SAN AGUSTIN, Pili, Camarines Sur---The Department of Agriculture in Bicol participated in the nationwide simultaneous Earthquake and Fire Drills on September 27, 2017 at the DA grounds here to train its personnel actual exercise of “dock, cover and hold” concept and to test and evaluate the office’s contingency plans.

According to Dr. Salvadora M. Gavino, the drills were conducted quarterly to prepare and gauge the efficiency of warning dissemination and level of preparedness of offices and surrounding communities when actual earthquake occurs.

“Every one of us has the capability to save lives including our own when prepared and equipped with skills,” according to Abundio Huerno, the OIC-Pili Municipal Disaster Risk- Reduction Management Officer, “that is why, we have to take this activity seriously and commitment.”

Citing the Republic Act 10121 or an act strengthening the Philippine Disaster Risk Reduction and Management System, providing for the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Framework and Institutionalizing the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Plan, employees should participate in the said drills including the participants in trainings and seminars being conducted in the office.


“There is no excuse not to participate in the drills. Everyone should be part of the drill to prepare when disaster strikes. Disaster does not choose its victims.”

For this quarter, the DA got a Very Good rating compared to the satisfactory rating it received during the conduct of the first and second quarter drills last March 31, 2017 and July 21, 2017, respectively.

The alarm system should be centralized. Once the alarm system is set for a minute, the response---“dock, cover and hold” should be quick and in two-three minutes, should leave the building. During evacuation, the employees should immediately go to an open space and away from danger zones like trees and glass windows.

There is a difference in the conduct of earthquake drill and fire drill. In an earthquake drill, the sound of siren/bell indicates that a strong shaking is ongoing and the level of ground shaking prevents people to stand and move around. So, no one is supposed to get out of the building while the shaking is ongoing.

In a fire drill, the siren/bell means a fire is ongoing and all occupants of the building should evacuate the building immediately or within two minutes, the buildings must be vacated.
Presently, the DA has an evacuation plan with identified Place of Running Points (PRPs) posted in conspicuous places of the office premises so that employees are guided where to assemble during earthquake.

The existing DA-5 Earthquake and Fire Drill Team is headed by the Regional Executive Director Ellen B. De Los Santos as incident commander and will head the communication and documentation team, site security team, fire-fighting team, salvage team, first aid team, and rescue team. However, this time, the Regional Technical Director Rodel Tornilla facilitated the third quarter drill.

A firefighting demonstration was also conducted while simulated rescue operations were being conducted. Using the fire extinguisher first, then, the fire hose from the main administration building. The facilitators said that there is a risk of fire during an earthquake caused by broken gas pipes, electrical wirings, and kitchen stoves.

Buildings were marked with directions as to where to exit during these disasters. However, these directions should be reflectorized and should be placed in obvious places.

“If the fire is not manageable, call the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP),” Panerio said.

After the evaluation, Tornilla encouraged everyone to observe the comments and suggestions of the facilitators. He also committed to conduct trainings and workshops on Disaster Awareness, First Aid Training and Basic Life Support Seminar with certificates of competency to all employees.

The earthquake and fire drill were conducted jointly by the Pili MDRRMO, BFP, and the Philippine National Police. The Pili MDRRMO ambulance was used for demonstration during the drill. (jaysonmgonzales with photos by raymond adversario, emil pasumbal and jun collantes)