PNA file photo

MANILA – The Department of Education (DepEd) on Thursday urged public schools to conduct surprise fire and earthquake drills to ensure preparedness among learners and teachers.
“Let us keep our learners, personnel, and schools safe from the harms of fire, earthquakes, and other calamities through effective preparation and simulation exercises,” the DepEd said in a statement.
It said school management should regularly conduct these drills under DepEd Order 53.
“As the nation observes Fire Prevention Month this March, the Department of Education (DepEd) reminds all public schools to ensure the conduct of unannounced fire and earthquake drills every first and third week of the month,” it added.
The DepEd said private schools and other learning institutions may adapt the frequency of unannounced drills to adequately prepare learners, teachers, and non-teaching personnel in times of calamities.
“Likewise, private schools, community learning centers, and state/local universities and colleges are also encouraged to adopt the provisions of the said DO,” it added.
Meanwhile, the education department continues to monitor the quake-affected schools in the Davao Region.
As of March 8, the DepEd 11 (Davao Region) recorded 54 damaged schools after the magnitude 5.9 earthquake that struck the province.
Schools with reported infrastructure damage include Davao del Norte with 18 schools; Panabo City with 24; and Davao de Oro, Davao Oriental, Tagum City, and Island Garden City of Samal with three each.
To date, the DepEd is still verifying the actual cost of damage incurred in schools. (PNA)