Japan: The Most Prepared Nation

Discussion in 'General Chit-Chat' started by HozayBuck, Mar 15, 2011.

  1. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    Folks we can learn from these people!

    Amy Chavez

    Columnist, The Japan Times
    Posted: March 15, 2011 01:11 PM

    Japan has repeatedly been referred to as the "most prepared nation in the world" for an earthquake or tsunami disaster. The government has been praised for its readiness via earthquake/tsunami drills, for the prompt organization of the National Self-Defense Forces, and for its preparedness to send in doctors and volunteers. But "being prepared" means even more than that.

    Japan also does a stellar job of preparing the individual for a crisis. In Japan, every person knows exactly what to do in an emergency.

    As a resident of Japan since 1994, I can tell you that Japan is so adamant about preparation for disaster that sometimes it seems a bit over the top. But when disaster strikes, it becomes all too apparent that you cannot over prepare.

    Most of the fire drills and tornado drills I remember practicing in the U.S. were performed while I was a child in school. As adults, we are seldom versed in what to do in any emergency; we're expected to already know. Yet seldom do we act instinctively in an emergency. Instead, we often look back and say, "I should have done... " Like CPR, a refresher course in what to do in an emergency can never hurt. The purpose of drills in Japan is not just to introduce emergency procedures to people, but to practice until the actions become second nature.

    Here are just some of the ways Japan has prepared the average citizen for a disaster:

    Evacuation Points With Signs

    Earthquake and tsunami evacuation points are well-established in every neighborhood. Not only are there signs on the streets pointing to designated evacuation centers, but detailed maps of escape routes are distributed to each household. These maps, which in my area are topographical, also provide emergency phone numbers and contacts. With a designated evacuation area for each neighborhood, every resident can be accounted for quickly. Remember the "buddy system?"

    Cell Phone Alerts

    Earthquake and tsunami alerts are distributed via cell phone text messages by the local government for those who sign up to receive them.

    Survival Kits

    All citizens are encouraged to have a survival kit kept near the doorway to their house. Not just your average first aid kit, survival kits have several days worth of water, vacuum-packed food, and matches so you can build a fire (for cooking, washing, bathing).

    Water Reserves

    Japanese housewives are famous around the world for recycling bath water. You can even buy washing machines in Japan that have an extra hose to draw the leftover bathwater into the machine for the wash or rinse cycle. The daily bathing ritual of the Japanese requires a full bathtub of hot water to soak in after their shower. This is a nightly habit performed before going to sleep. Most households will not drain this fairly clean tub water until the following day. If there is an earthquake overnight and the water supply is cut off, you'll have at least 250 liters (70 gallons) of water on standby. It's just common sense.

    Good Sleeping Habits

    Few people in Tokyo sleep without a flashlight nearby. It's a precautionary measure people take in case an earthquake occurs during the night and disrupts power. I have a flashlight that stays under my bed, within close reach should I feel the tremors of an earthquake. If you need to escape quickly, you need to be able to see where you are going.

    Emergency Information -- in Multiple Languages

    The Japanese local governments distribute booklets telling people what to expect and what to do in the case of an earthquake. In my area, these pamphlets are available in Japanese, English, Chinese, Korean, and Portuguese.

    The books are full of good advice for emergencies such as: Grab your footwear before rushing out of your house. In an earthquake, there will be rubble, broken glass, etc. that you'll need to protect your feet from. If you are getting out of bed and putting on clothes, choose clothes with long sleeves and long pants so you'll be protected from falling debris and flying glass. Expect that you might have to escape through a broken window. Find gloves to wear if you have time.

    You are also instructed to walk to the evacuation center. Do not drive. Too many cars will clog the streets and prevent rescue vehicles from moving in and out of the affected area. If you are already in your car during an emergency, you are to park your car on the side of the road, leave the keys inside and don't lock it. That way emergency personnel can move your car should it be in the way of rescue operations.

    Preparedness not only saves lives, but it teaches people how to act during a crisis. That's why when you see live coverage of disasters in Japan, the Japanese people rarely panic. They are prepared.

    How prepared are you for the next crisis?
  2. jungatheart

    jungatheart Beginner's Mind

    The only way to see people for who they really are is in times of adversity and I've been impressed with the Japanese people during this whole mess. Good luck to them, they deserve it.

    To answer your question: not as prepared as the Japanese sadly.

