Japan is among the world’s most seismically active countries, which means that earthquakes are a relatively common occurrence. Small tremors are usually felt in some part of the country everyday, and there have been several big quakes in the last few years resulting in damage and deaths. While the damage was very significant, it is important to note that damage and deaths were remarkably limited.
Since a major earthquake in Kobe many years ago, Japan embarked on a mission to improve building codes and procedures. All of which were fairly effective. Even the much bemoaned walls erected to keep Tsunami waves at bay, which turned out to be much too short, did in fact hold back the waves for a time, and probably saved hundreds or thousands of lives. So while it is important to be prepared for a disaster, you should keep the danger in perspective. If you must live through a killer quake, Japan is probably the best place to do it. If you take only one thing from this article, please be pro-active and prepare your family and home for a disaster.
Building standards become stricter and stricter as the years go on so a rule of thumb is that the newer the residence, the more thought has been put into earthquake resistance. Of course there’s no way of completely earthquake proofing a building, but it’s nice to know you have a little insurance. Generally, any building constructed after – 1981, when the “shin-taishin”, or New Earthquake Resistant Building Standard Amendment was enacted, should be safe enough.
This is of particular concern for smaller residences, where you’re likely to be sleeping on a futon, close to the television in the living room. Where you have no choice but to sleep near heavy stuff, at least make sure that it’s landing near your feet. You can also use braces, available from the home center, or Tokyu Hands to brace large or heavy objects.
In other words, do your windows have a fine line of wires that hold them together in case they break and prevent them from shattering on the floor? This is particularly important on the upper floors where shattering glass can be a rain from above for people walking down below. There is a sticky film you can buy from the home center or Tokyu Hands to stick over the windows for this purpose.
If not, you won’t have any trouble locating it today, as quakes like this morning’s one tend to snap people into action. There are things to bolt your furniture down, padding to put under the furniture to make it harder to fall down, and a whole range of items that you would need if a major earthquake prevented you from living a normal life in your home for an extended period of time.
In another place in the house known to all householders;
While there are no guarantees that being prepared will ensure your safety in the event of a major earthquake, it could potentially make a huge difference should the worst happen. Tokyu Hands, a wonderful store that sells everything you never knew you needed, is a good starting point.
Lease Japan also offers an emergency disaster kit that can be tailored to fit the size of your family. You can find information by following this link.