Engineering holds fire drill
(March 19)—Constituents of the College of Engineering (CoE)’s can feel more at ease as some 60 faculty, administrative staff and REPS are now fully capable of responding to earthquake and disasters after undergoing extensive training by the Rescue Unit of the 51st Engineering Brigade of the Philippine Army.
The training consisted of two parts. The volunteers were instructed from March 9 to 10, learning skills like basic knowledge of first aid, how to use fire extinguishers and the duck-hold-cover technique. They were then tested in a real-time simulation on March 14 at the CoE’s buildings near the Engineering Complex.
The buildings where drill was held were: the UPAE Centennial Hall and Electrical and Electronics Engineering Institute along Velasquez Street and the Department of Mining, Metallurgical and Materials Engineering building near C.P. Garcia Avenue.
The exercise involved simulating a 7.2-magnitude earthquake and subsequent hazards that result from it. An earthquake of such a magnitude is considered major, inflicting serious life and property damage.
This is the second training conducted by 51st Engineering Brigade for the CoE. The first was in September 2012 with volunteers from Melchor Hall.
According to CoE dean Dr. Aura Matias, the idea for the exercises arose from a discussion with then ROTC Commandant Col. Silvino Alcabasa, Jr, who is a graduate of the college.
“When he came to see me for a courtesy call, we happened to discuss disaster preparedness training for our engineering students. Eventually, an Earthquake/Fire Drill and Simulation exercise was conceptualized,” she said.
“[W]e aim for our faculty, students and staff to be self-reliant, at least for the first hour after the big quake. Rescuers will not be able to come at once. We must be prepared to help and rescue those whom we can reach to reduce casualties,” Matias adds.
Also involved in the fire drill were the UP Health Service (triage and medical assistance), the Campus Maintenance Office (equipment and manpower) and the UP Diliman Police.
Invited as observers and to provide feedback were the Quezon City Department of Public Order and Safety, Rescue Academy and the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council.
Matias hopes that the exercise will inspire other UPD units to conduct their own earthquake/disaster exercises, adding that the college is willing to extend assistance to other units that may want to do so.
“From these drills and simulations, we will be able to identify what resources and training needs shall have to be addressed to better prepare ourselves,” she concludes.—AKR