Japan was prepared - are we?

Earthquake preparedness - it's suddenly a topic that's on my mind. I'm going to have to act on my nervousness in order to get rid of the sick feeling I have in my stomach.

The one thing that really struck us on the day of the earthquake in the the days after until we went home was how calm the people seemed. Especially on the day of the earthquake when we were riding in the taxi through the streets of Tokyo. The buildings had been evacuated and the streets were filled with people, but there seemed to be no panic. Many people were wearing helmets and masks.

I've copied a simple list that was made for international visitors living in Japan. It was interesting for me to scroll through it and check off my levels of preparedness. Even though preparedness is emphasized in church and in our community, there were several areas that I have neglected lately. For example, right now, our family water supply is pathetic. And old. I doubt we'd even be able to drink it. That's where I'm going to start. Here goes:

Japan is an earthquake-prone country. Be prepared and don't panic
when it happens!
Check your emergency survival kit regularly to see if the food is
outdated or any items are missing so that the kit is usable when it's needed.

Getting ready for an earthquake

Prepare your emergency survival kit.

Pack the following emergency items in a backpack or a bag and keep it in a
place where all family members can easily locate it:

Flashlight Batteries Portable radio Lighter
Candles Nonperishable

Thick cotton gloves Waterproof tarpaulin Extra clothes Pens and notepad First-aid kit


Bankbooks Passport Alien registration card Cash Nonprescription medicines

You also need to keep drinking water, approximately
2 to 3 liters per person per day.

Pay attention to safety measures for your home.
Do not leave objects near doors, hallways, and/or staircases.
Do not put anything heavy or breakable on the top of furniture.
Secure furniture to prevent it from falling. It is also recommended
to secure TVs, personal computers and stereo units.
If you put something on the top of furniture, make sure it stands
securely. In addition, place some non-slip material under it to
prevent it from falling off the furniture.
Take steps to prevent fires.
Unplug electrical appliances after use.

Check the safety of your house. Check the roof of your
house to see if any tiles are loose or if antennas etc, are unstable.

Be informed about local evacuation area / center.
Do you know where yours is?
Each community has designated evacuation area to be established
in case of major earthquakes. Identify and remember where your
evacuation area is located.
If the earthquake happens while you are at work, you may have to
walk all the way home. It is therefore important to plan in advance
walking route to your home, otherwise you may find it very difficult
to return home in such emergency situations. Make sure to keep in
mind several locations of designated "return-home aid stations,"
which will be established along major roads in case of a major
earthquake to help people return home by providing water,
restrooms, and necessary information.
What to do in case of earthquake

If you are at home:
  • Do not move until the main quake ceases.
  • Protect yourself by sheltering under a table. If there is no

    place to hide, protect your head with a pillow or a cushion.

  • Turn off all heat sources immediately.
  • After the main shock calms down, immediately turn off the

    gas appliances as well as heating appliances. Anything that

    could cause a fire should be turned off.

  • Secure a way to evacuate the premises.
  • Open the doors to rooms and the entrance of the house. Always

    wear shoes even when inside a house to avoid injury as there

    could be pieces of broken glass or other dangerous objects

    on the floor.

  • Do not become panicked by aftershocks.
  • It is possible that small shakes may occur following the

    main quake. Remember to stay calm even when you

    feel the aftershocks.

  • Get ready to evacuate.
  • Before you leave the house, make sure you shut off the gas

    supply valve as well as the circuit breaker. If you are in a

    building, always use the stairs to evacuate. You should not

    use elevators.

  • Evacuate on foot.
  • You should always walk when you evacuate. Never use cars,

    motorcycles or bicycles. Do not try to take more than you

    need for emergency survival.


    • Water: 3 gallons per person or animal. That’s a gallon a
    • day for 3 days for everyone. This is the most important
    • thing you have in your kit.
    • Pay attention to expiration dates! It’s true that water
    • expires. If you make your own bottled water, you
    • need to replace those every 6 months.
    • Food: Buy canned, high-calorie foods that will feed
    • your family for 3 days like chili, tuna, veggies, soup,
    • peanut butter, crackers, snacks. And some comfort foods
    • like chocolate or candy. Buy foods with the similar expiration dates to make it easier to refresh your kit.
    • Formula for babies. Storable milk for toddlers.
    • Medications: Have extra supplies for children and
    • grandchildren.
    • First aid kits don’t include these! Specifically, they
    • don’t have children’s medications.
    • Include Children’s or Infant Tylenol and 1 container
    • of Sunscreen (50 SPF or higher). Also, write down
    • your infant or young child’s dose of Tylenol because
    • often the bottle doesn’t include it. In a stressed
    • situation, you may forget. Ideally you should have a
    • 7 day supply of any prescription medication you
    • or your child is taking. This is seemingly impractical
    • with the way that insurance companies allow
    • prescription refills (ie they only give you your
    • month supply). If you or your child is on an
    • important daily med, ask your pediatrician for
    • a prescription for a one-week supply.