Protecting Yourself from Earthquakes

Protecting Yourself from Earthquakes

Earthquakes can occur suddenly at any time and are not limited to the times we are at home. There are some extra precautions to take when out and about and not within one's home.

Protect your head from falling objects when you are outdoors

The first thing you need to be careful of when an earthquake happens while you are outside is falling objects. In residential areas, there is a danger of falling roof tiles and concrete blocks from walls. In commercial areas, there is a danger of falling glass and signs. Protect your head with a bag or whatever else you are carrying and move to as open a space as possible.

Also, power lines may break and hang down. Do not touch them.

Beware of shelves when shopping

Shaking from earthquakes can be greater on the higher floors of buildings and there is a danger that shelves and other furniture may fall over or glass from windows or light fixtures may break and fall down. Avoid being close to these in the case of an earthquake.

Shaking during an earthquake in underground passages and subways is less than that above ground and is relatively safe. However, if a fire occurs, these areas fill faster with smoke than facilities above ground. Cover your mouth and nose with a handkerchief, bend low, follow emergency lights and evacuate above ground as quickly as possible.

Also, in these locations people tend to flood to the exit and this can lead to the dangerous situation of a panicked crowd. Please follow directions of building personnel and calmly evacuate.

Do not rush out of buses/trains/etc.

When riding in a bus, train, or other form of public transportation, it is very dangerous to rush out of the vehicle following an earthquake. In the case of the subway, there is the danger one may be electrocuted by the high voltage power line running along the rails. Please follow the directions given by crew members and calmly evacuate.

Stop your car and leave the key in the ignition

If an earthquake occurs while one is riding in a car, evacuation may be delayed because shaking is harder to notice or the vehicle becomes harder to control.

If an earthquake happens while you are driving, calmly and firmly grip the steering wheel and slowly lower the speed while pulling over to the left side of the road. If you leave your car to evacuate, leave the door unlocked and the key in the ignition in order not to cause a hindrance to firefighting activities.

Also, please be aware that in a large disaster caused by an earthquake, major roads are reserved for rescue activities and traffic restrictions are put in place so only emergency vehicles can travel those roads.

Make sure to evacuate after receiving correct information

In order to ensure quick evacuation, it is necessary to have correct information. Please listen to reports on television or the radio or other public broadcasts to get information about damage, conditions, and locations of evacuation areas. Be careful not to get swept up in rumors and false information.

Also, information (in Japanese and possibly other languages) regarding evacuation areas is available on the homepages of the various prefectures. Make sure to check not only on the evacuation area for your home but for the central area of the city you live in.

For more information about disaster prevention in Miyakonojo and Miyazaki, please see the other pages in the Emergencies and Disasters section of Miyakonojo City's Home Page.

The Miyazaki International Foundation also provides a useful multilingual disaster prevention pamphlet online.