This may look like the scene of a rescue during a real life disaster but it is actually part of the drill. Today’s drill was a chance to see how the SDF and other services actually respond during a disaster.
Mie Prefecture is expected to experience a large earthquake and tsunami in the near future. Large scale drills like this give lots of difference services to practice rescues through simulations and in doing so come up with more effective rescue techniques.
At the Japan Red Cross booth, there was a space for the injured to come and receive treatment. During the drill, ‘rescued’ disaster victims were carried to the area and received treatment.
Water rescue training exercises were also practiced in the pool.
A variety of different disaster simulations were held during the drill. Local citizens, including foreign residents, were able to experience the arrival process and life in an evacuation centre. There were also disaster preparation videos shown in various languages.
During the evacuation centre simulation, the disaster drill was set in the hours after a major disaster and included sounds of fire truck sirens and rescue helicopters being played.
Today many different training exercises took place at the same time so we were unable to take part in each one. However, we were able to understand how rescue operations are conducted in the event of a large disaster occurring and the large numbers of organizations involved, not just the SDF, fire and medical services.
There was an introduction by people from the communications industry to the special services prepared for when phone lines go down in the hours following a disaster occurring.
NTT uses the Disaster Message Dial system. This service allows you to store messages on contracted and public phones during a disaster which can be played by family and friends. We had a go at storing a message on using this service.
Softbank offers a service called the Disaster Message Boards. Using a Softbank cell phone you can store messages and use the internet to check messages by others. The service is also available in English.
Docomo offers a variety of services on its mobile devices. Users are automatically registered for its ‘Area Mail’ service, which automatically sends news and information to Docomo users in an emergency.
As pets are not allowed in evacuation centers, there are also groups who will take in pets who need to be looked after.
Today you would be forgiven for thinking that this was a real-life disaster zone instead of a drill. We were shown just how many Mie Prefecture citizens are involved in rescue activities during a disaster. Even so, it is important that each and every one of us understands the dangers that are associated with a large earthquake and is involved in disaster preparation so that we are not just being rescued, but also rescuing others.
The minister in charge of disaster preparation, the governor of Mie Prefecture and mayor of Suzuka were in attendance and gave speeches to the assembled organizations and disaster specialists.