Legarda Wants Monthly Safety Drills in Schools, Hospitals

March 21, 2014

Senator Loren Legarda today reiterated her proposal to conduct monthly fire and earthquake drills and other disaster preparedness measures in educational and healthcare institutions.


Legarda, UN Champion for Disaster Risk Reduction and Climate Change Adaptation for Asia-Pacific, made the call following the 1st Quarter Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake drill spearheaded by the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) on March 19 in selected schools in every region.


“When an earthquake occurs and a fire ensues, would our kids know what to do and where to go? Would the teachers and school staff know how to keep the children calm and guide them to safety? They would not know unless they undergo safety drills like the earthquake drill conducted by the NDRRMC. What I am proposing is to do these drills every month in educational and medical establishments, such as hospitals and schools,” she said.


“The regular conduct of fire and earthquake drills would effectively instill disaster preparedness in our citizens. Schools and health facilities, aside from being shelter for the vulnerable—children, sick and elderly, are critical public infrastructures, especially in times of disaster when victims need emergency refuge, services and medical care. Therefore, schools and hospitals should be disaster-resilient,” Legarda stressed.


The Senator’s proposal has been filed as Senate Bill No. 357, or the Preparedness in Buildings during Fire, Earthquake and other Hazardous Phenomena Act.


Under the measure, monthly drills should be done in schools and other educational establishments, hospitals, nursing homes, clinics, orphanages and other buildings or structures used for the care of or occupied by the sick, infirm, or disabled.


The bill also proposes the conduct of emergency drills in school buses and other vehicles for transporting school children at least twice every school year.


The drills should include practice and instruction concerning the location, use and operation of emergency exits, fire escapes, doors and fire extinguishers and other facilities provided for such purpose in buildings as well as the proper evacuation of buildings by persons in the event of fires, earthquakes and other hazardous phenomena.


“We must enhance our resiliency to disasters by preparing the citizenry, particularly school children and the occupants of health care institutions, their administrators, operators, and personnel on the proper response and actions to take in cases of fires, earthquakes and other hazardous phenomena. We have to do this so that our people know what to do in times of disasters and to reduce the risks on their lives, limb and properties,” said Legarda.


Legarda also said that aside from the conduct of safety drills in schools and hospitals, th   e government and building owners must also ensure the structural integrity of these buildings.