U.S. Can Learn from Japan’s PreparednessJapan adopted its impeccable building regulations following its crippling Kobe earthquake in 1995, which took the lives of 6,000 people and left 26,000 people injured. Inside Japan’s high-rise buildings lie “extra steel bracing, giant rubber pads and embedded hydraulic shock absorbers,” according to NPR. Those features make Japan’s buildings stand as some of the few sturdiest in the world during a major earthquake.
With features that allow high-rise towers to resist major earthquakes, these buildings are able to sway just like trees. Japan has surpassed the United States’ efforts in ensuring that buildings are using advanced devices that lessen the ground’s movement during an earthquake, such as isolation pads.
Japan’s preparedness can also be seen through its citizen’s culture of preparedness.
Japan’s substantial public education program could have possibly saved a considerable amount of lives. “For a trained population, a matter of 5 or 10 minutes is all you need to get to high ground,” Matthew Francis of US Corporation and member of the civil engineering society’s tsunami subcommittee stated.
“Preparedness is not a priority for the average American citizen. There is a sense that first responders will take care of people if there is an emergency. We at Safe America are encouraging people to be their own first responder,” said Len Pagano, President and CEO of the Safe America Foundation. Mary Lou Zoback, a risk consultant in California, also holds the same feelings. “The Federal government has built an expectation – don’t worry, someone is going to be there to bail you out,” Zoback stated. Often times, that perspective is what prevents individuals from becoming prepared.
The Safe America Foundation developed its national 9/11 Drill Down for Safety campaign in response to the United State’s lack of preparedness. Originally developed following the terrorist attacks that occurred during September 11, 2001, the 9/11 Drill Down for Safety campaign also stresses the importance of being prepared during any type of emergency situation, such as a natural disaster. This requires families and businesses to develop and practice an emergency drill, so in the wake of an emergency event, families and businesses know what to do without any hesitation.
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