April 23, 2006

School Days: Emergency Hood

Along with indoor shoes, students need their emergency hoods on the first day of school. The hoods fit into a case that slips over the backs of their chairs. The hoods are padded and fireproof. They are quickly taken out and put on in case there is falling debris or flying hot embers. An identification tag and 'in case of emergency information' are in each hood. See the round metal brads on the side of the hood? Those are there so that the children can hear instructions. They have safety drills from time to time.

On September 1st every year, there are emergency drills all over Japan. Even in offices. Children have safety lectures and drills. On that day at some schools, mothers are required to go to meet their children and to walk home with them. As the mothers wait on the playground, everyone comes out of the school wearing a hood.

Even the teachers and principal wear hoods. The students sit with their classes on the ground (usually in the hot sun) as mothers stand in line to greet the teacher and meet their children.

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