEd partners with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) in the conduct of the emergency drills.
DepEd and its partner agencies want to generate the highest level of awareness among the public on disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptations through the emergency drills. “In doing this regularly, we can assess the capacity level and response of the schools and the community in the event of disasters and other emergencies,” Luistro explained.
The Order also directs all public and private schools to prepare important requirements for the conduct of the activity which include the school site development plan, the composition of the school disaster management committee, identification of high risk areas inside the school which have been properly labeled, the emergency preparedness evaluation and contingency plan and the communication and coordination plan with the local government units and the local DRRMC.
Luistro said that all schools must have a school disaster management committee, which must be composed of an over-all coordinator, a first aid team, fire safety team, communication team, building safety inspection team, evacuation team and site security team.
“Let us make sure that all bases are covered and secured so that we are not caught off guard when emergencies happen,” said Luistro.