Press Release
March 17, 2011

Use Whistle, Sirens as Early Warning Device for Disasters--Legarda

Senator Loren Legarda today said that early warning systems for disasters need not be high-tech or complicated since simple ones, such as a whistle, could prove more effective.

Legarda, Chair of the Senate Committee on Climate Change, said that aside from being cheap, a whistle is handy and accessible device that can be used any time to warn the people of an impending danger or immediately alert communities should there be a need to evacuate to avert disasters.

She added that the car sirens confiscated by the Philippine National Police through its "No Wang-Wang" policy could be more useful if donated to barangays and used as an early warning device.

"An effective warning and communication device is that which we can use and access anytime. With the advent of technology, we can use our mobile phones or the internet to communicate, but these gadgets are useless without electricity or with damaged cell sites," she explained.

"In Bangladesh, people use red flags and local notices given by roving volunteers to warn citizens of an impending disaster," she added.

Legarda said that barangays can use whistles and come up with a code or system so that people would know what to do depending on the length and frequency of each whistle blow.

Furthermore, when hazards such as typhoons are expected, barangay officials and volunteers can do mobile patrolling and use sirens to immediately alert people either to stay indoors or get ready to move to safer places. "Disaster preparedness, which includes the establishment of an early warning system, is essential to minimize loss of lives and property damages when hazards strike. Such system would be effective and efficient only if it is embedded in our communities--meaning, in each of the 42,000 barangays in our country. We have to put this in place immediately. We have no time to lose. A simple blow on a whistle can catch people's attention, and this device could be just the right thing we can use to avert disasters," Legarda concluded.

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