Preparing for Disaster—the Fun Way
Suddenly, the ground begins to shake. It's an earthquake! As yet, no one has figured out a way to predict exactly when or where an earthquake will strike. So what can we do to lessen the damage caused when one does happen? We can’t expect to think fast in an emergency. It’s important to prepare for an earthquake before it arrives. In Japan, where there are lots of earthquakes, disaster prevention training takes place every year in schools, offices, and local communities throughout the country.
A disaster prevention drill at the Kaido Hoikuen kindergarten in Saga Prefecture. Imagining that a fire has broken out after an earthquake, children cover their mouths with their hands as they flee to evacuation spots.
The best thing to do will be different depending on things like the size of the earthquake and where you are when it happens. In a very strong earthquake measuring at least Magnitude 6 Lower on the Japanese scale, it is difficult to stay on your feet, most unfixed furniture will shift, and windows and wall tiles may shatter. In a major earthquake like this, the best thing you can do is to stay where you are, keep low, and cover your head. In a smaller earthquake measuring Magnitude 5 Upper, on the other hand, things start to fall off the shelves, but it is still possible to walk as long as you hold on to something. In the case of an earthquake measuring Magnitude 5 Upper or less, therefore, you should move to a safe place close by. If you are in a school or some other building that is well protected against earthquakes, it is a good idea to take shelter under a nearby desk to protect your head. If you are in a building that does not have good earthquake defenses, you should evacuate the building, keeping your head covered against falling objects at all times. Kids in Japan grow up practicing this kind of drill as part of their classes in school.
Classes are held all over the country to allow children to learn about how buildings sway and other important information via enjoyable hands-on participation.