November 23, 2017 | MANILA, PHILIPPINES

Smart to provide alternative communications facilities as Davao City holds 1st earthquake-tsunami drill

DAVAO CITY held Friday its first “Shakeup” program, an earthquake and tsunami preparedness drill, with Smart Communications, Inc. participating for the provision of alternative communication facilities in a calamity situation.

“When there is a disaster we can expect the possibility of losing all means of communications, which is vital in disaster response,” Smart Communications Network Group Mindanao Head Rommel V. Robillos said.

Smart, which will provide assistance to the city’s central 911 command center, will have a practice deployment of satellite phones and cell site-on-wheels.

“Once disaster starts, someone will trigger us on what areas to dispatch our teams, so cell site-on-wheels will go to the area including technicians so they can set it up. Sat phones can be used by people in the meantime,” he said.

He said Smart’s mobile cell towers, which are loaded on trucks, can provide communication signals up to 300 meters. He also noted that they can deploy mobile cell sites stationed in other regions when needed.

Meanwhile, Mayor Sara Duterte-Carpio stressed that everyone in the city should take the emergency-preparedness drill seriously.

“It is our responsibility to ensure that everyone in our communities and our homes are aware and knowledgeable of the things that should be done in cases of emergencies,” she said, “Readiness is key to survival.”

Team leaders of the city’s Disaster Action Team (DAT) are in charge of ensuring that emergency protocols are in place and that communities are aware of the procedures, including immediate evacuation areas.

The city’s Human Resource Management Office chief, Erwin P. Alparaque, said the DAT members are set to undergo a series of further trainings and seminars, including on rescue and mobilization. -- Carmencita A. Carillo