In Israel, it just isn’t effective.
A few weeks ago, we visited the Negev with the kids. On the way, we went through a kibbutz that theoretically is within kassam rocket range from Gaza. As we were sitting there, the kids playing in the playground, and us having a leisurely lunch under some trees, the air raid sirens started wailing.
I looked around.
People kept on walking, kids kept on playing. The sirens went through their 2 minutes long wail and that was it. About half an hour later, it happened again. I have no idea if a rocket launch had been detected in Gaza, or if someone was testing the sirens. Either case, nobody seemed bothered.
It’s not unique to air raid sirens either. I was visiting a new supermarket with my son yesterday and the fire alarm went off. The place was crowded, yet other than complaining about the noise, nobody reacted.
Now, I don’t know what it’s like in other places. From movies and TV Shows I’ve seen, people in the US appear to be more disciplined: fire alarm goes off and everyone calmly walks out of the shop, waiting outside for the all clear.
Never ever seen it happen in Israel.
I need to clarify something here – people aren’t careless. If you are in Sderot and the air raid sirens go off, you dive for shelter. Where the risk is real, people react. However, it’s the risk that people respond to – not the “instruction”. I think it’s yet another indication of the inherently anarchistic nature of Israelis – do what you think is right, not what the “powers to be” tell you to.
How do people where you live react to fire alarms (or air raid sirens if you have them)? Do they follow the official guidelines?