11:30am and I am in my apartment and I hear sirens. Sirens like I have heard in movies, like in Twister or maybe it was Jurassic Park. They are not coming from the apartment building (as in a fire alarm) but rather outside. What now? The idea of a typhoon warning or some attack of some sort ran through my mind. I Googled it and found out it is National Defense Education Day and the sirens are a drill. That made me stay in my apartment until 11:45 when it was time to meet friends from brunch. When I hit street level, I noticed signs and a banner (all in Chinese) there was also a big notice on the bulletin board (also in Chinese). I bet these were communication about the drill. According to the article, the blurb I found I added below and highlighted my favorite parts, no wonder I had no idea what was going only local residents need to know about such things, the rest of you… you are on your own! Which is interesting for foreigners are required to register with the police when you enter China. I had to go and present my passport, work permit, work contract, and my lease (it is like the bank) they have all my contact information and yet no phone call or notice in English about the drill.
Public Warned Not To Panic During Exercise
Shanghai residents were Wednesday reminded by city officials not to panic next Saturday, when the 3rd annual citywide siren drill will be carried out for the country’s 11th National Defense Education Day.
The anti-air raid exercise will contain a series of three sirens over a period of 28 minutes from 11:35 am to 12:03 pm on September 17, before which local residents will once again be made aware of the drill through short message service and local radio stations, officials said Wednesday at a press conference.
“Civil defense is a critical part of national defense,” said Wang Huying, a senior official from the Shanghai Municipal Civil Defense Office. “The drill will mainly target residents in high-rises, except those living near the airports, and allow more people to become familiar with the alarm signal to reduce losses in case war or natural disaster should come.”
He added that officers will be stationed around the city at busy public areas during the drill, who will direct participating residents to shelters temporarily, while those at home during the exercise should stay put and pay attention to the sirens to improve their ability of distinguishing the signals, said Wang.
The first siren will sound for three minutes and is meant to signal when an assumed enemy is approaching the city. If this were to actually happen, residents would be advised to turn off their power at this time and make their way to designated shelters, said Wang.
The next three-minute sirens are characterized by shorter intervals, when residents who have not yet found a place of safety, should do so at this time, if the city were really in danger, he added.
The final siren, which will also wail for a period of three minutes, will signal the conclusion of the exercise to let residents, who have been directed to temporary shelters, know that it is safe for them to return home.