Aug 4, 2011

Earthquakes in Japan - Are you prepared?

It has been 5 months since the March 11 earthquake, and people may be tending to forget about preparing for the possibility of another one (I am one of these people!). There is still potential for another major earthquake to occur– we will never know when it will actually happen, so it is important to be prepared just in case - and being pregnant makes these preparations all the more important!

Here are some links on preparing your Earthquake Emergency Kit:
Earthquake Survival Manual

Embassy websites also have good information on how to prepare for an earthquake:

American Embassy advice

Australian Embassy advice

British Embassy advice:

Other points to consider
Other than preparing an earthquake emergency kit, here are some other things you may like to consider:

- After the earthquake on 11th March, phones were congested in Tokyo, but internet/ emails were still possible. So for me, I couldn't call my husband or my family back home, but in the hours walking home after the earthquake we were able to keep in touch through sending emails from our mobile phones (Facebook is also an option). We copied all our family members on each email, and just kept clicking "reply all" when we sent an update. This was the best way to keep in touch at the time, and helped my family back home to keep calm as well as they followed our progress. The one problem I had was my mobile ran out of battery -  it is a good idea to include a mobile phone battery charger in your emergency kit just in case internet is still available (buy a battery-operated charger, as electricity may not be available). 

- If both phone lines and the internet are down, how will you contact your partner? If you are heavily pregnant, you will not be able to walk far, so you need to decide on a meeting point close to the house or your/ your partner’s workplace (usually the closest school yard or park will be the designated emergency evacuation point for your neighbourhood). Always make a few contingency plans - you may be out shopping for example, and have difficulty walking home. It's good to send your partner a message about what your plans are for the day, so you'll know in general each other’s whereabouts.

- How far is your hospital from home? Could you walk there if all the trains have stopped and there are no taxis available? Remember, if there is a large earthquake, it is likely that all the ambulances will be busy and may not be able to pick you up. Determine the best way to walk to the nearest hospital, print-out a map with detailed directions and store in your emergency kit.

- What if your partner is away on a business trip? Do you have a friend or work colleague living close-by who you could reach? Talk with your friends in advance - it is always good to have a chat just in case and think about alternatives. 

Real life stories from TPG members
Some of our TPG members actually experienced first hand giving birth after the shock of the earthquake on March 11. Today we would like to share two of these stories with you. I remember reading these stories for the first time on the way home from work, and the emotion and worry I felt for Sarah and Charlotte, as well as feeling inspired by their courage and the positive outcomes from their traumatic experiences. Thank you so much Sarah and Charlotte for sharing your birth stories with us!!