Bontoc – Mountain Province successfully joined the 2nd quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) as a pilot area last Thursday, June 20.
As a pilot site, specific clusters, scenarios and expected responses were observed and were assessed by drill evaluators from the regional and local agencies. Drill evaluators were deployed to the selected municipalities of Bontoc, Sabangan and Sagada as well as at the Mountain Province Emergency Operations Center and Mountain Province Incident Management Team.
According to Frankie Cortez of the Office of Civil Defense (OCD-CAR), Mountain Province was chosen as pilot area because it passed the criteria that was set by the NDRRMC considering its geographical location, readiness and capability.
In the continuing run of the NSED, growing public participation has been noted especially through the involvement and participation of private sector organizations and private individuals.
Cortez informed that the NSED assessment tool has been recently reviewed and evolved into more comprehensive assessment forms which focuses on the evacuation procedure as well as the interoperability of the Emergency Operations Center, the Incident Management Team and the response cluster.
“Aside from encouraging the general participation to NSED and increasing public awareness on the dangers of earthquakes, the activity will also test, assess, validate and evaluate the existing contingency and response plans in your place. The effectiveness of these areas will be tested to identify the areas of weakness for improvement,” Cortez said.
The simulations were: injuries at Mountain Province Comprehensive High School; a collapsed building at the Provincial Environment and Natural Resources Office; fire incident in Sabangan; and a vehicular traffic accident in Sagada during a 7.1 magnitude earthquake that hit Mountain Province.
During the drill, the evaluators assessed the Mountain Province Operations Center; the Mountain Province Incident Management Team; the Search, Rescue and Retrieval Cluster; emergency telecommunications; the public information management; the education cluster; the evacuation procedure; the law and order; the health cluster; and the road traffic accident management.
During the post-assessment that followed, Cortez admired the serious participation of all the agencies and private organizations that were involved and uttered the overall success of the conduct of the activity. The result of the assessment showed that the different areas that were assessed were functional; however, some areas need more improvement.
Meanwhile, PDRRMC Chair and Gov. Bonifacio C. Lacwasan, Jr. was delighted with the overall success of the NSED with Mountain Province as pilot site. He thanked the OCD-CAR for spearheading the activity to test the preparedness of Mountain Province against earthquakes.
“We are very happy that our province was chosen as a pilot area. The test will help us a lot in improving our capacity to address disasters and more importantly, make us more resilient as a people,” he said.