Seoul expats told what to do in case war breaks out with North Korea

Residents of South Korea – including the sizeable British community – have been advised to take precautions against the possibility of a conflict breaking out on the Korean Peninsula and are being instructed how to protect themselves from massed artillery fire, a chemical weapons attack and even how to survive a nuclear blast.

British residents of Seoul, however, have played down the severity of the situation. “Every so often, the tensions rise, there are talks, North Korea walks out, they talk some more and things calm down again”, said Mike Breen, author of “The New Koreans” and a resident of South Korea since 1982.

Soldiers wearing gas masks perform inspections inside a subway train during an anti-terror drill on the sidelines of the Ulchi Freedom Guardian (UFG) military exercises  Credit: Bloomberg

“I walked to work this morning and I noticed nothing different”, he told The Telegraph. “At the moment, there is no panic or even an atmosphere of concern. We have been here before.”

Andrew Salmon, a journalist and author who lives in Seoul, echoed those beliefs, adding that “life continues as normal”.

“I don’t think there is any chance of war breaking out unless the US decides to carry out a pre-emptive attack and I just don’t get the sense that is something that is likely to happen”, he said.

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Nevertheless, citing guidelines drawn up by the Ministry of Public Administration and Security, The Korea Herald on Tuesday printed a list of measures for residents to take in the event of “the worst-case scenario”.

Members of the public are being advised to prepare an emergency supply kit “designed to keep you alive while staying in a shelter for as long as it takes”. The kit needs to include medicines, food and water, a battery-powered radio, a torch, spare batteries and gas masks.

Foreign residents are also advised to check with their companies or organisations on evacuation procedures, as well as to follow instructions provided by embassies.

In the event of artillery attacks, civilians are advised to seek shelter in one of the 24,000 reinforced buildings, underground stations and subterranean parking spaces that have been designated as shelters.

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Residents are being told to put on gas masks or hold a cloth over their noses and mouths at the first sign of a chemical weapons attack. Anyone indoors is advised to close the windows and seal ventilators or cracks…

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