민방위훈련 Civil defense drill

There was a 민방위훈련 (min-bang-ui-hun-nyeon) or civil defense drill yesterday, March 16 from 2 to 220PM. I heard about the scheduled drill last Saturday afternoon while we were listening to tbs eFM on our drive to Incheon Airport. I made it a point to put it on my cellphone’s reminder. I don’t want be caught in a bus during the drill.
Technically, the two Koreas are still at war. This is why every 15th of the month the government holds a civil defense drill. If the 15th falls on a weekend, then it is then held on the nearest weekday. During this time, sirens are sounded at 2PM. The ending siren is at 220 PM. However, on the months of March, August and October a “special” drill is held where traffic is controlled in addition to the air sirens.
Knowing that there will be a civil defense drill, I planned my Monday so that I’d be home before 2PM. Last October, I and two Korean friends took the bus to Itaewon. We forgot about the civil defense drill. Traffic was stalled and we had to endure standing in the bus for 20 minutes more listening to the reminders on what to do if South Korea was attacked.
The photo above was taken at 2:08PM. I got off the bus at 2:01PM. As in the photo, no transportation was allowed to run.


  1. i know it’s supposed to be held every month, but i haven’t heard the siren for the longest time(none for january and february…..and i can’t even remember the last time they had it last year!)so i freaked out!Plus the current threats made by north korea made it more nerve wracking……kkkkk.anyway, living in uijeongbu made it more stressful for me, there are military camps in almost every corner in uijeongbu….yikes!
    chers last blog post..Panic Attack

    1. hi cher! it’s only in march and october that they sound the sirens so loud and traffic is controlled…

  2. Here’s the scenario.
    Within 5-10 minutes after a North Korean attack (either conventional or nuclear), South Korea is still South Korea. While North Korea will be erased from the map and blown to smithereens. So no worries.

    1. I don’t think that is the case. N Korean army is within the 10th rank of the military power. Their weapons are old, but they have good cannons that can reach Northern part of Seoul. Korean air force has good planes but it takes more than a day to get rid of that canons and by that time northern part of Seoul will be wiped out.

  3. …arvinsign erased my worries… joke…
    it’s still scary for a first timer like me and my fellow foreign teachers…

  4. I was about to go to my hagwon. late na dapat ako for my bus but because of the siren naabutan ko pa yung bus ko hehehe. nakatigil naman ang mga saksakyan pero ang mga tao naglalakad pa rin kaya nakilakad na rin ako. ^.^

  5. In case of a Korean War episode II:
    South Korea have US patriot missiles stationed (I saw some of them) in at least 2 or 3 US bases. Any missile launch from the North will be intercepted before it hits the ground. Besides NK is known for its faulty and inaccurate missiles. If it is aimed at Seoul, there’s a 50-60pct chance it will hit Jeju instead and vice versa, and 10 pct chance it will be rerouted to Manila maybe 🙂 (so warn everyone in pinas)
    Also SK Navy (with its KDX destroyers) is gazillion times better than the NK navy (im actually wondering why they called it a Navy). NK Navy is made up of scrap metals floating in the Sea of Japan (i dont want to call it East Sea).
    China will not come to the rescue of NK (its a suicide) and that would drag US and Japan to the war. Thats WW III in North East Asia.
    If that will happen, NK will be pulverized in a few days, and China will play safe and pretend as if nothing happened.
    Then there will be a unified Korea minus communism, and all of us can visit Baekdu san as often as we want.

  6. While the NK threat seems so alarming, they are obviously making a lot of noise because of the new US presidency:-)
    I remember last year, another expat wife (a Czech woman) and I, together with our toddlers were in Yeouido when air sirens were heard. We didn’t know what it meant and when it continued for some more minutes, we hurriedly walked back to the subway… nobody cared about it, we realized:-)
    wendys last blog post..Golf… in the Philippines and Korea

  7. Some of my american friends are joking that they dont need to worry in case of a war, since the Pacific fleet of the US Navy can dispatch a couple of huge ships to rescue all US citizens.
    For Pinoy citizens, just wait (forever) for the Philippine Navy. Oh, and bring your own baon and life jacket, its (for sure) an ill equipped ship and the chance of it having enough resources and food is very very slim 🙂
    For Pinoys with SK citizenship..well do your responsibility for your new country.
    Seriously, this threat probably is just a hype. NK just want attention. KJI needs a new hairdo.

