Mayor Sara Duterte called on the Dabawenyos to participate in “Shakeup,” the 1st earthquake and tsunami drill in the city slated at 9 a.m. today.
“This will help us prepare ourselves in the event a tsunami or an earthquake hits Davao City,” Sara said in a statement issued by the City Information Office.
“It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone in our communities and our homes are aware and knowledgeable of the things that should be done in cases of emergencies,” she added.
The mayor stressed the importance of being prepared when it comes to survival. She said “preparation, which involves learning or acquiring emergency skills, is critical in protecting ourselves, our families, and our communities. Readiness is key to survival.”
Around 3,000 employees of the city government are expected to join today’s drill.
“Almost all of the city’s employees will join the citywide earthquake and tsunami drill,” Human Resource Management Office (HRMO) Chief Erwin Alparaque said after yesterday’s briefing of all team leaders of the city’s Disaster Action Team (DAT).
Alparaque said they called on all the DAT leaders so they know what happens and what to do during the drill. The drill will involve the employees of various city government offices including City Hall, City Hall Annex, Sangguniang Panlungsod, City Engineers Office and Museo Dabawenyo.
“Every building has exit points as indicated in their emergency plans,” he said. Once the alarm and the sirens are sounded, he added, “the employees should start going to the evacuation areas.”
The primary evacuation areas today are Rizal Park and Quezon Park. However, he said, when there is a tsunami, people should evacuate to higher areas.
“I urge the Dabawenyos to be very serious during the earthquake and tsunami drill,” he said. “Even the taking of photos during the mock evacuation is discouraged.”
Alparaque said the DAT members are set to undergo a series of trainings and seminars in the future, on various topics including rescue and mobilization.
Rommel Robillos, head of Smart Communication’s Network Group Mindanao, said they will provide communications assistance in setting up a command center in case of a disaster.
“When there is a disaster we can expect the possibility of losing all means of communications which is vital in disaster response,” Robillos said during the iSpeak Media Forum.
Robillos said Smart will provide assistance to the command center by providing alternative means to communicate like satellite phones. They will also deploy a cell site on wheels, given that regular communications through telephones may be disrupted during a disaster.
“Once disaster starts, someone will trigger us on what areas to dispatch our teams, so cell site on wheels will go to the area including technicians so they can set it up. Sat phones can be used by people in the meantime,” he said.
He sad Smart’s cell sites on wheels are loaded on trucks complete with towers which can provide communication signals of up to 300 meters. He said they can easily deploy other mobile cell sites from other regions when needed.
Led by the Davao City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office and Central 911, the drill will be a full-scale exercise.
People must pay attention to the time because there will no blowing of sirens or emergency alarms.
Emmanuel Jaldon, chief of the DRRMO and Central 911, requested the people who have whistles or bells to use them. He said it is now a standard in Davao City that no more sirens or emergency alarms will be used to signal the start of an earthquake drill.
If the siren is a wavering tone for 3 minutes, it signals a call for evacuation. If it is a steady tone for 3 minutes, it should mean “all clear” and people can go back to their usual activities. It can also mean that the drill has ended.
There will be four siren stations: in Daliao Toril Fishport, the Maligaya Taxi compound in Matina Aplaya, in Agdao, and at the DCRRMO office.
There will be ringing of church bells in all parishes to signal the call for evacuation. Ringing of the bells twice means that all is clear.
Last June 29, Davao City participated in the nationwide earthquake drill.
While Department of Science and Technology (DOST) Undersecretary for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Renato Solidum rated well the city’s response skills, he suggested a city-wide earthquake drill to raise more awareness on preparedness.
Solidum revealed that the Davao Region was hit by a strong earthquake in the 1920s when there were only a few structures. Davao has active faults 7.1 kilometers from its poblacion area.
He added that a 7 magnitude or intensity 8 earthquake could damage 280,000 buildings and kill 1,600 persons when it hits at night.
He said the public should be prepared by checking the foundation of their houses while government must audit its buildings and infrastructure.
Davao City was the pilot site for the nationwide drill. The drill aims to assess the efficiency and preparedness, response and recovery capabilities of government agencies, local government units, private offices and private business establishments. Lovely Carillo and Ayan Mellejor