QUAKE DRILL. Angat, Bulacan Mayor Narding De Leon (center) leads the ceremonial pressing of the button to signal the start of the conduct of the 2019 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill held at the covered court of Barangay Sto. Cristo, Angat, Bulacan on Thursday, Feb. 21, 2019. (Photo courtesy of PIA Bulacan)
ANGAT, Bulacan -- The Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (RDRRMC) led the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) in Central Luzon in this town, as part of continuing efforts to boost awareness and preparedness of the region’s local governments and residents on hazards during earthquakes.
The Office of Civil Defense 3 (Central Luzon), in collaboration with the municipal government of Angat, spearheaded the first community-wide simultaneous earthquake drill with hundreds of participants performing the "duck, cover, and hold" at the covered court of Barangay Sto. Cristo here.
Angat served as the ceremonial venue of this quarter’s earthquake drill in the region, which aims to promote the importance of disaster preparedness and mitigation to all stakeholders, as well as strengthen the response mechanism and interoperability of all local key players.
A one-minute alarm at 2 p.m. signified the start of the "ground shaking".
All participants executed the drop-cover-hold position, which is considered as the safest action to reduce injury and death during an earthquake.
Ma. Lourdes Alborida of the Angat Municipal Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office said the drill is based on a dam-break scenario.
“The scenario directly affects 10 municipalities in Bulacan where the Angat River slices through -- Norzagaray, Angat, San Rafael, Bustos, Baliwag, Plaridel, Pulilan, Calumpit, Paombong, and Hagonoy,” Alborida said.
The initial dam break scenario triggered by a 7.2 magnitude earthquake inundated 11 of the town's 16 villages.
The drill started with "ground shaking", during which, officials conducted an inspection of the dam and its facilities then checked the possible occurrence/identification of dam break/breach.
If such an incident occurs, Alborida said dam officials will activate the emergency action plans and will immediately notify and disseminate information to local government units, concerned agencies and then activate the early warning system and monitor the situation.
Under the said scenario, five barangays were cut from the town proper with the “collapse” of the Sta. Lucia Bridge, thus, an evacuation center was set up in Barangay Banaban.
On the other hand, residents of the town proper were directed to proceed to the Encanto Elementary School in Barangay Encanto, which is the highest land mass in the town.
The quarterly NSED aims to evaluate the effectiveness of contingency plans and protocols in relation to earthquake scenarios and other similar events.
Also joining the simultaneous earthquake drill were local government employees of Angat, headed by Mayor Leonardo de Leon, members of the Angat Municipal Police Station led by Police Chief Inspector Isagani Santos III, and disaster response teams and officials from the regional, provincial and local governments. (PNA)