Tag Archives: emergency response

Japanese Disaster Educator Says Children are the Future of Crisis Response!

Education is the most important preparedness tool, says Toshitaka Katada, a civil engineering professor at Gunma University.  He proves his point by pointing to the education program that helped save the lives of nearly all 3,000 elementary and junior high school students in Kamaishi, Iwate Prefecture during the Great East Japan Earthquake and subsequent tsunami.

This week, The Japan Times, reported on Katada’s insightful program, it’s astounding results, and what we might learn from his approach.

“In general, people don’t evacuate even though they know they should. It’s natural to be reluctant to escape when everybody else is staying put,” Katada told the Japan Times. “So I told the students that they must be brave and be the first ones to evacuate. If you do, others will follow you and you can save their lives, too. That’s exactly what happened.”

Katada says he believes children must be educated to be proactive responders and that by educating children, preparedness becomes infused into the culture.

“In two decades, those children will be parents. If they grow up to be adults who know how to act, their children will act accordingly,” he said, “I believe it’s our responsibility to nurture such an environment for the generations to come.”

From Drive Issue #68

Japan to Test Disaster Warning System

The Japan Times reports that the country’s Fire and Disaster Management Agency plans to test a disaster warning system using Internet-based social-networking services this summer.

The system, which will be based on a major disaster, will tap into the Internet, which is more accessible than telephone lines in times of disaster, and help in mobilizing prompter assistance, the officials told the Japan Times. The test will simulate people caught up in disasters using their computers or mobile phones to summon for help via such sites as Twitter and Japan’s social-networking site Mixi, the officials said.

From Drive Issue #57