Preventive measures to save lives in disasters


In Japan, the next natural disaster, such as the Nankai Trough Earthquake, could happen at any time. To reduce the number of people who become bereaved, we need to raise awareness of having proper knowledge about preventive measures to save lives in disasters. As long as we live in Japan, we all live close to the risk of suffering from or losing our loved ones in disasters.


Information about disasters is now available fairly quickly through smartphones and media. However, post-disaster conditions change by the minute and sometimes it’s too late if you just wait for information to come. Even after obtaining the information, you must decide what to do. It is important to make your own decisions, not to rely on obtained information or the opinions of others.



It is very important to know life-saving information and prepare to prevent suffering from disasters in advance. On the other hand, if you find yourself in a disaster, you should not be tied up by your knowledge or assumptions, but rather act on your own initiative.


When a disaster strikes, the most important thing is to take action to “save your own life”. Discuss this with your family members so that everybody in your family knows about prioritizing and protecting their own life rather than looking for other family members. In past disasters, many people lost their lives because they worried about their loved ones and went to find them.


If you can survive, you will be able to meet your loved ones again. Each family member must save their own life first. Make sure to verbally confirm this with your family members.


【Some tips to prevent damage from disasters】


〇When an earthquake occurs, protect your head from impacts and falling objects.


〇If a tsunami is expected to strike your area, get to high ground as soon as the shaking stops.

A 5-meter high tsunami will flood the first floor of a building.

A 10-meters high tsunami will flood the second and third floors.

Note that the height of a tsunami changes depending on geographical features and the flow of the tsunami itself, therefore, evacuate to the highest possible place.


〇 It is not safe to go to the same evacuation site all the time.

In cases of wind and flood damage, sometimes it is better not to go out. Do not go near a river and evacuate to a location far from the river.


〇The first tremor or tsunami are not always the biggest, so don’t immediately go back after the first hit even if you think it is safe.


〇Believe that your family is also fleeing on their own and do not go looking for them. It is important to secure yourself first. Talk about this with your family when you can.


〇Avoid driving during disasters as traffic congestion may prevent you from moving.


〇Think about preparing for disasters on a routine basis.

For example.

  • Check the evacuation routes and shelters (it is important to actually walk the routes and reach the shelters)
  • Check the safety level and earthquake resistance of your home.
  • Decisions made by family members include where to meet and how to contact each other in a disaster.
  • Participate in disaster and evacuation drills.
  • Preventing furniture from falling over.
  • Stock up on water


*Above information is based on “Disaster Preparedness to Save Lives” (Japanese) written by Dr. Toshitaka Katada and published by Shuei-sha Shinsho.