Oleai Elementary School conducted a “tsunami preparedness exercise” yesterday morning, beginning from the school at 8:30am and ending at around 9am at the Northern Marianas College. A total of 272 people—a group comprising around half of Oleai’s student body and members of OES staff— walked from the school campus and up As Terlaje Hill to make it to a designated tsunami safe-zone at NMC.
OES principal Jasylene Parico was impressed by how the drill went, and thanked many of the drill’s participating agencies. “We went beyond our expectations, I think our students and our staff followed the procedures that we made changes to [and] decided upon,” said Parico.
Parico thanked the students and their parents, the Office of Homeland Security & Emergency Management, the Department of Public Safety, the Department of Fire & Emergency Medical Services, NMC, and the Public School System for helping make the drill finally come to fruition.
Parico also shared that the school’s student body is currently divided into an “A” and a “B” section. Section “B” took part in yesterday’s tsunami drill, while section “A” participated in a fire drill and a lockdown drill earlier this month. According to the CNMI PSS website, OES currently serves around 458 students.
According to PSS emergency manager Jack Diaz, he was impressed with OES’ performance. He along with a team of observers evaluated the entire evacuation process, and will meet with Homeland Security, DFEMS, and DPS for a debrief next Monday.
“Thirty minutes is pretty good for walking up [As Terlaje Hill], these are little kids. This is the first time we’ve ever done this, we’ve been planning it for maybe six-seven years. …With the help of Homeland Security, DPS, and DFEMS, we finally got to do this”, said Diaz.
As a reward for cooperating and walking up As Terlaje Hill, all of the students were treated to ice keki. The students were bused back to the school after the drill.