Quake drill a success

RESCUERS and different agencies are already deemed prepared for “the big one.”

At 2 p.m., sirens rang after a ceremonial alarm switching held at the closed portion of Bonifacio cor. Bolton streets, where the incident command center for the second quarter national simultaneous earthquake drill was set up.

Students and staff from the University of Mindanao conducted the “duck, cover, and hold” maneuver as they filed toward the entrance of the University of Mindanao building along Bolton.

The “quake” was strong enough to topple both the Bolton and Generoso bridges. Within minutes, two Huey choppers from the Philippine Air Force conducted aerial surveillance of the site.

Responders immediately ran towards the university to assess any injuries sustained by people inside the structure.

The choppers then conducted airlifts at the Tiongko field along Quimpo Boulevard for critically wounded persons, and taking the said “victims” to the nearest hospital. In the chopper scenario, two critically injured patients were reported at the Sandawa corner Tiongko field.

After the evacuation of the airlifted patients, a loud explosion was heard at the UM main building, which injured at least 10 victims.

Responders from Central 911 and other support teams such as the Bureau of Fire Protection and Task Force Davao immediately rushed to the scene to assess the situation and pick up the wounded and killed.

Another incident involved at least three injured patients being brought down from a high part of the UM building in a high-angle rescue scenario.

Next, a fire incident occurred at the La Fontana arcade, fronting UM’s gate 5. No casualties were involved in the scenario, and the firefighters quickly responded to the scene.

Navy and Coast Guard personnel were involved in an extrication of victims who were trapped in a collapsed structure scenario near the fire fronting gate 5. Towards the end, police and Task Force Davao personnel responded to reports of looting in the area.

In an earlier interview, Office of Civil Defense XI regional director Leoncio Cirunay, Jr., said that the drill was important to help responders coordinate future possible responses for similar scenarios.

Next month, another drill will be held throughout the city, with Cirunay saying that the drill would help their respective units develop a muscle memory for similar incidents.

Around 24 agencies were involved in the drill, which was also done in key cities nationwide.

Nearby streets, including that along People’s Park, were closed to make way for emergency vehicles.

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