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Earthquake Safety for you and your family

We hope you are not one of those people who think that earthquakes will never effect you.
Approximately 20% of all earthquakes to date that have occurred globally have struck the Japanese archipelago. The Great East Japan Earthquake on March 11, 2011 had a recorded magnitude 9.0. So, chances are that any major earthquake may hit your area. Here are some tips for general ways and means to protect you and your family before, during, and after an earthquake.

Before

-List of things to store in case of emergency ("Emergency Kit")

Things that would be useful include bottled water, flash light, retort pouches, canned foods, can openers, biscuits, chocolates, your insurance certificate (hokensho), driver’s license, personal seal, bank books, cash, powdered milk, paper diapers, baby bottles, your own prescription drugs, cotton, bandages, helmet, pair of gloves, blanket, radio, backup batteries, candles, matches, underclothing, jumpers, etc.

During

-Stay calm and seek safety.

Get under the nearest desk or table to protect yourself from falling objects. Try to cover your head with a cushion or pillow.

-Stay calm and prevent a fire when you can.

When earthquakes hit cities, secondary disasters such as fire are the cause of major damage. Putting out fires is important, but you should wait until the quake has ceased before trying to do so.

-Secure an exit.

When a large-scale earthquake hits, leaned building frames shift, making it difficult to open doors. When you start to feel an earthquake, open a door right away to ensure an escape route. Do not go outside until it is safe.

-Stay inside until your safety is confirmed.

Running outside without thinking is the last thing you want to do when an earthquake strikes. Collapsing buildings and falling fences are among the most dangerous things to watch out for. Wait until the earthquake is over and then carefully go outside, being mindful of falling objects.

After

-How to confirm your family members’ safety.

Call out the names of your family members in the house to make sure they are OK. Help each other care for the injured.

-Wear shoes or slippers to move around inside the house.

After the quake has ceased, wear a pair of shoes or slippers to protect yourself from broken glasses and other dangerous objects that might have fallen onto the floor.

-Confirm the safety of your family members who are not home.

Predetermine a place for the family to reunite when an earthquake occurs. Choose a relative or friend (preferably one living in a remote place) as a central contact point for family safety information during an earthquake. Contact family members at their schools and workplaces to confirm their safety.

-Communicate with your neighbors.

Check with your neighbors to confirm their safety. If there are injured people, help them get medical care. If there is a fire, join forces to put it out. Give special attention to the households with senior citizens and/or young children. Work together to confirm the safety of your neighborhood.

-Collect essential information.

When a large-scale earthquake hits, people panic and spread false rumors. Use common sense to gather accurate information via radio or community wireless system.

-Evacuate

When an evacuation order is issued, put your "Emergency Kit" together and move fast to your nearest shelter. Before you leave the house, check to see that you have turned off the breaker as well as the gas main. Walk to your shelter; do not drive.

Are you adequately prepared for a major earthquake?

When an earthquake strikes, preparation is key for survival. Getting ready is important, but checking your readiness regularly is perhaps more important. It is a good idea for you and your family to share information on 1) how to contact each other in case of a major earthquake 2) contact numbers 3) location of emergency goods. Here are some useful URL addresses from which you can collect information on this subject.

Consultation services for foreign residents in Gunma
http://www.gtia.jp/kokusai/english/living/counsel.php

Tokyo Fire Department
http://www.tfd.metro.tokyo.jp/

Japan Meteorological Agency
http://www.jma.go.jp/en/quake/

NHK WORLD radio broadcasting in 18 languages
http://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/

(Effective March 2012)

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