Annual air-raid drills this Friday - don't get caught out

This Friday 5th August, is the annual air-raid drill in Northern Taiwan.

30 minutes from 2PM.

For those who don’t know, this means that if you are anywhere outside, during this time, in a vehicle or on foot, you have to stop for 30 minutes. So make sure you’re not on your way somewhere at this time. It’s not fun.

What’s even mroe worrying is that the Taipei Times reports that there will be a 3 hour drill in Taipei only on Aug 24 form 1:30PM. 3 hours! They haven’t done this before, have they? I’m really hoping that this one isn’t as serious. Imagine being forced to wait in the 7-11 ofr three hours. I’d have to get to work an hour and a half early, or an hour and a half late. What a shit.


Ooh, this will be a good opportunity for me to do a photo shoot to promote my 18th (and counting) album of schmaltzy Mandarin and Cantonese love ballads.

Thanks for the heads-up; I had no idea! I’ll be in the office though - are we allowed to move at all, or is it like Simon Says?

[quote=“Stray Dog”]Thanks for the heads-up; I had no idea! I’ll be in the office though - are we allowed to move at all, or is it like Simon Says?[/quote]You’re not allowed to move outside. So make sure you are at home or at work when it starts, or you might find yourself shuffled into an air raid shelter for the duration. Or stuck in the 7-11 with nothing but black eggs and mango milk iced milk for sustenance.

I have the sneaking suspicion that most people are just going to ignore this and go about their business. Marshal law ended some time ago and the chrome-helmeted MPs are long gone.

You can’t ignore it when you’re in the MRT system. They just don’t let you out.

Thanks so much for posting this! I would have been trapped like a rat as I was going to be on the road at precisely 2pm tomorrow.

I owe you half an hour of my life Bu Lai En, plus the gray hair and ulcer that I would have gotten from spending half an hour with a local cabbie (while the meter runs).

On a broader note, if one of the many NGO groups that people here are always wanting to form needs an issue I have one for them.

Issue: The Various forms of Air Raid Drills Should be absolutely abolished unless the ROC military just wants to blare the siren for a minute or so while the people go on about their business.

Legal Basis for this:
My individual freedom of movement and my right (acknowledged under all forms of international law and the ROC Constitution) to be free from fucking dick-brained government “exercises” such as everyone must hide for an hour while the ROC military/civil defense plays “circle jerk” with the air raid sirens.

No fooling, there is a real issue that I could get behind. These air raid drills are the quintessential example of pathetic government stupidity showing itself as an empty show.

seriously, thanks again,
take care,
Capt. Brian
San Chung Civil Defense and Indifference Agency

I’ll be sure to avoid phone booths and toilet cubicles at that time.

If you’re with a friend, they aren’t so bad. :smiley:

No thanks, Comrade, but thanks for the offer all the same. :noway:

Air raid drills used to be a regular occurence. Amazing how quickly the streets used to clear once those sirens went off. Then, people gradually stopped paying attention to them and the regular drills were ultimately cancelled. I reckon a lot of Taiwanese and old timers will get nostalgic come Friday.

Of course, considering a typhoon is here, most of us will already be inside! :smiley:

Is this story at the Taipei Times site?

I thought I heard it mentioned on the Chinese language news this morning - I think they said it was going to be postponed till September sometime because of the typhoon.

Can anybody fill me in as to what purpose (if any) these pre-planned, advance-warning air raid drills serve?

In my experience, the roads are empty 20 minutes before the time, police are in place etc etc. The siren goes and the cops step into the (empty) streets.

How does this gel with a real-life situation? Does it test the responses of the police and military to any sort of emergency? No. Does it test the responses of the citizenry? No.

If (when?) there is a real air raid, how much warning will there really be? How quickly will people really react? This “practice” doesn’t give any indication of what response there really would be, in my opinion anyway.

Here are my suggestions:

  1. Do not announce drills, even to police and other officials below a certain rank.
  2. NT$500 fines for people who do leave the buildings they are in, other than for medical emergencies, of course.

Yes, this lack of warning would inconvenience us all much more, as we couldn’t plan ahead to not be travelling at the time of the drill. This would mean getting stuck in the 7-11 as one poster mentioned, but, rather than a total waste of government resources, they would in fact serve some purpose.

Maybe they plan for everyone to play dead when China invades. Doesn’t work with bears, apparently, but then Chinese aren’t bears, are they. :wink:

Hang on, this might be one of those drills that involves police/rescue personnel in a specific, restricted location. There’s been no fuss about it elsewhere in the media that I’ve seen; I suspect that Taipei would already be hopping mad if it had to close down for three hours.

As for the utility of the drills, the inconvenience is actually minor, as anyone who has been through one knows, and serves as a good reminder of what the country faces. Any amount of training is worthwhile, especially for the public who otherwise would have no clue what the siren was or what it meant. Mock it as you may, brianlkennedy, but last I heard there are missiles pointed at Taipei, possibly at your neighborhood.

And DSN, if there were no earlier announcement of the drill, then how would the average person on the street know that it wasn’t the genuine article? The potential for panic would be considerable, which is precisely what this drill should be able to help lessen in case the worst happens.

You can’t ignore these if you’re outside. The police make you stop.

The Taipei Times report seemed to say that the three hour drill on the 24th is the same. But as zhujianlun says, I suspect thismight be a mistake. A three-hour shut down of the city would be a huge problem.


Bu Lai En’s right. You can’t ignore them, well in Taipei city/county you can’t anyway. The police patrol at every corner and will usher you into the nearest shop if you’re on a sidewalk.

Uhuh, like when the real, unannounced air raid happens, there isn’t going to be panic? Having a pre-planned drill where we all know in advance what, where and how it’s going to happen doesn’t improve the public’s ability to not panic one iota.

Better would be public service announcements / posters that remind people that IF they hear an air raid siren, they are to immediately get off the streets. The whole idea of a drill is NOT to know that it’s real. Then it wouldn’t matter if it was for real or not in terms of the way people respond, and in the meantime we would be able to gauge the responses of police and citizens.

I’m with DSN.

It seems these air raid drills are carried out like they are done by the same people who do inspections of buxibans. “Hey, we’re going to inspect you in a week. Tell all your illegal workers not to show up then.” What good is that?

If you want to reduce panic but still test the response of emergency personel (not so much the general populace), make an announcement that there will be a drill sometime in a 2 week period. Don’t give the time. Have some instructions for the general populace broadcast on radio and TV (all stations) in the weeks leading up to the event so they can know what to expect.