First national fire drill in 40 years at 2 p.m.

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First national fire drill in 40 years at 2 p.m.

Amid heightened concerns about public safety following the Sewol ferry sinking on April 16, the National Emergency Management Agency decided to conduct a nationwide fire drill today for the first time in 39 years.

“We are planning to conduct a fire drill for 20 minutes from 2 p.m. Friday,” said Seong Gi-seok, head of the agency’s civil defense department, “which will be the first civil defense practice after the Sewol tragedy and the first nationwide fire drill since 1975.”

Seong added, “Thus far, we have not performed such drills to prevent inconvenience for businesses and their customers, but we decided to hold this one after the Sewol accident sparked safety issues.”

The drill focuses on two areas: evacuating buildings and yielding for emergency vehicles.

When alarms go off, people in public buildings including department stores, malls, movie theaters, bus terminals and schools are required to exit and move to safe areas. The evacuations will be followed by training with fire extinguishers, hydrants and CPR.

During the drill, authorities will deploy emergency vehicles such as fire engines and ambulances to see if drivers on roads make way for them and ensure that those vehicles can get to accident scenes within the so-called golden time, which is typically five minutes.

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