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Nat’l earthquake drill promotes awareness amid pandemic

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The first quarter national simultaneous earthquake drill (NSED) done virtually on Thursday afternoon was able to sustain public awareness on “duck, cover and hold” scenario, according to the Office of the Civil Defense (OCD) in Iloilo City.

EARTHQUAKE DRILL. Faculty and staff of Capiz State University in Roxas City practice duck, cover and hold drills during the first quarter national simultaneous earthquake drill on Thursday (March 11, 2021). The university also held evacuation and fire scenarios. (Photo courtesy of Arnel Van Aleligay/CapSU)

Ma. Aletha Nogra, chief of the OCD Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Division, said the drill is an information and education campaign to ensure individual awareness in case of an earthquake and its hazards.

“Amid the ongoing pandemic, the movement is limited for us to abide by the minimum health standards, especially safe physical distancing,” she said in a phone interview on March 12, 2021.

“Awareness is just the first step, especially the duck, cover and hold response. What follows will be community awareness, institutional resilience and structural resilience,” she added.

There were institutions in the region that went beyond the duck, cover and hold activity. They also conducted evacuation drills while observing minimum public health standards such as wearing of masks and face shields.

“Nine campuses of Capiz State University (CapSU) conducted earthquake evacuation drills with scenarios involving fire in time for the Fire Prevention Month,” she said.

CapSU medical, dental and disability doctors, nurses and personnel were also present to make sure minimum health measures were followed. They wore personal protective equipment.

“Today is a very, very challenging time but they set their objectives on how to respond while following minimum public health standards,” she said.

The earthquake drill was the third since the health pandemic hit the country one year ago. (Perla Lena, PNA)

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