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Earthquake Drill in Manila Uses Big Hospital for Various Scenarios

Manila Earthquake Drill
Photo shows (from right) Evelyn Lao, QMT Head of CGHMC; Safety Officer Mark Laysa; Dr. Casimiro Tiongson, ERMO; Dr. Jeanesse Bernardo, ER Hea; Dr. John Lim; Jameson Dy, Senior Vice-President; Arnel Angeles, Director of MDRRMO; Jamie Francis Dy, VP for ICTD; F/S Inspector Hector Agadulin, BFP and Victor Bag-id, former BFP Inspector, in a huddle during the earthquake drill at the Chinese General Hospital yesterday. (JERRY S. TAN)

A unique earthquake drill was done in Manila using various scenarios involving a medical institution as big as the Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGHMC).

The simulation exercise was made even more challenging by the fact that the said hospital, which has a 600-bed capacity, is located along Blumentritt, which is a very busy road.

The drill was made success by around 400 participants that included representatives from the security and safety marshals from the Chinese General Hospital Chinese General Hospital and Medical Center (CGHMC) which is owned and operated by the Philippine Chinese Charitable Association, Inc. (PCCAI), the Manila Disaster Risk Reduction Management Office (MDRRMO) led by its director Arnel Angeles, the Philippine National Red Cross, Bureau of Fire Protection and the Manila Traffic and Parking Bureau (MTPB) headed by Zenaida Viaje.

According to Angeles, the simulation exercise conducted yesterday from 8 to 10 a.m. at the Chinese General Hospital (CGH) was based on a scenario where a 7.2 magnitude earthquake occurred at the west valley fault somewhere in Quezon City, which is about ten kilometers away from the said hospital.

A swift evacuation of the patients from the said hospital was carried out and these included babies and patients on wheelchairs and stretchers.

Hospital personnel quickly brought out tents and occupied half of Blumentritt Road fronting the hospital, to serve as evacuation area of CGH employes and patients.

Angeles said the situation was made even more challenging by the fact that traffic is always heavy on Blumentritt which is also not too wide. The MTPB enforcers were also there to help maintain traffic.

The responses were proven effective for the simulation of various scenarios like evacuation, search and rescue, medical response, fire suppression and traffic management.

The said drill is part of the 3rd quarter National Simultaneous Earthquake Drill aimed at creating awareness and preparedness of the employees and the CGH itself during and after an earthquake, along with the community and emergency or disaster-response forces in effectively responding to calamities and disasters.

“Since early this year, the hospital has been conducting Regular Emergency Preparedness and Training Programs for the members of the CGHMC community to prepare for this big event. We have also prepared a hospital evacuation plan and response team in case of any catastrophe,” said Dr. James Dy, President and CEO of CGH, whose son, Senior Vice President, Jameson Dy, oversaw the drill along with Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer Kelly Sia and Robert Yang, Senior Vice President/Special Asst. to the President.

Through the said activity, the capabilities and readiness of the local government units, offices, schools and even hospitals are being put to a test. It also teaches local government units (LGUs) and private institutions like the CGH, when it comes to recovery programs and initiatives that include provision of sufficient supplies of food, medicines and other basic needs during calamities and disasters.

Defects or loopholes in the system may also be checked both in public and private institutions so that remedies may be formulated to ensure prompt resumption of operations following an emergency situation such as an earthquake.

The public is also taught to be calm and organized with their actions during disasters and calamities.

Itchie G. Cabayan
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