We need to talk about Earthquakes in Japan.
Just yesterday a very strong earthquake hit Osaka. With a magnitude of 6,2 out of 7 (Japanese standard), it was a really scary and dangerous one, leaving more than 200 injured and 4 casualties.
Earthquakes in Japan are not a laughing matter. The mega “Tokai Earthquake” has a 70% possibility of happening in the next 30 years. It will be a big one (7 out of 7 in the Japanese scale, 8.0 and up in Righter Scale.) and it’s projected to claim a lot of lives and cause billions in damages.
There is no way to accurately predict an earthquake up to date, but you can be prepared if it strikes. Here are some tips:
First and foremost, get this free app. It provides emergency information in English.
When it’s happening:
- The moment it starts, and if you can OPEN DOORS AND WINDOWS. With the tremors sometimes windows and doors get deformed and become impossible to open. You may need to get out so you need working exits. If you’re cooking with gas, TURN IT OFF.
- WAIT IT OUT. Most of earthquake-related injuries come from broken glass and furniture falling on people. Locate heavy lamps or furniture that may fall on you and get away from them. Find a sturdy desk or table and get below it. If there are no desks, find a corner or a door frame, cover your neck and head with your arms and wait it out. Don’t run outside, don’t try to reach other rooms. If you’re in your bed and there’s no heavy light fixture over you, cover your head and neck with your arms and wait there.
- If you’re outside, find a clear area away from trees, lights, tension cables, etc and, yes, wait it out. Stay away from anything that can fall on you. Train stations are quite safe in Tokyo so if you can, seek refuge there.
After it has happened:
- If you’re at home/rental apartment, and only after the tremors subside, turn off all sources of heat and flames.
- Don’t run outside if there’s no danger of ceiling collapsing. If you need to head out, try to put on shoes to not cut yourself with the debris. Locate your emergency bag and a safe exit and be extra careful of anything that can fall on you. Stay calm and find a safe clear area or head to one of these shelters if needed.
For travelers on holidays:
- Know the emergency numbers for Japan. 119 is for fire, ambulance and emergency situations.
- Get the previously mentioned APP.
- If you don’t speak Japanese, you may want to check these communication cards. You can print them and throw them in your wallet/bag in case you need internet-free communication.
For residents and expats, get your emergency bag ready, yesterday!
NOTE: These are my guidelines but of course there are more things you can throw in. Take my list as a basic checklist and feel free to expand your kit with whatever you think necessary.
If you rather buying a pre-made emergency bag, I’ve seen them in Tokyu Hands.
Earthquakes in Japan are common and definitely a serious issue so I think everyone should be prepared and informed, even if you’re here for a few days. Please be safe!!