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Preparing for an earthquake (Tokyo)

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I'm sure that you all know that Japan is prone to earthquakes and if you haven't experienced one here yet just hold on, you will.

Meanwhile, are you prepared? September 1st was the 65th anniversary of the great Kanto earthquake, an event that claimed over 99,000 lives and destroyed close to half a million structures, mostly due to fire.

Advance preparations can be key to minimizing your family's risk in the event of a major earthquake.

Quake-related online information sources and other useful tips in English are available at Protected content . I recommend that you have a look at this site and get your own earthquake "kit" prepared. One item that is not mentioned in most "earthquake kits" is something a friend told me about. He recommends having a supply of plastic trash bags in your kit. These bags can be placed inside the toilet for collection of human waste and disposal of it. Remember, if the earthquake is major enough, water supplies are likely to be disrupted.

The Tokyo Metropolitan Government's "Earthquake Survival Manual" offers comprehensive information at Protected content . This PDF manual is bilingual.

If a major quake or other natural disaster strikes evacuation to a shelter may be necessary. Local governments provide information on designated emergency shelters that set up in each community, often in public schools, large parks and hospitals.

For Tokyo residents, locations of such shelters and other quake-related facilities can easily be found using the metropolitan government's click-able map, although the geographic names are only in Japanese, at: www2.wagamachi-guide.com/tokyo_bousai/

You should discuss these locations with your family and have a plan to meet there. You may not be able to get in touch with each other by phone and having a designated meeting spot is essential.

If a major quake hits, the government anticipates that 6.5 million workers in Tokyo would find it difficult to return home because of disruptions in public transportation and traffic jams. You should become familiar with a route to walk home.

Let's all hope that the next big one never hits, but in the meantime, an ounce of prevention.....