The University of Santo Tomas-Legazpi joined the quarterly conduct of the National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) for the first quarter of 2023 on March 16, a week after its original date of conduct, due to its postponement which was caused by the nationwide transport strike.

The Q1 NSED aims to promote disaster preparedness and resilience among the Legazpi Thomasian community in anticipation of the “big one” – a worst-case scenario of an earthquake coming from the West Valley Fault in the Philippines. It is believed that massive destruction will happen including a possible tsunami according to the Philippine Institute of Volcanology and Seismology (Phivolcs).

Headed by the UST-Legazpi’s Office of Student Services (OSS) through its Emergency Response Team, this quarter’s NSED highlighted other scenarios such as a ‘chemical spill incident’ to equip students with knowledge on how to respond given the said scenario. The traditional “duck, cover, and hold” was simultaneously practiced also by the students, faculty, and support personnel, including outsourced personnel and other service providers.

After the drill, a debriefing followed at the Media Center Hall (MCH) where representatives from the Bureau of Fire Protection (BFP) Legazpi and Legazpi City Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (CDRRMO) who checked the performance of the university against set standards, and gave their feedback.

Senior Fire Officer (SFO) 3 Melba Ansano of BFP Legazpi commended UST-Legazpi for its proper conduct of the duck, cover, and hold procedure, correct execution of victim handling, and facilitation of the evacuation area.

This was seconded by Fire Officer (FO) 2 Fil Nebres of the said bureau, lauding the medical response team of the university mainly composed of students from all departments.

Meanwhile, Fire Officer (FO) 3 Domingo Millena reiterated how important the conduct of drills are. He also reiterated the do’s and dont’s before, during, and after a disaster to put them into better practice.

On the other hand, Mr. Silvino B. Balasta, MPR, OSS Director responded to the feedback given by the regulating offices by envisioning UST-Legazpi to conduct more drills, spearheading seminars and trainings for disaster management to prepare the university better in case of fire and earthquakes.

At the end, BFP and Legazpi CDRRMO both agreed to give UST-Legazpi a rate of 7.5 out of 10 mark for the first quarter of NSED.

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