This afternoon a few minutes before 2pm, a man began announcing something over the public broadcasting system. I ignored it as usual. I figured it was some sort of community watch type announcement and had nothing to do with me. (They always remind of Charlie Brown’s teacher – wah wah wah wah wah wah.) 😀
When he was done, the principal announced something over the school loud speakers. That was a bit unusual but my co-T seemed unconcerned so I carried on teaching.
Exactly at 2 pm, an air raid siren went off. This happens fairly often and usually everyone ignores them. Today, my students jumped up and ran around turning off the lights, the television and the computer. I began to feel a little alarmed. What on earth was going on?
My co-T began lecturing the students in Korean. During the next ten minutes, I understood the words “electricity”, “power”, “childhood” and “be careful.”
Another siren sounded at 2:10pm. We played Bingo.
At 2:20p.m. one more siren sounded. The students jumped up and ran around turning everything back on. My co-T promised to explain after class, and we continued the lesson from where we had left off before the first siren.
Flummoxed doesn’t even begin to describe how I felt.
“Carrie-teacher,” my co-T exclaimed after class. “Nobody told you about power drill?”
“Um… no?” I replied, unsure how we had gone from air raid sirens to power tools.
Shaking her head at my sad lack of knowledge, she proudly told me that I had just experienced Korea’s first nationwide public blackout drill.
Apparently Korea is currently experiencing an energy crisis and the government wants people to be prepared in case of blackouts. According to my co-T, everyone uses their AC in the summer (understandably) so the potential for blackouts increases.
You can read about it here if you’d like: http://view.koreaherald.com/kh/view.php?ud=20120619001033&cpv=0
I was amazed. Was it really necessary to practice a power outage? Didn’t you just light candles and eat all the food in your fridge so it wouldn’t go bad? Not according to the Korean government.
From today’s emergency drill, I learned that during a blackout, I should listen to a lecture about energy conservation and play Bingo. Excellent. 😀