South Korean Civil Defense Drill

Tuesday, November 15th 2011 was a first for me in my 2.5 years in South Korea. I was outside, on the street, walking around during the civil defense drill. Every other time, I’ve been inside my school grading review tests or sending out Tweets that nobody is reading.

Every so often, it happens for 15 minutes in the afternoon. The sirens sound, the traffic pulls over, and for the most part the people stop walking as the emergency vehicles speed through the streets. What I learned today, is that there are citizens with official vests and yellow flags keeping the order, making sure everyone is being good Koreans by respecting the process of the drill. I needed to get to work, so I kept walking. You should have seen the looks of confusion as I strolled on by.

Unless you live under a rock, it should never be a surprise when it occurs. Seems that Facebook and the Twitterverse are alive with smart ass comments referencing the drills for a good day before it happens. Also, like the good American I am, my location is registered with the US Embassy in Seoul. Because of this, I receive periodic email communications updating me on what I need to know. To follow is a snippet from a recent communication.

Seoul Metropolitan Police authorities advised the Embassy that on Tuesday, November 15, 2011, at approximately 2:00 p.m. an air-raid siren will sound for one minute to signal the start of a scheduled nationwide civil defense drill. Pedestrians in open and public areas should move to nearby buildings or subway stations as they would when seeking shelter in an actual event. All drivers/vehicles on the road must pull over and come to a complete stop. At approximately 2:15 p.m. a second siren will sound, signaling the conclusion of the drill. Local authorities will give further instructions if necessary.

Ladies and gentlemen, I bring you, the civil defense drill.

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~ by ripcitytoseoul on November 15, 2011.

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