Students of all ages prep for disaster at safety experience center

The first floor is apparently themed on natural disasters, but a seemingly new feature is ship evacuation. Four years on, traumatic memories of the 2014 ferry Sewol sinking still don’t rest easy.

A model of the ship Anjeon-ho (Safety Ship) stands just to the right of the main entrance. It’s intended to look fun and cartoonish, but nobody can look at that and not think of the ferry Sewol. As we boarded, the guide made a surprisingly dark joke that we were bound for Jeju Island, the same destination as the Sewol.

This section was entertaining, perhaps too entertaining. The ship is capable of rocking, and a video creates the sense of motion, with a jarring impact as the ship hits a rock. Then participants must put on lifejackets and evacuate down a slide. In reality I doubt there’d be a metal slide like one found on a playground, but the important lessons are deciding when to abandon ship, as well as putting on a lifejacket and the correct posture to ensure safe entry into the water, protecting the head and keeping you from getting a noseful of water.

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