Sat | May 27, 2017

Conduct regular earthquake drills

Published:Thursday | January 22, 2015 | 1:00 AM

All schools and offices should conduct regular earthquake drills, at least twice per year. These drills will ensure that staff members and students know what to do should an earthquake occur.

There are six components to an earthquake drill: the Alarm, Response, Evacuation, Assembly, Head Count or Roll Call, and the Evaluation.

1. Alarm

During the alarm stage, a loud warning device, such as a bell or buzzer, alerts those involved in the drill. This must be a pre-arranged signal known by everyone, so that all will respond appropriately.

2. Response

During the response phase, everyone heads for cover. Persons get under a heavy desk, table, chair, bed or under a door jamb. Make sure you move away from windows, glass or light fixtures. If there is no cover available, crouch and try to protect your head.

3. Evacuation

After remaining in your respective safeplaces until the shaking has stopped, persons should then evacuate the building. The evacuation proceeds through pre-determined safe routes and evacuees gather outside in a safe area away from buildings, fences, walls, electricity poles, bridges and trees.

4. Assembly

At the assembly point, the evacuees are grouped in order of classrooms, departments or floors, whichever is more convenient to facilitate the next step - roll call.

5. Roll Call

During the roll call, teachers, floor wardens, or others designated before-hand determine if everyone is present. In the event of a real earthquake, a search-and-rescue team would have to be dispatched to look for those missing.

6. Evaluation

After the roll call, there should be an evaluation where the institution identifies snags in the drill, problem areas, or potential problem areas.

Remember that only by practising will occupants of a building be reasonably sure that, in the event of a serious earthquake, they will be able to respond appropriately.