To prepare for untoward incidents in the future, the Bicol University (BU) East Campus conducted a fire and earthquake drill on March 17, 2017.
It was the first disaster drill of the campus composed of the BU College of Industrial Technology, College of Engineering, Institute of Architecture, Research and Development Center, and Extension Services Center.
Students, faculty members, and non-teaching personnel participated in the activity that was observed by the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP), Philippine National Police (PNP), Albay Public Safety and Emergency Management Office (APSEMO), and the Legazpi City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC).
At 9:30 a.m., an alarm was sounded to serve as the signal that an earthquake was happening. Students, faculty members, and personnel practiced the “duck, cover, and hold.” A minute after the alarm, everybody went out of their rooms with their hands over their heads to the designated evacuation areas.
Aside from the earthquake, a fire was also simulated at the Regional Center for Food Safety and Quality Assurance (RCFSQA) laboratory. A gas tank was supposed to have ignited because of the quake.
The RCFSQA personnel served as actors and actresses that needed to be rescued. Red Cross volunteers “saved” them from the fire and took them to the medical tent. An ambulance provided by the city health office picked up the injured and were “taken to a hospital.”
The activity was spearheaded by the East Campus’s Incident Command System (ICS), led by incident commander Dr. Jonathan Arroco. At 10 a.m., he declared the campus safe and the participants went back to their rooms.
The drill also served as a venue for the ICS members to practice using the two-way radios purchased for use during emergencies.
After the event, the ICS had a meeting with the observers from BFP, PNP, APSEMO, and CDRRMC, as well as the chief of the barangay where the campus is located. They shared their observations and provided information on how the East Campus can further improve its disaster preparedness.
“Our evaluators did not mince words in critiquing our fire and earthquake drill, but we don’t mind because it’s the only way we can improve. Besides, it’s the first time we are doing this, so lots of lapses are expected,” said ICS communications officer Prof. Janet Sabila Ibarreta. (Gremil Alessandro Alcazar Naz)