Last week, the national government once again conducted its quarterly Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) which aims to raise public awareness (and preparedness) when a temblor strikes.
This year’s first NSED was conducted in the wake of the devastating earthquakes in Syria and Turkey last month that left thousands of people dead and millions more still struggling to get back on their feet due to widespread damage.
That disaster has once again had authorities and experts talking about the possible damages to lives and infrastructure should the feared “The Big One” hit Metro Manila and outlying provinces.
Here in Laguna, the West Valley Fault Line runs under at least five cities – all of them included in the so-called “industrial belt” which have become saturated with commercial, industrial and residential hubs in the past few years.
Sounds alarming, right?
But while national and local government agencies have proved to be very eager participate in the simultaneous earthquake drill, out in the streets there seem to be no indication that people are even aware of these drills.
In fact, no alarms were given to inform residents inside their homes and establishments that an earthquake drill is about to start and that everyone should “duck, cover and hold.”
If the national and local governments are indeed serious about ensuring “minimal casualties” during an earthquake, we should involve EVERYONE in our programs to ensure that ordinary residents know what to do when a quake does strike.
It’s true that up to now, earthquakes can never be predicted with accuracy, which hits home the idea that we should be alert at all times.
And that level of alertness can only be achieved through proper education and training, not only for our government employees or first responders or even students, but for EVERYONE.