  3. gypsysue

    gypsysue The wanderer

    I'm prepared but really hope not to have to go through anything like that. Japan is dealing with a lot more than an earthquake now. Just imagine if it had been Haiti-the-helpless. Sorry to sound critical of Haiti, but I'm proud of the people of Japan and how they're trying to pull up their own bootstraps in an overwhelming situation.
  4. ttruscott

    ttruscott white belt


    Japanese super careful, right? Hang on....

    Fukushima: Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist To Quit In Protest - ABC News

    Fukushima: Mark 1 Nuclear Reactor Design Caused GE Scientist To Quit In Protest


    Thirty-five years ago, Dale G. Bridenbaugh and two of his colleagues at General Electric resigned from their jobs after becoming increasingly convinced that the nuclear reactor design they were reviewing -- the Mark 1 -- was so flawed it could lead to a devastating accident...

  5. *Andi

    *Andi Supporting Member

    We had a Japanese exchange student back more than a few years ago ... and the one thing that sticks out in my mind is, she said, "I love America, because we play ... I know, I will pay for it once home but it is fun." ... She is a doctor now and we just did get an e-mail stating, she and her family are fine ...for now.

    I did learn more than a few things from her ... I wish her and her family well.
  6. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    Well yea I can see they were right!!! 35 years later there it is!! only took a world record Quake and a world class tsunami to prove it!!...
  7. HozayBuck

    HozayBuck Well-Known Member

    Sorry for double post
    Last edited: Mar 21, 2011
  8. The_Blob

    The_Blob performing monkey

    Thousands are dead, entire villages are gone and hundreds of thousands are homeless. As the days and weeks pass, the death toll continues to climb. The U.S. military has mobilized to assist in relief efforts, while we and millions of others offer our prayers for the Japanese people.

    Sadly, even in the midst of chaos and human suffering, the usual suspects have a political axe to grind. In this case, that axe is 'nuclear power'. The Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant in northeast Japan has been a focal point since last week's catastrophe. When the earthquake hit, the plant automatically shut down and switched to generator power. It was designed to withstand an 8.2-magnitude quake (200 PJ); in fact, it actually survived a 9.0-magnitude (2 EJ or 2000 PJ) one, which is many times (10x) stronger.

    However, the ensuing tsunami destroyed the generators, and the debris-filled water contaminated the reserve coolant. The reactors soon heated up, pressure built, and the resulting steam explosions released radiation into the atmosphere. The jury is still out as to the impact this will have, though there has been no shortage of anti-nuclear hysteria out there.

    Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA) ran to the nearest microphone to pronounce the disaster "another Chernobyl" (it's nothing of the sort) and to call for the Obama administration to curtail any new nuclear reactors in the U.S. Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) said that we should "put the brakes on right now until we understand the ramifications of what's happened in Japan." In the media, many of the alarmist so-called experts are actually just shills for variously agenda-oriented anti-nuclear organizations.

    Others, even The New York Times :eek:, have been more even-keeled. The Times wrote, "The unfolding Japanese tragedy also should prompt Americans to closely study our own plans for coping with natural disasters and with potential nuclear plant accidents to make sure they are, indeed, strong enough". Well, I can agree with that. In fact, 30 American nuclear reactors have similar designs to the 40-year-old plant in Fukushima. While our facilities should be reviewed and updated as necessary, none are subject to tsunamis.

    Even Energy Secretary Steven Chu was also talking sane, telling a House panel, "The American people should have full confidence that the United States has rigorous safety regulations in place to ensure that our nuclear power is generated safely and responsibly." He added, "the administration is committed to learning from Japan's experience". Yeah... well I hope the follow-through is as good as the rhetoric. :rolleyes:

    The U.S. hasn't built a new plant since 1979 :eek:, the year of the Three Mile Island accident! In other words, the damn "brakes" have already been on for 32 years! Even with that immense social-stigma handicap, nuclear power provides 22 percent of U.S. electricity. New, safer reactors are just waiting to come on-line, and I think it should really go without saying that our technology has come a [/b]long[/b] way in three decades. The situation at Fukushima is indeed horrible almost beyond understanding, but any call for a nuclear moratorium in response is overwrought. IMHO it is mere political opportunism for those who oppose nuclear power under any circumstances, relying on the raised voices of the unfortunately uninformed people that have been hoodwinked by them that they use as pawns/cannon-fodder in their political games.
  9. HarleyRider

    HarleyRider Comic Relief Member

    I beg to differ on this point. In South Florida, the Turkey Creek Nuclear Plant is within a few hundred yards from the Atlantic Ocean. :eek: