Earthquake preparedness lessons from Japan

In Japan they think riding out a simulated earthquake can shake you out of your complacency, and KING 5's Lori Matsukawa found out they're right.

What will it take to make you seriously get ready for the "big one?"  

Seismologists say there is a high likelihood of an 8 or 9 magnitude earthquake in the Puget Sound region in the next 50 years.

In Japan, officials believe riding out a simulated earthquake can shake you out of your complacency.  And I found out, they're right!

I was part of a group of journalists that visited the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center in Tokyo where we were put on a shaking platform to simulate a 9 magnitude earthquake that went on for 40 seconds. It was frightening! I ducked under the table and held on tight to the table leg to keep from getting tossed about. 

Kenji Hode, the chief at the center, says 70,000 people go through the simulator experience and are changed by it. He says people are less likely to panic when the real thing happens because they've experienced what the shaking is like. It also makes them realize they'd better prepare themselves at home, because first responders may be unable to reach them for days.

Jeffrey Guite is a disabled veteran and longtime Red Cross volunteer in Seattle whose company, American Preparedness, sells disaster kits. 

He says water, food, two sources of warmth, two sources of light, and first aid and hygiene products for three days minimum should be packed in a canvas tote and stored in the back seat of your car. He says to avoid the trunk, which can get crushed and become inaccessible.

"It's not about fear," Guite said. "It's about being ready to take care of yourself and your family when disaster strikes."

© 2017 KING-TV


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