Friday, November 30, 2012

Chinese Fire Drill

I survived my first Chinese fire drill…at least the first one not involving a car.

While in school in the US, we had strict fire drill protocol.  If you heard the piercing fire alarm, you lined up at the door and quietly walked out of the building in a straight line.  You were to remain silent, and a teacher would take attendance ensure everyone made it out safely.  Once given the all clear, you would walk back into the building and continue business as usual.

Imagine my surprise when I heard loud fire truck sirens outside yesterday morning.  Meg (my co-teacher) and I stumbled outside to find kids hauling it out of the school.  I must have had a look of amused horror on my face because a local teacher started laughing and said,

“Don’t worry.  It is not real.”

I grabbed my phone and got some footage. 

The drill fascinated me.  Kids sprinted outside with white cloths to protect their faces from fumes.    I was amazed that no one tripped nor was anyone trampled. While the scene was chaotic, the kids ran right to their class lines in the schoolyard.  When the alarm stopped, the kids stood at attention and listened to what I assumed to be a fire safety lecture. 

Rumor has it that sometimes in China firefighters will start a small fire and extinguish it in front of the kids as part of the fire drill.  Much to my dismay, our drill was smoke free.   What an exciting interruption of my day!