Problem: Being Apathetic on Emergency Situations
Problem: Being Apathetic on Emergency Situations
  • Reporter Jeong Yoon-han
  • 승인 2016.10.12 16:58
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Due to continuous earthquakes occurring in South Korea, there are lots of controversy about the evacuation plan and being prepared for another attack. Lots and lots of problems are brought up to the surface. Critics are saying that this country has learned nothing from previous disasters: Sewol, Sampoong Department Store, etc.
The main problem was the insufficient correspondence of the Ministry of Public Safety and Security (MPSS) when 5.1 and 5.8 magnitude earthquakes struck the country. MPSS’s homepage froze and people were unable to gather information about earthquake evacuation at the time it was most needed.
There were also problems with the cell broadcasting service (CBS), a service set to warn people when a natural disaster (earthquake, heavy rain, heat wave, etc.) occurs by sending text message. The text message warning the 5.1 magnitude earthquake on Sep. 12 arrived 13 minutes after the earthquake came. The point of CBS is to alert people of danger and help them to quickly evacuate. However, there is no point of sending these messages if they arrive 10 minutes past the situation, especially when it is an earthquake.
According to an interview by Dong-A Ilbo, Professor Naosi Hirata (director of Earthquake Research Institute) predicts that a 7.0 magnitude earthquake will strike the Korean peninsula. Whether this prediction turns out to be true or not is not important. If it comes, will people be ready? The answer is no. There is a fundamental problem beneath everything that will eventually take all of us down; we are not familiar with emergency situations, including natural catastrophes.
The first thought that comes to mind when hearing an emergency or fire alarm is thinking it is a fake. It doesn’t matter if the alarm turns out to be a fake. Others may not think this way and actually would want to evacuate. However, because of caring too much of other people’s attention, they end up the same way.
The biggest reason for this lack of awareness is from the absence of teaching emergency manuals. The government should not ask of people to know what to do in case of emergency since not a lot of people voluntarily read the manuals. Instead, a policy should be made mandatory for schools to teach students, such as making it a subject. Currently, there are emergency drills once in a while, but it is not enough to take action in a real life situation.
Also, Koreans, or rather people in Korea, do not consider emergency situations as an important matter. Koreans have a sense of feeling that it is okay unless they become the victims. This thought of “it’s okay unless it’s me” is deeply rooted inside us, making people think they are safe
It is time to get out of that mishap. Of course, earthquake is a typical case and a natural phenomenon that is nearly impossible to predict. The best people can do is to be alert and act appropriately when it becomes a real-life situation. However, efforts can and must be done to minimize the damage and help the victims get back on feet.