A civil defense siren was set to go off across the country on Wednesday, with vehicles on designated roads to be ordered to pull over and people to evacuate to shelters or underground facilities as South Korea holds the first air raid exercise in six years.
The 20-minute exercise, set to kick off at 2 p.m., comes a day before the beginning of an eight-day launch window for what North Korea claims will be a satellite-carrying space rocket launch that the outside world considers a test of long-range missile technology.
The air-raid alarm will remain in place for 15 minutes, after which people are allowed to move around.
Once the siren sounds, people are required to evacuate to air-raid shelters or underground facilities. Subway trains will remain in operation, but passengers are not allowed to leave stations even after getting off trains while the air-raid alarm remains in effect.
Vehicles on 216 sections of road across the country, including a boulevard leading to Seoul Station from the Gwanghwamun intersection at the center of Seoul, are required to pull over to the side of road and remain there for 15 minutes.
Around 480 multiuse facilities, including large supermarkets and movie theaters, plan to take part in the drill and guide customers to take shelter safely, but hospitals as well as subway, train, airplane and ferry services will operate normally.
A total of 57 regions designated as special disaster zones due to heavy rains last month and Typhoon Khanun will be exempt from the drill.
Around 17,000 locations, including apartment basements and subway stations, were designated as defense drill shelters last year.
The civil defense drills, organized to prepare the public for an air raid scenario, including missile provocations from North Korea, was not staged since August 2017, amid a thaw in relations with North Korea and COVID-19.
Source: Yonhap News Agency