Reference Book: Do what you can to reduce personal risk and an earthquake will not be so threatening

Publication:Shiga Prefecture Translation/Edition:Shiga Intercultural Association for Globalization 「Mimitaro」

  1. When you hear BANG! When you hear CRASH! Don't Panic!
  2. Do Not Panic within your Surroundings
  3. Secure Your Furniture
  4. Be Prepared with Emergency Rations
  5. Prepare for Secondary Earthquake Disaster
  6. Making an Emergency Contact Plan for Your Family
  7. Be prepared for life in an evacuation centre
  8. Master First Aid
  9. Earthquake help sheet (Keep for your records)

When you hear BANG! When you hear CRASH! Don't Panic!

There have been several large earthquakes in Japan recently. The fault west of Lake Biwa, and nearby Tonankai and Nankai areas are seen to threaten a large earthquake and damage over a wide area of Shiga. This is the first in a series to help you be fully prepared in case an earthquake happens.


  • Give priority to protecting yourself. Get under a table, bed or like object. If you were sleeping use the pillow to protect your head.
  • Get in to the habit of turning off the gas, even if it is just a small shake. However, do not put yourself at unnecessary risk because the gas mains have a safety breaker.

1–2 mins later

  • Secure emergency exits. Secure escape routes by opening doors and windows. Doors at apartment blocks might be difficult to open but windows are comparatively easy.
  • Find the source of any fire and extinguish it straight away.
  • Wear shoes, even inside. This protects your feet from debris like broken glass and allows immediate escape.
  • Check that your family is safe. Leave the house if it is likely to collapse or suffer from a landslide. When outside be aware of falling roof tiles, window glass, signboards, etc

3–5 mins later

  • Prepare portable emergency kit.
  • Check for fires in the neighbourhood.
  • Gather information. Get information from verified sources like the radio. Do not be misled by rumour.

5–10 mins later

  • Check up on the safety of people who need help in your community.

10 mins to several hours later

  • Evacuate if there is a danger of building collapse, fire, etc resulting from aftershocks.
  • Collect your children from school.
  • Prevent fire. Close main gas cock. Shut the electricity breaker when leaving the house.
  • Leave a note of your whereabouts visible at the entrance of your house when you go out.

up to 3 days

  • Use your emergency supplies. It is important to fend for yourself but help others in need too.
  • Help with rescues and fire prevention in your area. Inform the fire department and other authorities if necessary.
  • Evacuate in a group. Evacuate on foot avoiding concrete block walls and broken electric cables etc.
  • Get information. Pay attention to municipal news bulletins.

~Do Not Panic within your Surroundings~

~Care for people who need assistance in times of disaster~

※People who need assistance in times of disaster: people who have hard time coping with disaster by themselves, such as elderly people & babies, people who have physical or mental disabilities.

Secure Your Furniture

Furniture Arrangement

  • No furniture should be in the bed room.
  • Avoid having large size furniture especially in children's and elder's rooms.
  • Do not sleep where the furniture may fall down.
  • Do not place any objects by the exit.
  • Place furniture in certain way so that it will not block the passage for escape.

Be Prepared with Emergency Rations

Emergency Rations

These are the supplies that you take with you when you take refuge after an earthquake. They should be stored with gloves, shoes, a helmet etc, under or close to your bed. 15kg for men, 10kg for women and a comfortable weight for children is a good guide for load. Supplies should be packed into a rucksack for each person ready to escape.

  • Other Useful Items: Mobile phone charger (car cigarette lighter or disposable type), powdered milk, baby feeder, disposable nappies (diapers) rash ointment, cleansers, Maternity Record Book copy, baby food, reserve medication, prescription copy, okayu rice, hearing aid, radio, etc.
  • Personal name stamp (inkan), bank book, title deeds, precious metals should be stored in a bag that can be reached easily when you escape.

Emergency Supplies

It is essential that you can survive until rescue help arrives. You should prepare enough for three days survival. Everything should be at hand when you need to escape.

Buying extra of your normal daily food results in a slightly luxurious emergency supplies if you have to escape. Don't forget to keep it fresh!

Other Equipment

You should leave tools in the place that they are needed

  • Kitchen, Living Room (Fire Extinguisher)
  • Tools to escape from building (Axe)
  • Tools to escape from upper floors (Rope)

In order to get home from work on foot you should prepare the following: suitable shoes, gloves, towel, food, water, suitable clothes, map, photographs of your family, etc.

Where to Buy

Outdoor shops and home centres have emergency supplies corners but you can get what you need from almost any shop. It is a good idea to prepare emergency supplies as you do your everyday shopping.

  • Food: A mixture of long-life and everyday foods is recommended. Keep it fresh!
  • Torch & Radio: From electrical shops. Non-battery(solar, wind-up) types available.
  • Helmet: Construction site helmets can be bought at Home Centres, construction shops and DIY Shops. Cycle and motorcycle helmets can also be used.

Prepare for Secondary Earthquake Disaster

3 chances to extinguish fire

When you felt a quake

If the initial quake is not too strong, put out the fire immediately. Make a habit of putting out fire even with a small quake.

When a quake settles down

It is more dangerous to go near the fire in the middle of a strong quake. Wait until the movement settles, then put out the fire.

When fire breaks out

The first 3 minutes after the fire breaks out is the most critical time. Even for the small fire, shout to neighbors for help and call 119. Utilize any ready material besides fire extinguisher or water, such as a wool blanket, to put out fire. However, when the fire reaches the ceiling, evacuate immediately. Close the door and windows of the room with fire to cut out the air supply.

How to use fire extinguisher

<1> Put finger through safety pin and pull upward.

<2> Release hose and aim for the base of fire.

