The government said Friday it is pushing to require more public places such as movie theaters and shopping malls to broadcast alarms during civil defense drills.
The Ministry of Public Safety and Security said it will propose a revision bill to the current Framework Act on Civil Defense that requires terminals, subways, movie theaters and malls of sizes over 3,000 square meters to join such drills.
So far, the siren warnings have only been aired through radio, television and speakers installed on the rooftops of public buildings.
The ministry explained that the proposed move is to increase awareness of evacuation in real-life situations and to be better prepared in protecting citizens.
The government aims to implement the new rule from January next year.
South Korea has conducted nationwide 20-minute-long safety drills twice a year since 1951, in order to practice measures to minimize casualties and damages in wartime conditions, and prepare for man-made or natural disasters.
During the drills, safety warnings are aired with a 3-minute-long siren. When the air raid siren is sounded, traffic is stopped and pedestrians are asked to follow emergency routes to the nearest underground shelters, subway stations, or other underground facilities. Those who are driving are asked to park their cars immediately to participate in the safety drill.
The current law states that safety drills can be conducted on every 15th of each month and all residents must participate in them. However, those who do not participate in the drills do not receive any penalty.
By Kim Da-sol (email@example.com)