In a land as prone to natural disasters as Japan, you can never be too prepared.
Although advanced warning systems and evacuation routes exist, it is important to be prepared for the worst. Even in areas seemingly far from rivers and lakes, floods and landslides are common especially in rainy season.
In the case of a sudden evacuation, no one wants to be rifling through desk drawers, or forgotten closets searching for passports and insurance papers.
Keep all essential paperwork, or copies at the very least, in a clearly marked, easily accessible, and preferably waterproof box or pouch. If you find yourself in the worst case situation, you will have everything you need at your fingertips without risking your safety.
Remember to include an emergency supply of necessary medicine for you and your loved ones (including furry loved ones) with your paperwork.
The importance of emergency cash can not be understated.
Japan is notoriously a cash-based society and this is even more apparent when disasters strike. ATMs, credit card machines, even prepaid transportation cards depend on power supplies and computer networks. Having 10,000 Yen in smaller denominations will allow you to get basic supplies until the worst is over.
Put this cash in the waterproof box, with all of your other essentials.
Time and time again, people get caught up in panic and confusion during evacuations, often heading to more vulnerable areas because they are well known.
Most neighbourhoods have evacuation routes and plans for their residents, with schools or government offices serving as emergency shelters in times of need.
For more information, ask your local ward office, or even a neighbour, to make sure you know where to go and how to get there. If you live in a tall building, take the stairs. Don’t count on the elevators to keep working.
Floods can happen fast! The only thing worse than being trapped in a low-lying area is being trapped in a traffic jam with water rushing up all around you. Too many people go for their cars, stuff them with belongings, and try to escape to higher ground only to find themselves in a worse situation.
Being a few floors up on a stable building, on the roof of a sturdy house, or anywhere high and in the clear will keep you safe and dry until rescue comes.
Don’t wait and assume things won’t be so bad, or patiently wait for final confirmation. If you hear the warning sirens go off, see staff giving evacuation orders, get an emergency notification on your phone, or see locals heading for higher ground, follow suit!
Grab the essentials, and get to higher, stable ground as fast as you can. Material items can be replaced, buildings can be rebuilt. Personal and family safety comes first.