LOOK: Earthquake-proof desks for preschoolers developed by researchers

LOOK: Earthquake-proof desks for preschoolers developed by researchers

By Kristelle Bechayda

In the light of the series of earthquakes that rocked several parts of the country in the past week, a group of researchers from the Philippine Normal University (PNU), De La Salle University, and Technological University of the Philippines developed a high impact-proof automated study desks for preschool students.

Not just an ordinary desk

The Life-Saving Automated Mesa to Endure Seismic Activity or LAMESA is an efficient survival tool that not only serves as a study desk, but also a warning system when earthquakes occur and a safety infrastructure for the children to use.

La mesa or mesa literally translates to table in English and according to research team leader Dr. Marie Paz E. Morales, the quake-proof desk is not only a survival tool but also a means to teach children how to prepare for disasters.

“Though we instill earthquake preparation in the curriculum or in the lessons teachers teach, this ‘passive’ preparedness may not holistically develop survival skills among the young,” said Morales in the press release posted by the Department of Science and Technology (DOST) last April 25.

She added that in developing the prototype, the team conducted extensive interviews and consultations with child education experts on how to integrate the concepts of disaster risk reduction and preparedness in the kindergarten curriculum by using the LAMESA.

Safety features

The desk, which is made of lightweight but strong and elastic materials, measures 1.22 meters in length, 0.69 meters in width, and 3.327 centimeters in tabletop thickness. Its height of 0.57 meters can accommodate up to four kindergartners, with an average height of three feet, in times of earthquake.

Meanwhile, its center legs support a storage bin with sliding door for lighting devices and ample space for food and water supplies good for up to nine students.

In terms of its system and program design, LAMESA has a good peak ground acceleration, Its fixed response time of four seconds gives children a chance to duck, cover, and hold much sooner.

“[On] average, a strong earthquake that may cause debris lasts about 30 to 40 seconds. This means that LAMESA’s four-second response time provides ample time to shield children from debris during an earthquake,” Dr. Morales explained.

Prior to its launch, the final design for the LAMESA prototype was evaluated by various stakeholders including parents, teachers, school principals, and a district supervisor and was commended for its functionality features.

An improvement on the prototype’s surface hardness, texture, and wiring placement is being suggested and the researchers ensured that a modified design would also undergo strength test and include auxiliary materials like safety reminders and training kits.

To read the full article of the study ‘Coupling School Risk Reduction Strategies with LAMESA (Life-Saving Automated “Mesa” to Endure Seismic Activity) for Kindergarten,’ you may download a copy for free at philjournalsci.dost.gov.ph.