Today is the 5th anniversary of the Sewol-ho ferry sinking and is also the 5th National Safety Day. The day was created right after the disaster to learn lessons from it and make Korea a safer country.
Prime Minister Lee Nak-yon said at the national safety day event on Tuesday that the government had improved national safety inspections and integrated safety information systems.
The central government is also in the process of unifying networks for disaster response as it was pointed out that the separate communication lines that disaster agencies had during the 2014 ferry sinking hindered rescue efforts.
A total of 333 agencies in 8 fields including the police, firefighters, local governments and the military will be on the same line when the work is completed in 2025.
"The biggest change since the Sewol-ho ferry accident is the public's perspective on safety and how the president reacts to a national crisis. Central and local governments are also systematically working together in terms of safety and crisis management."
At the school level, students must now take safety classes, and elementary school students must take survival swimming classes. Soon after the ferry sinking, schools were advised to go in smaller groups for field trips and a safety instructor was required to be present. And these measures are recently proving their effectiveness.
"One such example is the recent Sokcho fire. A group of students was on a field trip but they said they were able to evacuate safely without panicking because they previously had training."
However, the expert still thinks there's much to be done such as strengthening the penalties for violating safety regulations since people still tend to neglect safety regulations if the penalty is not severe enough.
Lee Min-sun, Arirang News.