IN THE event that an earthquake happens, Thomasians may be clueless on what to do and where to go.

Last month, 42,000 public and private schools nationwide simultaneously held earthquake drills but UST did not join the drill. No directive was given to the University Crisis Committee to conduct an earthquake drill, since the new rector is yet to be named.

University Crisis Committee member and Civic Welfare Training Service coordinator Dr. Lito Maranan, said that one of the reasons why UST is having difficulties conducting drills is because most Thomasians take emergency drills for granted.

Maranan explained that in the university-wide evacuation drills held last Feb. 16-24, the ideal time limit for Thomasians to get out of a building was not met. Maranan said that most of the students were chatting, laughing and even texting during the drills.

“Ideally, people inside a building should be out in five minutes, every minute of delay means more casualties,” Maranan told the Varsitarian.

He added that earthquake and evacuation drills are mistakenly thought to be one and the same. An evacuation drill’s primary concern is to get people out of a building because of fire accidents and chemical leaks. However, in an earthquake drill, people should not run out of a building during initial tremors because of falling debris. Instead, people should take cover and wait for the trembling to subside before going out of a building.

Information dissemination on earthquake preparedness is also a problem. Most Thomasians do not know what to do since hardly anyone teaches them how.

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“The only people we get to train are the Red Cross volunteers, guards, some faculty members, and some non-academic personnel like school technicians,” Maranan said.

Despite the national alarm on earthquakes, Maranan lamented that there are no plans for an earthquake drill anytime soon.

“I cannot alone make that decision, a higher authority would be the one to decide that, usually the rector,” Maranan said.

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