    1. “For Pinoy citizens, just wait (forever) for the Philippine Navy. Oh, and bring your own baon and life jacket, its (for sure) an ill equipped ship and the chance of it having enough resources and food is very very slim”
      —That’s funny, but seriously i’ve been thinking of what to do just in case…..knowing how the Philippine government works I bet it will take them ages to rescue Filipinos in Korea.
      chers last blog post..Panic Attack

  8. there was a korean news report before saying that the average korean isn’t concerned about north korea (apathetic even)…
    in case of a war, i would want to be with my husband and son (and my parents-in-law too)…

    1. in case of war….i told my husband i will try my best to bring them to the philippines(literally STRUGGLE our way out of KOrea)…..when i said THEM it includes my husband, my son, my mother-in-law, my sister-in-law and her husband…..guess what my husband asked me?”how about my father?”……I couldn’t give him an answer….I totally forgot about his father….bwahahahahaha.
      chers last blog post..Panic Attack

        1. i understand….but in my case family first before country….yikes…..kkkk. I can’t imagine leaving my husband behind to fight the enemies…..oh no~
          chers last blog post..Under the Sea

  9. wow! is it still safe to visit SK now? haha! Maybe that’s why my bf just mentioned to me last night that anytime if NK will attack SK, he is always ready to fight..haha!
    then he asked me if I will do the same for Philippines or if Filipinos think the same way…
    I could not give an answer…^^

  10. @ Betchay
    “”there was a korean news report before saying that the average korean isn’t concerned about north korea (apathetic even)… “”
    – i agree. Because the average korean is mostly concern only on any (or all) of the the following
    Korean Men
    1. Baseball and hoping to defeat and humiliate Japan
    2. Soccer and to defeat and humiliate Japan
    3. Dokdo..
    4. Dokdo….
    5. Dokdo…
    6. Drinking Soju and smoking
    7. Playing online games 24/7
    8. Discussion and exaggerating everything about Korea
    9. Thinking how to defeat Japan in all aspects (economics, technology etc)
    for most of them, they still love their prodigal brothers from the north
    Korean Women
    1. Plastic Surgery
    2. Weight Loss
    3. Shoes, Bags
    4. K-pop ughugh
    5. Hair Salon and Nail Art

    1. arvinsign: thanks for dropping by my blog,thanks for the korean war lecture too…..kkkkk…..but korean war is one thing i know, i hope it doesn’t sound like i’m bragging but i have a masters degree in korea studies(sometimes i think pursuing korea studies was not a good idea…..kkkkk).
      chers last blog post..Under the Sea

  11. @ cher
    you’re welcome :)..nice topic and blog you have there. Btw i replied to your post already, we can discuss further there (at least before the actual war happens 🙂 )

  12. right now 2 US destroyer warships (Aegis system equipped)is in the Sea of Japan to shoot down any missile threats from NK. Also, 2 Japanese destroyers is on stand by for surveillance of NK missile activity. (please read details in Korea Times)http://www.koreatimes.co.kr/www/news/nation/2009/03/116_41715.html
    We all know that NK is planning to launch a satellite on the 1st week of April, if it is indeed a missile launch test (instead of communications satellite) then its quite scary.
    “Aegis” system is currently the most advanced and most sophisticated missile defense technology for Naval ships currently employed by the US Navy, UK, Japan as well as Korean Navy.
    The Philippine Navy is employing a system of its own in its ships called the “Aging” system. That means no money for repair of ships, no logistics and no use 🙂

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