SINGAPORE - The three Primary 6 pupils were trying to make their way to safety by crawling through a wall of smoke.
Navigating their way down the darkened corridor, they could hardly see.
Thankfully, this was not a real fire but a simulation exercise.
One that is available at a new centre to educate the young to be better prepared when the unexpected happens.
Yesterday, the Singapore Civil Defence Force (SCDF) unveiled its new Emergency Preparedness Centre (EPC), which was launched by Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean (see report, above).
It is located next to the existing Civil Defence Heritage Gallery within the Central Fire Station at 62 Hill Street.
The EPC houses interactive exhibits to educate the public about the skills needed to prepare for emergencies.
There are seven exhibits including a fire extinguisher simulator, a fire safety and evacuation gallery, and a 3D Icube virtual reality simulator.
The Icube uses immersive technology to give visitors a near-realistic experience of natural disasters such as typhoons and tsunamis.
Trying out the smoke chamber in the fire safety and evacuation gallery last Monday were the pupils from Park View Primary School.
Their teacher, who wanted to be known only as Mr Davinder, 33, said this was an excellent way to learn about being ready for an emergency in a safe and fun way.
"This is as close as you can get to a real emergency without being in one.
"This centre is good because it kick-starts children's awareness of emergency preparedness," he said.
His students, Muhammad Fikri, Jasleen Kaur, and Vaibhav Sharma, are part of the Junior Civil Defence Lionhearter programme that started in 2013.
It has been adopted in 35 primary schools.
Vaibhav learnt about the danger of overloading a power socket at the EPC.
He said: "I went home and told my mother that she overloaded the power socket. It is very dangerous."
He said it was due to the large number of electronic items the family bought, such as new DVD players, Wi-Fi router, and lights in the living room.
Lieutenant-Colonel Bob Tan, 43, told The New Paper that the centre uses vegetable oil to create the smoke in the smoke chamber, instead of burning wood or other inflammable objects.
The smoke from the vegetable oil is safer to inhale compared to smoke from objects like plastic, which is often toxic.
It is also less dense, ensuring that participants do not suffocate from breathing it in, as they would in a normal fire.
Lt-Col Tan said that emergency preparedness skills are being imparted through the primary school curriculum.
But there are no means for the pupils to experience what they learn in real life.
He said the EPC hopes to address this need.
This article was first published on February 03, 2015.
Get The New Paper for more stories.