It only took five minutes for employees of the Department of Environment and Natural Resources (DENR) to reach the designated “evacuation site” during the Nationwide Simultaneous Earthquake Drill (NSED) held on April 21.

For this, officials and members of the DENR Disaster Risk Reduction Management Team (DRRMT), the Knights of Rizal-Disaster Emergency Responders International (KOR-DERIN), and the Quezon City Fire Bureau declared the earthquake drill held at the DENR central office in Quezon City a “success”.

NSED forms part of the periodic disaster response exercises ordered by the National Disaster Risk Reduction Management Council, based on the National Disaster Response Plan.

Such drills are executed quarterly to help people understand the impact of a 7.2 magnitude earthquake feared to specifically hit Metro Manila and adjacent provinces.

Administrative Service Director Jesus Enrico Moises Salazar, head of the DRRMT, said the earthquake drill was conducted to ensure the safety and welfare of all DENR workers and guests in times of disaster and other emergencies.

Now on its fourth year, Salazar said the drill “aims to save lives and properties as it becomes a natural response in all, when held regularly.”

Capt. Jose Roberto Tolentino Jr. of KOR-DERIN said the activity was expected to “level up” the earthquake preparedness of the DENR central office and its adjacent offices like the Philippine Information Authority, whose employees joined those of the DENR in the “evacuation site.”

“The drill prevents panic and develops some form of ‘muscle memory’ in a person, to avoid injury during an actual major tremor,” Tolentino said.

Such exercise also helps the responders improve their response plans while determining limitations and improving the capabilities of their equipment, he added.

During the drill, the DRRMT registered 663 personnel successfully evacuated, three “rescued” and “administered to” for minor injuries and ailments, and four determined as “casualties.” #