Project ELEVATE experience shows tabletop simulation exercises help enhance community EWS before act
Project ELEVATE, implemented by Center for Disaster Preparedness (CDP) in partnership with the Arbeiter-Samariter-Bund (ASB), recently conducted a tabletop exercise in the municipality of Balangiga last May 23, 2017 in preparation for the municipal-wide drill that was held just this week.
Months before the actual tabletop and drill exercise, from February to March 2017, the project staff of CDP conducted several Disability Inclusive CBDRRM Workshops in the municipality to form a local pool of trainers. In these workshops, CDP mentored the pool of trainers not only for the rollout of CBDRRM in its barangays but also for the conduct of tabletop and drill exercises. Mr. Al Balderama from the Municipal Planning and Development Office of Balangiga is one of the members of the local pool of trainers mentored by CDP for the role of drill manager in both tabletop and drill.
The tabletop exercise was participated by members of the Municipal DRRM Council led by Mayor Randy Graza. Also, members of the community and the Barangay DRRM Committees of Brgy. Cag-olango and Brgy. San Miguel were participants during the tabletop exercise. During the conduct of the tabletop, the community members of both barangays tested their early warning systems (EWS) for typhoon.
After the conduct of tabletop exercise in Balangiga, learnings and insights were shared by the participants. Being the head of the Municipal Social Welfare and Development Office, Ms. Myrna Deñado currently leads several crucial clusters in the MDRRMC. She did not allow pressure to bog her down during the tabletop exercise in order to fulfill the actions needed in the different scenarios given to them. Upon testing the barangays’ EWS, the community members shared their realization that there is a need for them to enhance further their EWS by incorporating specific actions that they need to do as a family and a member of their community.
Barangay Cag-olango, in particular, realized the importance of close coordination with the MDRRMC especially prior to being isolated from the municipal center during strong typhoons. They are one of the upland barangays in Balangiga which get cut off from the poblacion area once intense rainfall and flooding start.