Tokyo introduces its latest efforts regarding disaster prevention to major cities in Asia:
Reports from Comprehensive Disaster Management Drill of Tokyo by participants from ANMC21 member cities (1/2)
September 1 is Disaster Prevention Day in Japan, established to mark the Great Kanto Earthquake, which took place on this day in 1923. Tokyo Metropolitan Government (TMG) has conducted the Comprehensive Disaster Management Drill around this day every year.
One of the joint projects of Asian Network of Major Cities 21 (ANMC21) "Network for Crisis Management" invites rescue workers and observers from the ANMC21 member cities to the annual event in Tokyo to share experience and knowhow regarding crisis management.
This year's participants were rescue workers from Soul, Singapore, Taipei and New Taipei City and observers from Bangkok, Kuala Lumpur and New Taipei City. Here are reports on the activities of the visitors in Tokyo by two student interns who also participated in the tours.
The Control Room of the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park
Hello, I am Yuka Sato, an intern for TMG. I am reporting on the site visit on August 30.
This year's Comprehensive Disaster Management Drill in Tokyo welcomed a total of 17 crisis management specialists and healthcare professionals from the ANMC21 cities.
Early in the morning of August 30, the very next day of their arrival, the program started with the visit to the Tokyo Rinkai Disaster Prevention Park. The park is designed to serve as a station to set up the headquarters of a local emergency task force that gathers damage information at the time of a major crisis including the possible occurrence of a Tokyo inland earthquake.
In the headquarters' meeting room, the staff members of the park gave a brief presentation and lecture about the facility and its responsibilities at the time of emergency. The visitors from flood-prone city Bangkok asked many questions about the measures against floods.
The explanation of quake-absorbing structures attracted a great deal of attention.
Next on the agenda was a visit to a control room. The size of the control room (960m2) as well as a view of many monitors occupying one wall and functional arrangement of desks, colored in accordance with their responsibilities, seemed to strongly impress the visitors from Kuala Lumpur .
Then the visitors were taken to the basement to see quake-absorbing structures of the headquarters building. Everyone was very much interested in how it was designed to absorb quakes effectively.
The park also is designed to function as a center to communicate disaster prevention information to Tokyo residents at normal times. Last on the agenda of the visit was a participation in an active learning tour called "Tokyo inland 72-hour tour." The tour provides a chance to experience a whole scenario from an earthquake occurrence to escaping from danger. The participants seemed to be overwhelmed by the scenes of realistic affected areas reproduced using sounds, lighting and photographs. The participants from New Taipei City, who often experience earthquakes, said that they want to make a similar facility to widely communicate to city residents how dangerous the earthquakes can be.
In the afternoon, they visited the Tokyo Metropolitan Government to listen to some lectures. Healthcare professionals from Bangkok were particularly interested in a lecture on the measures to prevent the spread of infections among people living in the disaster area and asked many questions. The fact that the quick measures taken after the Great East Japan Earthquake succeeded to keep the spreads of infections to a relatively low level seemed to have surprised all of the participants.
In a lecture on the disaster-resistant city development, they learned how Tokyo is planning to reduce damages at the time of emergencies in the city with many wooden houses.
The participants actively exchanged their opinions during the lectures so much that we wished there had been more time.
A commemorative photo with participants (doctors)
from Bangkok during lunch time
Active discussions took place during the lectures.
Hello, I am Arisa Ono, a TMG intern. I would like to make a report on the visits and rescue drills by rescue workers from overseas countries on August 28 to 30, before the Comprehensive Disaster Management Drill.
The rescue team arrived in Japan on August 28 and made a courtesy visit and participated in a welcome party at the Tokyo Metropolitan Government. From the next day, they participated in the tours and pre-training, and their statements about how strongly they are determined to learn from the disaster management drill were very impressive.
On 29th, the rescuers from overseas countries made courtesy visits and tours in four places: The Fire Technology and Safety Laboratory, Fire Rescue Task Forces the 3rd Fire District Headquarters, Fire Academy and Tokyo Fire Department Headquarters. During the visit to the Fire Technology and Safety Laboratory, they learned several verification technologies for securing safety and effective activities of rescue workers at disaster sites and saw an experimental laboratory for fire cause analysis and hazardous materials identification.
A commemorative photo in front of a special-purpose vehicle
The Fire Rescue Task Forces the 3rd Fire District Headquarters is a station for rescuers who handle NBC accidents including radioactive accidents and chemical accidents, mainly involving hazardous substances. Their special-purpose vehicles, rescue robots and measuring instruments attracted a lot of attention from the visitors. There was a lecture on the activities of the members of this team at the time of the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant. This part deeply impressed all the listeners, who applauded the members out of admiration.
Watching the rehearsal of graduation exams at the Fire Academy
When they visited the Fire Academy, they coincidentally saw a rehearsal of final exams for the students to graduate the academy to become fire defense personnel. Under the scorching sun, the students completing difficult tasks impressed the audience very much.
The last agenda of the day was a visit to the Tokyo Fire Department Headquarters. They made a courtesy visit, exchanged opinions and sat for another lecture on the rules for activities of the Tokyo Fire Department in the area of rescue activities.
A rescue worker from Singapore made a comment on the Fire Technology and Safety Laboratory that having this kind of laboratory under the fire department is valuable because the opinions of rescue workers are directly and quickly communicated to the department. The training at the academy and students' stance of respecting rules and good manners seemed to have impressed all the participants. For example, one participant from New Taipei City said, "The committed educational system explains how Japan has established its high level fire service technology."
On the 30th, the next day, the team of rescue workers from overseas had an emergency drill, before the Comprehensive Disaster Management Drill, jointly with the Fire Rescue Task Forces of the 2nd Fire District Headquarters. The practice drill followed the same scenario as the actual drill; that is to open a collapsed house using chain saws and rescue victims using stretchers. Although the scenario was very difficult to perform, the joint team of rescuers from Tokyo and other countries with different languages and cultures worked together, just as Asian cities cooperate with each other.
Everyone from the member cities intensively participated in each program and kindly accepted our interviews. On the next issue, we'll make reports on the Comprehensive Disaster Management Drill on September 1. Don't miss it!
Tokyo and overseas rescue workers
forming lines filled with a feeling of tension.
The drills begin!
A strong handshake between representatives
from Tokyo and Singapore