In light of a number of recent catastrophes, including the Daegu subway train tragedy, the Seoul Metropolitan Fire & Disaster Headquarters established the Seoul Civic Disaster Training Center (C.D.T.C) in Neung-dong, Gwangjin-gu this January in order to train its citizens how to react during sudden emergencies.
The C.D.T.C. consists of four floors three above and one underground. Each floor has rooms designed for developing appropriate reactions suitable for different types of emergencies. The Earthquake Experience Room, the Storm & Flood Experience Room, the Fire Experience Room, and the Escaping from Smoke in the Labyrinth Room are the most visited places in the center. In these areas, participants can partake in realistic simulations of emergencies.
In the Earthquake Experience Room, for instance, people experience an simulated earthquake of a seismic intensity of seven of the Richter scale, and learn how to react appropriately. In the Storm & Flood Experience Room, everyone is required to put on raincoats and boots in order to experience storms of velocities from 10m/s to 70m/s.
Park Ju-dong (21), a visitor to the C.D.T.C., found the experience helpful: "I did not know how it would feel when an earthquake really occurred. It was nice to be instructed exactly what to doturn off the gas, leave the door open, and get under a table with a soft cushion over my head. It is great that we can actually practice these things here in the center."
Another visitor, Yi To-gyung (20), thinks the Fire Experience Room is the most helpful course: "I did not have a chance to handle a fire extinguisher before. Since a fire is a frequently occurring disaster, being familiar with fire equipment is really important."
The general public, especially clubs in colleges and parents with young children welcome the opening of the center, and as proof, the reservation list for 600 people a day is booked until the end of July. However, Kim Tae-sung, a staff member at the Center says, "This is just the beginning of our effort to prevent all kinds of disasters. In Japan, there are about 150 centers built for the safety of citizens. We expect our center to educate and train the public, especially children and students, and reduce risks in our everyday lives."
People who want to take part in the training program can sign up on the homepage, http://safe119.seoul.go.kr, or call (02) 2049-4000. The center plans to charge an admission fee of 700 won for adults starting in July.
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