Assam conducts quake, fire mock drills in 3,300 schools

Meghalaya disaster management dept to hold meet on preparedness

GUWAHATI: In a one-of-its-kind initiative to ensure safer school environment, the Assam State Disaster Management Authority (ASDMA) in collaboration with the state education department, fire and emergency services, NDRF and civil defence conducted earthquake and fire mock drills across 3,300 schools covering all the 33 districts of the state.

Christened as the “Great Assam School Shakeout Programme”, the exercise was held on Saturday to commemorate the 1950 Great Assam Earthquake, which remains in the history of Assam as a high intensity earthquake that caused massive loss of life and property.

Conducted in 100 schools in each district of Assam, began with an evacuation drill by students in the event of an exigency such as fire or earthquake. The drill was followed by an exhibition of equipment and emergency preparedness measures jointly to be organised by district disaster management authority, fire and emergency services, SDRF and NDRF to educate the school students on safety messages in regard to such disasters.

Prior to the programme, all the 33 districts had already geared up with preparations by organising district level co-ordination meetings, educational block level co-ordination meetings with headmasters of selected schools, formation of school safety teams, identification and assignment of volunteers in schools, mock drill practice, etc.

Meghalaya plan

Meanwhile, speaking to The Shillong Times on Sunday, Meghalaya disaster management minister, Kyrmen Shylla was non-committal when asked if a similar exercise could be conducted across schools in the state.

“We will have a disaster preparedness meeting with the chief minister soon and then come to know whether such drills could be undertaken in schools or offices. Such mock drills augur well for a state in terms of disaster preparedness,” Shylla said.

Earlier this year, the minister had called a meeting of disaster management officers and aligned departments to discuss and see how prepared the state was and know its requirements. The move came following reports of the likelihood of a major earthquake along the 600-km stretch of the central parts of the Himalayan region.

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