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Store This, Not That! > Blog > Emergency Preparedness > Lessons to Learn from Japan’s Earthquake
March 12th, 2011

Lessons to Learn from Japan’s Earthquake

The earthquake and tsunami in Japan has been eye opening for me. It’s devastating to see what mother nature can really do (and so much more than even the movies let on). What a great time this is to re-evaluate how prepared we are. And did you know that more than just California should be worried about “the big one” hitting?


As I was thinking about it, I discovered there are a lot of lessons we can learn from Japan (the most prepared country for an earthquake) to be better prepared for an earthquake.

1. PRACTICE FOR AN EARTHQUAKE-EVEN IF YOU DON’T LIVE IN CALIFORNIA: For as awful as things were in Japan they could have been much worse. Did you know that Japan as a country has one day a year dedicated for the ENTIRE country to practice earthquake drills. Now, growing up in California I had plenty of earthquake drills and now California is spearheading the same idea here in the United States.  It’s called the Shake Out and it occurs on October 20th-they even have audio and video “Drill Broadcasts” to provide instructions during your drill.  You can register your family for it and get more information on how to conduct your own drills by clicking HERE.  After all, more than just California is in danger of “the big one” and you never know-you just might be on vacation in an earthquake zone.



2. ARE YOU STRUCTURALLY SAFE? Japan led the way in innovative ways to design and build buildings to withstand earthquakes.  Weren’t you all amazed watching those buildings sway in the earthquake instead of collapsing?!  While we may not have that luxury, there is a lot you can do in the spaces around you (home, work, etc.) to make sure the items won’t fall in an earthquake.  Conduct a “hazard hunt” and see what items would fall in an earthquake-items like computers, book shelves, tvs, water heaters, etc.  You can get everything you need to know about securing your items at daretoprepare.org. Click HERE to learn about securing your HOME/BUILDING and HERE to learn about securing your STUFF.



3. DISASTER KITS: How are your 72 hour disaster kits?  Now is the time to go through and double check the items you have on hand. You can download what FEMA suggests you have in your disaster kit by clicking HERE.  Not to mention with Spring around the corner-it’s a good time to go through and switch out winter clothes for summer clothes.



4. DISASTERS DON’T ALWAYS HAPPEN AT HOME: This earthquake struck during the day when people weren’t at home.  Remember, disasters don’t always happen in the comforts of your home.  Make sure you’re prepared at work, in your car, and in your purse/diaper bag.



5. BE IN A POSITION TO HELP OTHERS: Learn all you can about how to help in medical situations.  The Red Cross has the best classes and information on how to help if you’re a first responder to a situation.  I was intrigued watching the special 20/20 last night about the earthquake in Japan.  They interviewed survivors of the Indonesian tsunami 7 years ago.  TV Host Nate Berkus commented that people spent all of their time helping people that were worse off than them.  In those initial moments after a disaster, it will be YOU who will be the first responders to help those worse off than you. A reader also told me about CERT she said “The CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is the ground roots program of FEMA and is available in most cities in Utah and other states. It is basic training in light rescue, light fire suppression, first aid and organization. It trains you in how to care for yourself, your family and neighborhood in the case of a disaster. I highly recommend the program and encourage all to take advantage of the training.” You can learn more about CERT by clicking HERE. And if you want to help Japan right now, you can donate on the Red Cross website by clicking HERE (Remember, unfortunately, this is also a time when scam artists are out “collecting” money as well-so it’s a good idea to stick with well known organizations for donating your funds.)



6. FOOD STORAGE: So, I’ve heard people talking about food storage during this and I think there is something to be learned.  I know a lot of you are thinking “a lot of good that food storage did to those whose homes aren’t standing.”  And you’re right-sort of.  In a natural disaster WHERE I HAVE TO EVACUATE, I most certainly will not be dragging around 300 pounds of wheat and what not.  However, what about all the people in Japan that didn’t need to evacuate their homes?  Some are with out power but I can guarantee all are a little nervous about what the food and water supplies will be like over the next couple of days and weeks.  Food storage is definitely not a catch all for preparing for EVERY event.  You will need your 72 hour kit and a good food storage to give you a wide base of preparation for any event-whether you are evacuated or need to hunker down in your home.

DO NOT, I repeat, DO NOT let the pictures of homes destroyed act as reason to not have or quit working on your food storage-use it as fuel to create awesome 72 hour kits.   Having to evacuate your home in a natural disaster is only one of the many emergencies that may happen and I can guarantee you for MOST of the emergencies that can happen to you (i.e. loss of job, rising food and gasoline costs, cut food budgets, blizzards, etc.) food storage CAN and WILL help you.  Vaughn J. Featherstone said (in reference to worrying about losing you food storage when you need it most) “Don’t give this one more idle thought. There is a God in heaven whom we have obeyed. Do you suppose he would abandon those who have kept his commandments? He said, “If ye are prepared, ye need not fear.” (D&C 38:30.)”

Now it’s time to get more prepared!  I know I’ll be going through 72 hour kits and double checking that I have everything I’ll need in an emergency, signing up for the Shake Out and re-evaluating what I’ve got.  How about you?

