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Preparing yourself for earthquakes:What you should do when it happens; what you should know before it happens

Michael, an exchange student from Germany, ran out of his apartment as he just encountered an earthquake for the first time. Mr. Omura, a manager of his apartment, saw Michael and helps him calm down.

Mr.Omura
Michael-san, is this your first time to experience an earthquake?
Michael
Yes, and it was so scary! I just couldn't stay in my apartment.
Mr.Omura
It's better to stay inside the building in case of an earthquake, though. You could get injured by broken glasses or falling block walls outside.
Michael
I was afraid that my furniture pieces might fall.
Mr.Omura
If you are home when the earthquake happens, protect yourself under a table, or grab a pillow to cover your head, and wait until it stops shaking. Make sure you turn off fire or heat to prevent a house fire. Also, you should open a door to secure a way out.
Michael
How can you stay so calm after such a big shake?
Mr.Omura
Well, quakes of that size are nothing unusual in Japan. Look, there is a breaking news report on TV about that earthquake. It seems like it was a "scale 3" intensity in this area. The information about earthquakes becomes available immediately on TV, radio, and the Internet. So the best way is to stay home and secure your safety until the quake finishes, and then get accurate information about the quake before you take the next action.
Michael
So, are you saying that earthquakes are quite common in Japan?
Mr.Omura
Yes, it happens quite often nationwide. The important thing is that you shouldn't be just scared but make yourself prepared for next possible earthquake so that you can stay calm and take the right actions. Even a small quake could lead to an injury or a house fire. The key is to stay calm whether your are inside or outside the house.

Mr. Omura shows his house to Michael to explain how to make his room earthquake-proof.

Mr.Omura
Here, I have installed these brackets to secure furniture pieces so that they won't fall when earthquakes hit. I have also applied special sheets on windows to prevent them from breaking into small pieces.
Michael
I see you have installed devices to lock the doors of kitchen cabinets. Is there anything else I can do to prepare myself for the earthquakes?
Mr.Omura
When a major earthquake hits, it often becomes difficult to secure water, gas, electricity, and food. So it is a good idea to keep some daily essentials stored, such as water and food enough for a few days, so that you can survive by yourself for a while after the disaster. It is also helpful to put an evacuation kit together in a backpack and keep it in a place you can reach easily.
Michael
What should I include in an evacuation kit?
Mr.Omura
I can show you a website that provides detailed information about what to take and where to go to evacuate in case of disaster.
Michael
Thank you so much for your help. I am glad that I could talk to you today.
Mr.Omura
It is important to keep good communication with your neighbors. It makes it easy to exchange information in case of a major disaster. They are also the first ones who give you help or who need your help in such a case.

Please refer here for information on what to Do in Case of Emergency (Earthquakes)
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