<3> Push lever hard to shoot out the agent.

<4> Move hose from side to side.
<5> Face against the door to keep the passage clear from smoke and extinguisher agent.

How to put out fire by type of origin

Key point for evacuation from fire

  • When the fire reaches to the ceiling, do not fight it. Evacuate immediately.
  • Assist people with disabilities first.
  • Do not worry about what you are wearing or what to take with you. Evacuate as soon as possible.
  • If running through fire, run without hesitation.
  • Keep your body in low position to stay away from smoke.
  • Do not return into the fire.
  • If someone is left in the fire, notify the nearest fireman.

Earthquake Insurance

Fire insurance will not pay for the damage from the fire caused by earthquake. Earthquake insurance is an addition to the fire insurance. Confirm your insurance policy with your agent.

Making an Emergency Contact Plan for Your Family

To give a priority to an emergency call, use another way except regular telephone lines to contact your family.

  • Anyone can use NTT's emergency contact service "Saigai-yo Dengon Dial 171".
  • The public telephones get priority connection from NTT, and it's more easy to access. So know where the nearest one is.
  • In times of disaster locations further away from where it occurred have faster connection. Therefore it is recommended to designate the phone number of a relative who lives in a different area as your contact point.


The service is available on a trial basis on the first day of each month, during the first three days of January, during disaster preparedness week (August 30 to September 5), and during disaster preparedness and volunteer week (January 15 to 21)

Remember "171"!


  1. Record Message 171→1
    Listen 171→2
  2. Dial number that you want to contact in an area suffered or in an area away from disaster
  3. Record Message (sec/message, up to 10message)
    Message replay

Message replayedWorks for standard landlines(tone & pulse),public telephones, mobile phones,PHS*

  • *Some service providers cannot connect/li>


  • This is an email service.
  • The service is available from NTT DOCOMO, au, Softbank Mobile, etc. (Inquiries should be directed to the respective mobile phone operators.)
  • Check with your provider for details (Valid as of March 2005)

40% "Cannot do a thing"

The Great Hanshin-Awaji Earthquake occurred on January 17, 1995. A survey of what went on during the Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake in 1995 showed that 39.5 % of people "could do nothing". People tend to freeze with fear and panic when faced with a natural disaster like a powerful earthquake. Being able to act calmly in emergency situations means that danger is controlled and lives are saved. It is well worth making a plan with your family about what you will do in an emergency.

What Happened After Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake (Survey Results)

(Record of Hanshin-Awaji Great Earthquake by Kobe Fire Department)

Be prepared for life in an evacuation centre

Life in an evacuation centre lacks freedom and privacy but having an attitude to understand and help fellow evacuees makes the experience easier.

  • It is important to communicate effectively with others in the evacuation centre so that no one feels isolated (especially those injured, and those who are not normally part of the community e.g. travelers ).
  • Talk with officials (e.g. centre staff, medical professional, police) at the evacuation centre to reduce your worries
  • Try to not cause trouble for others
  • Take measures to reduce stress. Simple exercise can be effective.
  • Evacuation centres are not just run by government and volunteer groups, but local communities take part too.
  • There is a danger of colds and influenza spreading, so take care to wash hands and gargle, and even wear a mask.
  • If you stay in a vehicle be careful of blood clots like "economy class syndrome". Drink fluids and do limb exercises while in the vehicle. Do not stay in a vehicle for more than a few days.

Returning to a damaged house

A disaster official will attach a notice to each building according to its condition

  • The gas supply to most buildings automatically shuts off during a level 5 quake. Be aware of how to perform a safety check and restore the gas flow at your home.
  • Check the sewage system is restored by test-flushing the toilet before using it. Contact municipal authorities if there is a problem.
  • Check for gas leaks before restoring the electricity breaker.
  • If gas has escaped, ventilate in the building before using electricity. Do not use an electric fan to do this!

Master First Aid

It is possible that you are not able to receive an urgent care during times of disaster such as earthquake, which involves a number of injured people at the same time. Let's learn First Aid for an emergency.

Hemostasis (Stop bleeding)

Although you may be in shock to see large amounts of blood, it is important to stay calm and stop the bleeding. Normally it is safe for adults to lose about 400ml of blood. Life becomes critical if an adult loses more than one third of the body's blood (1500ml). First, observe how much bleeding there is and from where the bleeding comes.

  • Blood is pouring out -- Arterial bleeding: Stop bleeding immediately
  • Blood is welling out -- Venous bleeding: Stop bleeding as soon as possible
  • Blood is oozing out

Direct Pressure Hemostasis

  • Cover the wound with clean gauze or cloth. Directly put pressure on the wound.
  • Make sure the wound is elevated above the heart.

Indirect Pressure Hemostasis

When you have the condition of blood pouring out but are not quite ready for the direct pressure hemostasis, use this method temporarily by pushing the artery closest to the heart from the bleeding area towards the bone.

Broken Bone

  • Support the broken area with a brace and take the patient to the medical care facility.
  • If you cannot find a brace, use alternatives such as board, magazine, umbrella and cardboard.


  • Cool down the burned area under running water.
  • If too much water pressure exists, pour cold water into a small bucket and cool down the burned area in there.
  • If the burned area is covered by fabric, run cold water over the fabric.
  • If a wide area is burned, use the hose or bucket to pour cold water, or wet a large clean fabric such as a sheet to cover the entire area.
  • If a child has widespread burns, put him or her in the bath tub with cold water (during warmer months).

You may face other cases where someone needs mouth-to-mouth breathing or heart massage. Learn how to give CPR through classes given by the municipal office, fire department and Japan Red Cross. Major scuba diving groups may give classes as well.

Earthquake Help Sheet (keep for your records)