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24 Comments

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Margaret

    March 12, 2011 at 3:40 pm

    Thank you for posting the video and the comments that can help us to be better prepared. I appreciate your willingness to share with us “everyday” preparedness ideas. Thank you.

  • Npp1966

    March 12, 2011 at 4:05 pm

    Good post Crystal. I too need to re-evaluate and re-pack 72 hour kits. Now’s the time to look into this. Thanks

  • Jeri

    March 12, 2011 at 4:09 pm

    One of my first thoughts after watching the first news video was : “oh no all that food storage was getting wet”. I hate to see tradgedy happen to anyone, but am loving the result and production of people finally starting to get the hint and gather their year supply. Thank you for all you are doing to teach us.

  • Nikki

    March 12, 2011 at 4:45 pm

    I am doing your 10-day Challenge. I had no idea that Morning Moo and the like were not milk! I had no idea of the difference between instant powdered milk and non-instant powdered milk! I have a huge bucket of Morning Moo to go through, but then I’m switching to non-instant powdered milk from the Cannery! Thank you so much. I don’t think many people realize the difference.

  • Sue Ann

    March 12, 2011 at 5:17 pm

    I added a comment under the Like category, but would like to add it here too. I totally agree with everything your said. I taught for the Red Cross for a number of years, but there is another program that would also be a great help. The CERT (Community Emergency Response Team) is the ground roots program of FEMA and is available in most cities in Utah and other states. It is basic training in light rescue, light fire suppression, first aid and organization. It trains you in how to care for yourself, your family and neighborhood in the case of a disaster. I highly recommend the program and encourage all to take advantage of the training. Contact your local fire department for more information.

    • Anonymous

      March 12, 2011 at 5:28 pm

      Thank you! That is definitely good to know and I added it to my post.

  • Clspeerly

    March 12, 2011 at 8:03 pm

    Crystal, I look forward to your posts every week. Really appreciate you putting this out there. I was just taking inventory last week of our storage. I’d put off a few purchases but we’ve decided to take care of those this week. Keep up the great work.

  • Weedygarden

    March 13, 2011 at 3:20 am

    The early pictures showed that even if you did have food storage and your home was swept away, it was a loss. However, and it was said here, if you were not in the earthquake and you live in Japan, any preparedness that you have will be very helpful at this time.

    The one thing that I am wondering about is the exposure to radiation from the nuclear power plants. I personally do not have any iodine. I think that anyone who lives at all close to a nuclear power plant should have adequate amounts of iodine for their whole family. Would you be willing to do a post about this? I have read this information on someone’s blog, but can’t find it now.

  • Nikki

    March 14, 2011 at 2:40 am

    Do you have a fun idea for a one hour evening RS meeting for a food storage game or fun way to present some of this everyday food storage info in a fun way in a short time?

    • Anonymous

      March 14, 2011 at 12:55 pm

      YES! I need to post my lesson plans….*sigh* I need more time some days!
      😉

  • The Reality of Preparedness

    March 13, 2011 at 8:07 pm

    […] p.s. I liked these ideas from this article: Lessons to learn from Japan’s earthquake […]

  • Amanda

    March 15, 2011 at 3:03 am

    I worry about fire destroying my home and preps so I’ve made up a kit to live in the shed too.

  • Nikkade

    March 15, 2011 at 3:49 am

    You need to remember also that there was a half hour between the quake and the tsunami, plenty of time to grab an emergency kit.

  • Rachel

    March 15, 2011 at 2:25 pm

    What a great post Crystal and I so agree Japan is not a reason to stop but one to be more diligent in preparing for your family and possibly your neighbors. The one thing about Japan that impresses me so much and brings me joy is that the people there aren’t looting, hurting each other or destroying what is left. American’s need to take a lesson on that as well.

  • Liza

    March 15, 2011 at 3:07 pm

    As much as I hate large amounts of destruction created by natural disasters, I do have to say there’s much we can learn from them. Being prepared with food and equipment will not only help you and your family but others that come to you for aid. We had an emergency preparedness enrichment last month and one thing that struck me was we need to be prepared for everything. A friend had to evacuate immediately following the Northridge earthquake (in CA) because there was a gas leak a few houses down, people were camped at a park – I’m getting a small suitcase to put our small tents and other grab and go items as a just in case.

  • Dawn

    March 15, 2011 at 11:04 pm

    Thanks so much for posting this video. We already updated our kits and added a few things we would like to add to them. I also thought as I read this, the homes that were not destroyed and have some food storage will be a huge blessing to those that have nothing. Maybe our year supply isn’t for our using, but for a neighbor who may need it even more.

  • Guest

    March 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    For those who would wonder what good their food storage is if they have to evacuate… consider those who are unable to evacuate and who get left behind. What you had stored, but were unable to carry, might just save the life of someone who was unable to get away.

  • Guest

    March 16, 2011 at 10:52 pm

    For those who would wonder what good their food storage is if they have to evacuate… consider those who are unable to evacuate and who get left behind. What you had stored, but were unable to carry, might just save the life of someone who was unable to get away.

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