Okay before anyone panics, no there was no fire. But I did have the pleasure (?) of witnessing a very different fire drill !

Last week at school, I arrived one day and noticed that all of the kids had damp towels on their desks. One to question everything, I immediately asked my assistant what they were for. She said they are for the fire drill at 9am. I thought weird but okay.

I finished my lesson and decided to go and wait outside so I could watch. Well – it is very different here!

The school sets off smoke bombs(?) inside the school, and the kids RUN outside. No orderly exit – they run. Smoke is billowing out of the school while the kids all wait on the football field.

Once the firemen “put out the fire”, the kids all gather around with their classmates and are taught how to properly use fireextinguishers. The firemen have barrels with wood inside, they pour liberal amounts of gasoline and set it on fire. The extinguishers are given to the kids to show them how to use it.

It was fascinating and at the same time a bit terrifying. All I could think of was that someone would fall while running out of the school and would get trampled. Don’t get me started on the gasoline part!!

Once I went back into the school, smoke was still in there. The kids came back and at least 3 of them in my next class coughed the entire time. Perhaps an asthma issue because of the smoke??

While I was fascinated with it all, I still appreciate the way I was taught to deal with fire drills. Another very interesting thing to witness in China!!

I hope there is never a fire….

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