When we were still schooling, we would always welcome fire drills because they help break us from the monotony of sitting in class and listen to the teachers drone on about algebraic equations. But if fire drills were taken up a notch to simulate real fires, would we still welcome it with open arms?
During the mandatory annual event hosted by Nanhu Vocational School, in Hongkou District, Shanghai, students had to evacuate the building at the sound of a bell. But they also had to run through a series of doorways lit on fire with napkins over their mouths, to avoid smoke inhalation. After crossing the obstacles, the students used fire extinguishers to put out the flames. Over 1,000 students from different grades attended the course.
“We don’t want to leave anything to chance, to make sure that students are prepared for all eventualities in the event of a fire,” said fire brigade spokesperson Chen She. “It might only be a small blaze, but fire can spread very quickly, filling rooms with smoke, and we want them to be prepared for the reality of a blaze which will save lives in the long run.”
While not all schools in China practice this, the use of real fire during drills is getting increasingly common in Chinese schools. “This was obviously a bigger event than usual, but schools do often have actual fire in the demonstrations,” a former Chinese student told Daily Mail. “Usually the fire is in the corner and there’s a little bit of smoke as we get shown how to evacuate, but nothing like this.”
Of course, there are dangers involved in organising such events, but a group of professional firefighters were watching over the students, making sure that they stayed safe and the flames were all properly extinguished after the drill.
What do you think? Is this real-life fire drill such a good idea? It seems dangerous and a little bit crazy, but on the other hand, it really prepares the children and teaches them what to do in the case of a real fire.
Check out the video below to see how the school fire drills in China are conducted.