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.
Michael-san, is this your first time to experience an earthquake?
Yes, and it was so scary! I just couldn't stay in my apartment.
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.
I was afraid that my furniture pieces might fall.
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.
How can you stay so calm after such a big shake?
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.
So, are you saying that earthquakes are quite common in Japan?
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.
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.
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?
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.
What should I include in an evacuation kit?
I can show you a website that provides detailed information about what to take and where to go to evacuate in case of disaster.
Thank you so much for your help. I am glad that I could talk to you today.
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.