Tuesday, January 29, 2008

Earthquake Awareness

When my mom learned that we are moving to Tokyo, one of her big concern is, "isn't there earthquake in Japan?" I can understand her worry, there are many things in life we can control but unfortunately nature fury is something that is out of our hands. Yes, there are earthquakes in Japan, as there are tornadoes in the States, hurricanes in the Caribbean and flooding in Europe. The best way to deal with these unforeseen natural disasters is to be prepared as best as you can.

To remember the Great Hanshin Earthquake that occurred in 1995 killing more than 6000people, there are various scales of earthquake drills conducted on January 17 throughout Japan. That devastating earthquake measured at 7.2 Richter scale struck at 5:46am shattering Kobe and its surrounding regions, had caught the country by surprise. Japanese government aims to educate its citizens on how to react in an earthquake emergency situation to protect themselves, and if possible, rescue others. Together with volunteer organizations, and even US Military, they carried out earthquake simulation and response exercise which over 800,000 people took part in.

I attended a locally organized drill, despite it’s at a community level, the effort was rather large-scale and impressive. First, it was a pretty windy and chilly morning, I was very reluctant but too curious to pass on an event like this. When I arrived, the whole arena was filled with fire trucks, ambulances, emergency personnel, even helicopters circling above! So looked like this is serious business .....

Hehe, to start things off, hot tea to keep us warm :)

OK, time to work - first, learn how to tie a knot (for escape?)

Next, administering CPR to a victim

Then, using blanket and 2 sticks to make a temporary stretcher for transporting patients

Now, as if they didn't work me hard enough. I was 'volunteered' to feel out this tremor booth for a Richter scale 5-7 experience. Let's say, my dear sisters, that was actually quite scary and my intestines almost turned upside down :(

Then they stuck me into this smoke-filled maze. Why? They want to BBQ me for lunch?!

No, actually they had something else in mind to feed us. They wanted us to taste this nutritious whole grain rice which will be handed out in a real earthquake. Looks delicious but I think my intestines are still stuck in my throat :(

Maybe a big bottle of water like this will wash them down? Hehe seriously, this is an emergency supply kit that every household should have.

I feel that I have learned a valuable lesson from this drill. Not that I am ready for an earthquake to happen, I don't think anybody is ready for that. But knowing how the law enforcement, emergency personnel and general public are preparing for it has definitely raise this foreigner's awareness, and peace of mind too :)
May this beautiful country be safe from these devastations.


bb said...

hey jaime, i'm glad you started this blog and are taking the time to take pics and write about stuff to share with us.

yea, japan has many earthquakes and i understand that even the young are taught at a young age about what they should do when there's a quake. good that you went for the drill, and oh boy, they really do 'full-dress rehearsal' huh.... of course, this is really no joking matter, but hey, it's good to at least feel secured in the fact that the authorities and all relevant bodies know what they should be doing if...

thanks for sharing.

blog on, sista!

p.s. you know, this bae journey has not only brought me surprising friendship and unexpected turns and travel, it's also opened my eyes abit more to other people's cultures.


Tamar said...

I live in Northern California and we get earthquakes from time to time but we do not have these kind of drills. However, we are supposed to have earthquake kits around with power bars, water, blankets, etc.
I also had a similar kit when I lived in Korea in case we had to flee a NK/SK war.

jaime said...

hi princess,

thank you for your encouragement.
I try to remember to take pictures wherever i go now. blogging comes naturally at this point in my life. but i have to say without pioneers like you, camille, mishio, flowerbossa, liezle, frances, tiffany, yokee and many many more who inspire others to write out their feelings and experiences, I will continue to have all these remain in my mind and memory. I should thank you for welcoming me into your wonderful blog first, and then to me, the rest is history ..... Thanks again!

love ... jaime

jaime said...

hi tamar,

yeah, california is always expecting the next big one. i think the government is very prepared for it too, especially after the san francisco earthquake.

oh, good to hear that you have the essentials prepared. I know some families back in Toronto even have their own generators in case there is a blackout, which can happen sometimes. you mean even now, the South Korean households need to have an emergency kit in case there is a NK/SK war? You think that's at the back of the S. Korean's minds? including our Yong Joon? love to hear more about it.

love ... jaime

Tamar said...

When hubby and I arrived at the US Embassy in Seoul, we were given a paper with a list of items we should keep handy in case of a war emgergency evacuation. I don't think the average SK person like BYJ thinks of things the same way.

Besides, most of the SK guys who already have army training would probably go to their nearest ROK to help out--running towards the action, not away.

Anonymous said...

onni? u rode that earthquake machine (0.0)?
omg, omg... and magtitude 5~7?...
thnk for sharing :p

jaime said...

Yes mymy, I was on that tremor booth. They started off w/ scale 5, then increased it to 7. It was very scary. Have u tried it? Hope it will never happen.

love ..... jaime

jaime said...

hi tamar,

thank you for your enlightenment. What a comfort to hear that the young men in SK are so patriotic! I learn something new from you today.

love ... jaime

Tamar said...

I've seen those "tremor booths" here,too. I don't think I want to get in one, I've felt the real thing a couple of times, thanks! LOL!