Capitol workers need to be trained in disaster management

By: Carmel Loise Matus July 22,2016 - 11:13 PM
Capitol employees cover their heads with their hands as they rush out of the building during yesterday’s earthquake drill.

Capitol employees cover their heads with their hands as they rush out of the building during yesterday’s earthquake drill.

CAPITOL employees need to be properly trained not only in first aid but also in disaster management, so that they will know what to do in the aftermath of a disaster, even without the presence of first responders.

This was one of the areas that the Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office (PDRMMO) noted that they needed to address after yesterday’s earthquake drill at the Capitol.

Yesterday’s drill was the first time that Capitol included first responders such as the Bureau of Fire Protection, the Department of Health and the Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center (VSMMC).

In yesterday’s drill, first responders arrived nearly an hour after the first siren sounded to initiate the drill.

Rhafael Luche, PDRMMO training officer, said that in a real earthquake scenario, they were expecting outside responders to take a long time to arrive at the Capitol, since there would also be other affected areas that the responders would have to attend to.

“If for example, we are experiencing a 7.3-magnitude earthquake, it is not only the Capitol that will be affected. It is not only the Capitol that will request assistance from them. So it is normal for the response group to be delayed. What is important is that they will respond,” Luche said in Cebuano.

The first siren signaling the start of the drill sounded at 9:20 a.m., and the first responders arrived at 10:10 a.m., causing nearly an hour’s delay in the start of the rescue operations.

Because of the long wait, 14-year-old Mark Dave Eliazo, one of the people tasked to act as injured victim in the simulation, got up and left his position.

“I’ve been waiting here for more than 40 minutes already. They said it wasn’t supposed to take long. It’s kind of tiring lying down and I also got a bit bored so I’m just standing up to stretch my legs,” Eliazo said in Cebuano.

Luche said they planned to improve the speed of the response and a way to solve this problem would be to train more employees about disaster management.

Command system

While the first responders’ arrival was slightly delayed, the Capitol Response unit was able to successfully apply the incident command system.

In the incident command system, the different department heads would immediately go to the command post after a disaster or calamity strikes.

The most senior officer will assume as commander with the governor as the responsible officer.

From there, they will conduct a situation update and damage assessment before deploying resources.

“What is important is that we (Capitol responders) were immediately able to start up the command system. It’s important that we’re able to deploy the initial steps like accounting, damage assessment, situation update so that when the responders arrive, we will be able to immediately conduct a briefing and the victims are all already identified,” Luche said in Cebuano.

He said it was important to immediately assess the situation, prepare the brief for the responders before their arrival, so that they would know where to go and the condition of the place where they are to conduct the rescue.

Jaime Bernadas, regional director of DOH-7, gave a 7 to 8 rating for the DOH personnel who participated in the “Metro-wide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill” organized by the Regional Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council in Central Visayas (RDRRMC-7) of which the DOH is a member. 
Bernadas said during a post-assessment of the drill that there were some unnecessary procedures like the wrong labeling of some stations dedicated for triage and first aid. 

“Those were expected,” he said, adding that they still needed more practice. 

This was the first wave of the metro-wide earthquake drill where the health sector was first tested. /Interns Maria Maria Lelaina R. Cardeno and Rabboni Centino Borbon

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TAGS: Capitol, PDRMMO, Provincial Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office, Vicente Sotto Memorial Medical Center, VSMMC

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