CAGAYAN DE ORO CITY (MindaNews/19 March) — Some 800 Grade 5 students at the West Central Elementary School in Barangay Carmen here participated in the simulated earthquake drill organized by the City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (CDRRMC) Wednesday.
The students, many of whom were survivors of typhoons Sendong and Pablo, were made to have an emergency but orderly evacuation from the second floor of a school building to simulate a powerful earthquake.
“Hold on to the rails when you go down a building,” the drill instructor advised the students who were listening inside the school gym.
“Dive, cover, hold!” the drill instructor and the students repeated over and over the survival mantra during the nationwide earthquake drill on Wednesday, March 19.
Grade 5 teacher Vicky Cainoy said the students went down the school building with their hands on top of their heads to cover them from falling debris.
“One of my students put off the electrical connection to all our appliances and after checking that all of my students have gone out, I left. I was the last person to leave,” Cainoy said.
Ramon Vener Monsanto, head of the CDRRMC said teachers should only leave the classroom after all their students have safely evacuated.
“In this drill we are looking at the teachers’ and students’ actions after the earthquake siren was sounded,” Monsanto said.
He advised the teachers and students to evacuate in an orderly fashion.
“Do not run because that will trigger panic. Hold on to your classmate next to you once you are in the open ground,” he said.
He said the teachers scored high when they started an accounting of their students upon reaching safer grounds.
Many of the students who survived typhoon Sendong and Pablo took the drill seriously.
Eleven-year-old Lousie Brylle Balatayo said she memorized her moves after getting lessons on how to survive a powerful earthquake a day earlier.
“My family survived typhoon Pablo. Its powerful winds scared me and I thought we would die. This drill is very important for me,” she said.
For her partner, Ronna Mae Abelo, 11, whose family evacuated and went through harrowing experiences during typhoons Ondoy and Sendong, the lessons they learned could save their lives in the future.
“I can share lessons with them (family members),” Abelo said. (Froilan Gallardo/MindaNews)