Home > News > Regional
Friday June 20, 2014 MYT 2:40:00 PM
Friday June 20, 2014 MYT 2:43:18 PM
SEOUL: Workers, shoppers and hotel guests evacuated buildings across South Korea on Friday in an unprecedented nationwide fire drill to beef up public safety following the ferry disaster that claimed around 300 lives in April.
In Seoul City Hall, smoke-belching cannisters were set off in the main lobby as staff streamed out of the building, covering their mouths and noses with cloths.
Outside, they watched first response teams giving CPR demonstrations.
South Korea has held mass civil emergency drills - largely connected to the risk of attack by North Korea - for decades, but a spokesman for the National Emergency Management Agency (NEMA) said Friday's exercise was the first of its kind.
It comes two months after South Korea's worst civil disaster, with the sinking of the 6,825-tonne passenger ferry Sewol off the southern coast on April 16.
Close to 300 people were killed and the response of the government and emergency services came in for intense criticism, prompting President Park Geun-Hye to announce that the national coastguard would be disbanded.
The NEMA spokesman said Friday's drill was aimed at honing emergency response times to a major fire, with a particular focus on the "golden hour" - the time period following traumatic injury during which there is the highest likelihood that prompt medical treatment will prevent death.
"We want to see how quickly we can create and maintain proper access for fire vehicles and ambulances during the golden hour," the spokesman told AFP.
With public confidence shattered by the Sewol tragedy, President Park vowed a complete overhaul of national safety practices, which critics said had been sidelined in the drive for economic development.-AFP
Tags / Keywords:
SKorea, accident, fire, drill, regional
Seven killed in S. Korea bus terminal fire
S. Korea calls for dialogue
No foul play in condo fire, says coroner
Japan's PM Abe plots warmer ties with South Korea ahead of summit
Student tragedy in S. Korea as building collapse kills 10
Mapping drone prompts China to scramble fighter jets
Thaw reveals Antarctic explorer's century-old notebook
India's Modi meets troops in Diwali day Kashmir visit
Gunmen kill eight Shiites on bus in southwest Pakistan, police say
Facebook's Zuckerberg wages China charm offensive - in Mandarin
British woman, 24, dies during cosmetic surgery in Thailand
‘MH370 in southern Indian Ocean’
Gauntlet: Old school hack n’ slash
Thumbs up for more parks
Copyright © 1995-2014 Star Publications (M) Bhd (Co No 10894-D)