This morning Israel held an emergency drill. Air-raid sirens (up-and-down) were sounded for two minutes. Schoolchildren and workers were expected to go to their safe areas, while those at home were to go into shelters or safe rooms. People traveling or outside were supposed to ignore it.
I was home and decided to go to the shelter. My teenager, who was also home, didn’t. The head of the residents’ committee had told my husband that there was some kind of machsom (barrier) in the shelter. It seems our shelter is filled with several years’ worth of junk and a corresponding amount of dirt.
Those of us in the Tel Aviv area are supposed to be able to get to our shelter within two minutes. It took me about two minutes to get down six flights of stairs.
The shelter was locked.
Knowing I wouldn’t get anywhere with the neighbors, I called the municipality’s hotline (106, in every city). They confirmed my address and offered to send someone. I expect they will put up a letter threatening to fine the building if the shelter doesn’t get prepared. They didn’t even ask my name and pulled my address from the computer based on the number I called from.
I don’t think getting to the shelter in two minutes with no advance notice—especially with children—is very realistic. But I sure want to have the option.
You can see pictures of Mimi’s shelter here.
The site of the Home Front Command has information in English about preparing for emergencies:
It is clear, therefore, that the time to learn, train and prepare is during a period of peace and calm. The assumption that people in a crisis can follow directions they have not prepared for is very much mistaken. This is why it is necessary to set an organized and consistent process of prior planning and preparation into place.
The site also covers the various threats, essential supplies, preparing for evacuation, and explaining your emergency plan to your children.