By Chito Chavez
Citing its importance, Quezon City Mayor Joy Belmonte has stressed that beefing up the capability of Disaster Risk Reduction and Management (DRRM) Office is absolutely a prime priority in order for rescue groups to respond to emergency cases at the soonest time possible.
Belmonte specifically mentioned the importance of conducting routine earthquake drills citing the frequency of tremors recently.
To recall that on Thursday Belmonte led city hall personnel in the nationwide earthquake drill at the La Mesa Treatment Plant.
“It doesn’t hurt to always be prepared,” said Belmonte.
Belmonte has emphasized the importance of exploring different scenarios and contexts during earthquake drills to prepare stakeholders for any eventuality.
She noted that this should be a cause of concern since there seems to be an earthquake every two weeks.
“In every scenario, in every context, in every social class, everybody must be prepared,” Belmonte said.
DRRM chief Mike Marasigan, for his part, said Quezon City has been conducting earthquake drills five times a year, four as part of DRRM’s scheduled quarterly drills and the annual shake drill spearheaded by the Metro Manila Development Authority (MMDA).
“There have been large improvements in the execution of the earthquake drill, the citizens take it more seriously by following ‘duck, cover, and hold, and abiding by the building’s evacuation plan. Drills also develop muscle memory on what to do during an earthquake,” Marasigan said.
During the recent drill, participants formulated different possible scenarios that could occur during an earthquake and outlined the ideal contingency plan and protocol for each and every situation.
It included clearing of road debris, setting up of medical teams, transportation of victims to hospitals, use of ladder trucks, execution of protocols to prevent looting and setting up of evacuation tents among others.
In another scenario, Maynilad has executed its contingency plan in case of a chlorine leak in La Mesa Dam that could contaminate the water supply of Quezon City residents.
“We also have protocols on how to disseminate information on both the regional and national level,” Marasigan concluded.