Earthquakes - 3. "Daily provision" | Lectures for Foreign Students on Disaster Control | JPSS, the information site of studying in Japan

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"Daily provision"

The Great Hanshin Earthquake of 1995, in which over 6,400 people were killed and 4,300 injured, took place at 5:46 in the morning. 80 percent of its victims were crushed to death by the collapsing buildings, and especially most of them had been sleeping downstairs when their houses collapsed and fell over them.

We must protect ourselves at the moment an earthquake hits. Yet there is nothing we can do if an extensive-scale earthquake occurs while sleeping. So it is required to make provision on a regular basis.

So it is required to make provision on a regular basis.

(1)For your own safety.

(=that is, what kind of preparedness is required to protect ourselves in the event of an earthquake.)

(2)In order to survive in the aftermath of the earthquake.

(=what kind of provision you need to evacuate when the tremor is over.)

When you are at home, please be careful to the furniture that could fall over, objects fallen from shelves, and glass splinters. If possible, it is advisable not to put furniture and electricity appliances in bedrooms.

Then, let's check concrete measures from now on.

  • 1. Electricity appliances and furniture including wardrobes, bookcases, cupboards and TV sets must be securely fixed to wall, floor, or pillar so as not to fall over.
    Please try to explore on the Internet the word of "fall prevention methods" to find out what items they offer for avoiding the falling of furniture.
  • 2. Attach clamps to the doors of bookcases and cupboards so that they won't fling open on their own.
  • 3. Do not put objects, especially heavy ones, on the top of shelves or wardrobes.
  • 4. Make it habit to keep heavy objects in low places, light ones in high places.
  • 5. It is recommended to attach scattering prevention film to windowpanes and the glass parts of furniture.
  • 6. Slippers, sandals, or shoes should be always ready in your room.
    This is for the purpose of avoiding being injured by broken glass or dishes. Injuries on your feet make it difficult to evacuate quickly afterwards.
  • 7. put a flashlight (or portable light) close at hand so that you can easily find it.
    In most cased of extensive-scale earthquake, electricity service stops. Earthquakes might occur at night, when you can't see anything in the darkness without a torch. You are advised to put "a flashlight and sandals" beside your bed at any time.
  • 8. Confirm safety of the apartment and rooms you live in.
    Check if you can escape quickly from the main entrance(check if you have no objects around the entrance that can hamper your evacuation) check if there are any other escape routes except the main entrance (for instance, out of veranda or windows) check if emergency stairs besides elevator is usable. check if fire extinguishers are equipped with.

Caution! Wooden apartments before 1981 were built based on the out-of-date earthquake proof standard, while latest buildings up to the new standard are not perfectly safe. Hope that you will select cautiously where you live in, taking into consideration the possibility of facing a large-scale earthquake in the residents.


When it seems dangerous to stay where you are due to fires or objects falling after the subsidence of an initial strong tremor, you ought to evacuate as soon as possible. At that time, what would you bring with you? Maybe money, or passport?

Please consider what items will be helpful for your survival outside. For reference, we can pick up a survey from the website of Museum of Institute for Fire Safety & Disaster Preparedness. In the survey, they asked those who have had experience of disasters if what kind of item helps you most at the time of disaster. The survey recommends us to prepare especially "a flashlight," "water," and "canned food or instant noodles." That is, means for security of yourself and storage of food are at top priority.

It is desirable to be equipped with emergency evacuation supplies which enable you to survive on your own, if possible, for three whole days. However, too heavy a baggage would prevent swift action. Let's see and give priority to what's needed, and then add your own emergency kit according to individual circumstances.

Listed below is the provisional priority of items for the emergency supplies.
The order of the priority shown below is chosen by the author, which means it isn't necessarily absolute.

Priority level: high
  • 1-1. a flashlight
  • 1-2. water
  • 1-3. canned food (which can be opened without can opener)and instant noodles
  • 1-4. a portable radio
Priority level: medium
  • 2-1. batteries
  • 2-2. towels
  • 2-3. rain gear (a raincoat is better than an umbrella)
  • 2-4. a change of clothing (underwear and sweaters)
  • 2-5. a knife
  • 2-6. a lighter
  • 2-7. medications
  • 2-8. tissue paper and tissue paper
  • 2-9. a plastic tank (for restoration of water)
  • 2-10. a mobile phone
  • 2-11. passport and resident card
Other useful items
  • 3-1. money
  • 3-2. portable toilet
  • 3-3. sanitary items
  • 3-4. plastic bags
  • 3-5. packaging tape
  • 3-6. writing materials

Please prepare and put these supplies in a bag well in advance, for it's impossible to provide you with them right before evacuation. You are advised to put it near the main entrance at any time.


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