Nationwide air raid drill will be held this afternoonAn annual nationwide drill will take place for 20 minutes from 2 p.m. today to train people to take shelter during a possible air raid from North Korea, the Ministry of Interior and Safety announced on Monday.
“In this time of escalating security tension on the Korean Peninsula, due to threats from the North about bombing Guam and statements about the U.S. ‘military solutions,’ the drill will be conducted this time in all seriousness,” the ministry said in its statement. “Fighter jets will fly over some 40 cities in the country, including Seoul, and use smoke bombs to recreate a scene like that during an actual air raid.”
“We’ve worked with Arirang TV to inform foreigners about the drill, too,” said Huh Sung-yoon, an official of the Civil Defense Division of the Emergency Preparedness Policy Bureau of the ministry. “The drill has been held every year since 1972, but the media is definitely talking about it more this year, probably because of the heightened security concerns on the Peninsula. The use of smoke bombs from fight jets is new though. The jets are going to fly some 800 meters [2,624 feet] above ground, so I’m not sure how visible they will be.”
When the siren rings out at 2 p.m., all pedestrians are asked to find the nearest underground shelter designated by the government within five minutes. Police will assist pedestrians.
“People in office buildings or at homes are asked to move in an organized manner to the basement level of the building during the drill,” Huh said. “Everyone is asked to find an underground shelter by 2:05 p.m. and stay put until 2:15 p.m.”
Drivers are asked to park on the right side of the road and listen to the radio from 2:00 p.m. to 2:05 p.m. Drivers on highways, however, are to keep driving through the drill.
“Most radio channels will be about the drill during this time,” Huh said. “Another siren will ring out at 2:15 p.m., announcing it is safe for pedestrians to move on, but with wariness about their surroundings.”
The drill will end at 2:20 p.m.
“Those who are not to take part in the drill are residents of North Chungcheong’s Cheongju and Goesan, Jeungpyeong, Jincheon and Boeun counties and South Chungcheong’s Cheonan, because they have been heavily affected by rainfall lately,” the ministry said. “Additionally, hospitals, trains and subways, cars on highways, planes and ships should continue operating normally.”
Minister of Interior and Safety Kim Boo-kyum will take part in the drill in Gimpo and demonstrate at a shelter how to perform CPR and put on gas masks.
BY ESTHER CHUNG [firstname.lastname@example.org]