Makati central business district ready for ‘Big One’
MANILA, Philippines – As Metro Manila conducted its first metrowide earthquake drill on Thursday, July 30, Makati’s central business district (CBD) showed that it is prepared in the event of a powerful earthquake.
The metrowide drill, dubbed as #MMShakeDrill, aimed to raise awareness on what to do in case a 7.2-magnitude earthquake caused by the West Valley Fault hits Metro Manila. (READ: 57 subdivisions, villages traversed by West Valley Fault)
It was spearheaded by the Metropolitan Manila Development Authority (MMDA) in coordination with the local government units in Metro Manila and other institutions. (READ: #MMshakedrill a good first attempt – international observers)
Different command centers and evacuation sites were strategically placed around the Makati CBD. In Ayala Center, home to malls like Glorietta, Greenbelt, Landmark and Rustan’s, drill participants were directed to 7 evacuation sites around the area.
The command center was located in front of The Link building, where officials like Makati Command, Control, and Communication (C3) head Hector Reyes, acting Makati Mayor Romulo “Kid” Peña Jr, Makati City police chief Senior Superintendent Ernesto Barlam, and Makati fire marshal Ricardo Perdigon oversaw the drill.
As alarms and sirens blared all over the Makati CBD at 10:30 am, office workers, residents, and even some shoppers did the “duck, cover, and hold” for 45 seconds.
Maintenance personnel then immediately set up tents for the command center, medical treatment stations, and evacuation sites.
Different earthquake scenarios were also simulated. In Ayala Center, designated personnel practiced how to respond to a leak of liquefied petroleum gas, a collapsed structure, and fires in Glorietta 3. A vehicular accident was staged in Legaspi Street, while another collapsed structure was simulated at Park Square.
Responders also practiced high-angle rescue operations in two buildings around Glorietta Park.
“We are very committed to this,” said AyalaLand Inc vice president Manny Blas.
He said that the Makati CBD has been holding its own annual earthquake drills since 2011. He added he is confident that they are prepared in case a real earthquake hits.
“I think part of our preparation is not only taking care of our properties and our residents and workers who are here, but also what we would do in order to attend to our neighbors outside the central business district who would likely seek shelter here,” he said.
According to Blas, the drill’s value is that “it gives you muscle memory – when something happens, you know more or less what to do right away.”
He added that it allowed people to be familiar with whom they should coordinate when a real disaster comes.
A week before the metrowide drill, 4 other Makati barangays participated in a nationwide simultaneous earthquake drill.
Safety for employees
In the Makati CBD, led by their office heads, workers followed protocol and swiftly proceeded to their designated evacuation areas.
Some companies, like Chevron and UT Global Services Limited, gave their employees grab and go bags, which contained emergency supplies such as food, water, flashlights, batteries,radios, and even hygiene kits. Aside from disaster kits, UT Global Services Limited gave its employees hard hats and vests with reflectors. (READ: Time to prepare that disaster kit)
“We feel more confident that we are prepared,” shared Raissa Bautista, a public affairs manager from Chevron. She added that her company also implements an “I notify” system, which requires all employees to inform their heads if they are safe.
“It also helps us think about our own families, [that] maybe we could do the same thing [in the] family and prepare everybody else,” Bautista added.
Danica Polongbarit, an accountant, lauded her employers for this move and encouraged other companies to the same. She added that the metrowide earthquake drill promoted awareness of what to do in case of an earthquake.
Needs for improvement
Some shoppers in Ayala Center did not participate in the drill.
“I think we did not expect everyone to be part of it,” said Blas, who reasoned that the commercial center is visited by thousands of people every day.
“But I think when you have enough people, especially people responsible like all the property managers of each building… there would be leaders [who] will initiate the move,” Blas added.
Makati C3 head Reyes agreed, saying that drills will not always be perfect. He added that the Makati CBD needs to improve how it employs the incident command system - a protocol that ensures orderly coordination during a disaster.
Despite this gap, Reyes said the Makati CBD’s participation in #MMShakeDrill was an overall success. – Rappler.com