MANILA, Philippines – Over 100 students of Gulod National High School Mamatid Extension in Cabuyao, Laguna were hospitalized due to dehydration after a surprise fire drill on Thursday, March 23.
In an interview with DZBB on Friday, March 24, Cabuyao City Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Office chief Bobby Abinal Jr. said the fire drill was not coordinated with the city government.
“Ang patakaran po rito ay may number of students na kailangan at tapos po ay informed po ang students na may fire drill na gagawin,” Abinal said.
(Our rule is that only a certain number of students are required to join and they should be informed about the drill.)
Around 3,000 students took part in the drill. Abinal said the fire drill can be scheduled with 300 students per batch.
“Sa aming perspective, kung isu-surprise po natin ang ating mga estudyante ay sana ay ‘di gutom ang mga estudyante. Tinipon po nila ang mga etsudyante ng around 12:30 pm tapos nag sound the alarm sila ng pasado alas dos na,” he added.
(In our perspective, if you’re going to surprise our students with a fire drill, they should not be hungry. Students were gathered around 12:30 pm then they sounded the alarm at around 2 pm.)
The local official said the temperature when the fire drill happened was between 39 to 42°C.
“104 po lahat. Dinala po lahat sa ospital (104 in all. They were brought to the hospital),” Abinal said when asked how many students were sent to hospital after the incident.
“Ang initial findings po ng doctor natin ay dahil sa gutom at dehydrated ang karamihan,” he said.
(The initial findings of the doctor was that they were hungry and dehydrated.)
The school conducted the fire drill in compliance with Department of Education (DepEd) Order No. 53 s. 2022 or the Mandatory Unannounced Earthquake and Fire Drills in Schools, according to Abinal.
Abinal, however, said that no certified safety officers were present during the drill.
“Ang gumanap po na marshal rin ay minor rin – ang BSP (Boy Scouts of the Philippines) at GSP (Girl Scout of the Philippines),” he added. (Only the BSP and GSP acted as marshals.)
The DepEd has yet to issue its statement on this incident, as of posting.
On Thursday, the state weather bureau said that El Niño, a weather phenomenon characterized by below-normal rainfall that can lead to dry spells and drought, may persist until 2024.
Here are signs of heat stroke you need to watch out for, and things you should do to keep safe. (READ: FAST FACTS: Heat stroke) – Rappler.com
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