School Fire Drills in China Are Way More Intense Than What You’re Used To

Let’s face it: fire drills are boring and they do nothing to prepare you for a real disaster. Recognising the need for some serious training, a school in China recently collaborated with the local fire department to take traditional fire drills to the next level.

During the mandatory annual event hosted by Nanhu Vocational School, in Hongkou District, Shanghai, students had to evacuate the building at the sound of a bell. But they also had to run through a series of burning doorways with napkins over their mouths, to avoid smoke inhalation. After crossing the obstacles, the students used fire extinguishers to put off the flames. Over 1,000 students from different grades attended the course.


Photo: Xinhua/Fan Jun

“We don’t want to leave anything to chance, to make sure that students are prepared for all eventualities in the event of a fire,” said fire brigade spokesperson Chen She. “It might only be a small blaze, but fire can spread very quickly, filling rooms with smoke, and we want them to be prepared for the reality of a blaze which will save lives in the long run.”


Photo: Xinhua/Fan Jun

The use of real fire during drills is apparently common in Chinese schools. “This was obviously a bigger event than usual, but schools do often have actual fire in the demonstrations,” a former Chinese student told Daily Mail. “Usually the fire is in the corner and there’s a little bit of smoke as we get shown how to evacuate, but nothing like this.”


Of course, there are dangers involved in organising such events, but a group of professional firefighters were watching over the students, making sure that they stayed safe and the flames were all properly extinguished after the drill.

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