Rescue group seeks early disaster text alerts

Bianca Dava, ABS-CBN News

Posted at Nov 17 2019 02:25 PM

MANILA -- A rescuer noted the delay of emergency text alerts from the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Council (NDRRMC) during calamities, particularly earthquakes.

Jerry Carrual, president of the Search and Rescue Unit Foundation, said that while the text alerts are advisories for expected aftershocks, these should be sent at an earlier time, not hours after the quake has happened.

Carrual said the text alerts should also include other details, such as where the public can evacuate.

“Sana ang ating alarm system, hindi lang sa panahon na may signal... Ibinibigay na po sana kung saan tatakas. Actually maganda na nakikita nating nagkaroon ng lindol sa ganitong lugar at oras, pero maganda sana kung lagyan na rin ng detalye kung saan pupunta o tatakas,” Carrual told reporters Sunday.

The rescuer also shared that some countries use a system that sends a warning signal to the public seconds before a disaster strikes in an area.

“Sa ibang bansa, lahat ng cellphone tutunog pag may bagyong darating. Sa atin, tapos na at saka pa lang magte-text,” he said.

At present, NDRRMC mobile alerts are limited to warnings on heavy rainfall, earthquakes, tsunamis, tropical cyclone warning signals and storm surges.

The NDRRMC earlier said it recognizes there are still challenges within the system.

"There is always room for improvement and we always welcome feedback. We are trying to improve it and this is just one way of keeping the public informed," NDRRMC spokesperson Edgar Posadas said.

Carrual, meanwhile, stressed every household should have a go-bag, where supplies good for several days are stored -- water, food, medicine, personal hygiene items, flashlight and extra clothes.

The go-bag should be placed near the door of the house.

Carrual also emphasized the importance of wearing shoes during an evacuation.

“Ang go-bag ilagay malapit sa pinto ng bahay. Ang critical ay sapatos. Hindi tayo makaka-survive kung di makaka-survive ang paa. Sa lindol, ang basic na gagapangan niyo ay tubig, dugo at bubog,” Carrual explained.

He went on, “Importante ang tubig. Ang goggles napakaimportante rin para sa mata.”

Families should also talk about an emergency route.

“Laging umpisahan sa pamilya. Gusto namin lahat ng Pinoy rescuer na. For the meantime, dapat may team leader ang bawat pamilya. Ang disaster po ay pagtakas,” Carrual said.

“Kung hiwa-hiwalay ang pamilya, at mangyari ang isang disaster... dapat may rendezvous point po na pag-uusapan. Importanteng planuhin saan magkikita at ano ang mga bagay na dala araw-araw,” he added.

The rescuer told the public, it pays to be prepared and alert. He said people must equip themselves with necessary information when a disaster strikes.

“Eighty percent ng namamatay ay di sa delubyo, kung 'di dahil nagulat. 'Di niya alam saan pupunta o paano magreact," he said.

“YOYO. You’re on your own. Pag nangyari ang kalamidad, wala kang aasahan."