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Let’s Make an Effort to Participate in <i>Machikado</i> Disaster-Preparedness Drills!

Irene accompanied her husband to Japan when he was transferred for his job. Recently, while sitting on a bench in the local park, she had the opportunity to strike up a conversation with Mayumi-san, a neighbor with whom she has become friendly.

From this Year, August 11th Shall be “Mountain Day”

Irene

Yesterday, my husband told me that they had carried out an evacuation drill at his office. In that Japan has designated September 1st as Disaster-Preparedness Day, apparently at this time of year throughout the nation there are a variety of such drills conducted.

Mayumi

Well in actual fact, this area will also hold a drill this weekend organized by our local residents’ association. This time, we will be holdingthe “Machikado Disaster-Preparedness Drill” (literally the “Local Town Disaster-Preparedness Drill”). Focusing on the folks that live in the immediate area, our plan is to conduct a drill along the streets, etc., where we actually live. Would you be interested in joining us?

Irene

So the people who live in the immediate area are going to try and conduct a disaster-preparedness drill just by themselves?

Mayumi

No, the drill will actually take place while assistance is received from representatives of the fire department and the local volunteer fire brigade.

Irene

And what activities will be undertaken?

Mayumi

For example, there will be exercises where participants can learn how to initially respond to and fight a fire soon after it breaks out. There will also be a cooperative firefighting drill that will involve the use of fire-extinguishers, portable fire pumps and stand pipes, etc., the last being a piece of equipment for which you don’t need special tools to hook up to hydrants.

Irene

Stand pipes? What are they? That sounds difficult.

Mayumi

Stand pipes are a lightweight piece of fire-fighting equipment that is very easily operated. However, without learning how to operate it in advance or knowing how to best assign people to different roles, it would be difficult to use such equipment in the event of a disaster.

Irene

Yes, I see your point. In the event of a major earthquake or a fire occurring, it is important to be able to act in a calm and composed manner. I must admit that I am not that confident that I could do so myself.

Mayumi

And that is why it is so important to experience a variety of different things through participating in disaster-preparedness drills! Through such drills, you can also learn how to give first-aid to injured people and how to transport them when necessary. For example, do you know the method by which a t-shirt can be used to make a simple stretcher?

Irene

No, I have no idea! Then again, it is a skill that I would really like to learn.

The two friends then rise from the bench where they were sitting, and they continue their discussion while walking together.

Mayumi

Look at that, can you see that storage locker built out-of-the-way in the corner of the park? It actually contains a stockpile of disaster-preparedness equipment for this area. In addition to firefighting and rescue items, it has emergency stores of food rations, blankets and portable toilets. Such items can easily be broken out and used during times of disaster.

Irene

Really? I never realized that there was a storage locker with a stockpile of disaster-preparedness items located there.

Mayumi

Also, I would draw your attention to this manhole. Manholes like this one with the yellow band around them can be opened up and transformed to become fire hydrants. There are also manholes that serve the same purpose whose covers are painted yellow.

Irene

I’ve actually seen manholes with yellow rims in a number of places, but I never realized their significance.

Mayumi

With respect to the “Machikado Disaster-Preparedness Drill,” by participating you can get to know what infrastructure is located where within your local area. What is more, you can also learn the best way to utilize it. I think that participating in such drills offers a wonderful opportunity for people to develop a detailed image as how they should best act if a disaster were to occur.

Irene

What is more, such occasions also represent a great opportunity to get to know the people who live around you.

Mayumi

Yes, in order to help one another if and when the unexpected should happen, it is important to communicate with each other during the course of day-to-day life.

Irene

Yes, I understand you. I would be honored to participate this weekend and I will bring along my husband too. Thank you very much for inviting me.