By Alexander Villafania
PASIG CITY, METRO MANILA – 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 since the July 16, 1990 event that killed around 1,600 people, DepEd Secretary Armin Luistro stressed that making students aware of their capabilities in protecting themselves during disasters could save their lives and of others.
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 should also have a communication and coordination plan to link up with their respective local government units and the local disaster coordination team.
DepEd also partnered with the Department of National Defense (DND) and the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council (NDRRMC) to hold 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 has also 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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