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In Tokyo, this summer, I experienced an earthquake of level 7, it was in a simulator. The goal was to learn lifesaving in cases of real natural disaster.
It’s been now more than 1 year and a half that I’m in Japan. I arrived on the Japanese archipelago two months after the great earthquake of 11 March 2011. Since my installation in this country, I have experienced many earthquakes, mainly, low-magnitude on the Richter scale. Moreover, you can find the story of my first earthquake here.
I also had the opportunity to go to Kamaishi, Iwate Tohoku in order to volunteer. The city was literally devastated by the tsunami that took place in the aftermath of the earthquake of March 2011. After that, I was informed, more fully on what to do in case of earthquake. I also wrote an article on this topic that you can read it here.
Finally, the most important thing, for several months now, the Japanese scientists announce a major earthquake in the Tokyo area. In February 2012, there were 70% that large earthquakes occur in the following four years, and it is a magnitude of at least 7 on the Richter scale.
All this is not always very reassuring, but everyone do with it. Life does not stop just because of that, far from it. However, every opportunity to learn about these natural disasters is good to take. This is why I decided to go to the Life Safety Learning Center in Ikebukuro this summer.
Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center: What is it?
At Ikebukuro, in the same building as the fire station, there is the Life Safety Learning Center. It is a completely free space where management lessons of natural disasters such as earthquakes are taught .
In this center, you learn how to fight a fire with a fire extinguisher (small fires), how to escape from a smoke filled room with a fire or even what to do when an earthquake occurs.
To do this, you watch several videos, including one on the assesment of the earthquake of 11 March 2011. Then you go to practice. You get a fire extinguisher and you must turn off a false fire. Then you do get into a room, slightly smoky and you must exit quickly and calmly walking at ground level. And finally, you get into the earthquake simulator and you should experiment a simulation of an earthquake of magnitude 7 on the Richter scale.
All this circuit occurs in 2 hours and you can learn useful actions in situations of danger.
My experience in the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center:
We went in the morning, without reservation, but unfortunately it was full. We therefore reserved for the afternoon. At 15:00 we started learning. At the Program, we had the right to watch a video projection of the assesments of March 2011 earthquake (in which, strangely, the name of Fukushima is nonexistent), followed by a course of use of fire extinguishers and of a course on what to do to escape a smoky room and finally the earthquake simulator.
During our visit in the earthquake simulator, I must confess that I have been surprised by the strength of shaking. They were programmed to look like shakes of 7 on the Richter scale, and I confess it was not so easy to cling to the foot of the table.
We had to sit at a table, then an alarm reasoned. We had to rush under the table with a pillow over our heads and hang strongly. This lasted several seconds and was intense. But everyone agrees that this is far from reality and a real earthquake is much more violent than that. Once the simulator experienced, my only wish was to never been subject to a real earthquake.
To help you understand a little of what I mean, I suggest you watch the video of the simulator, the day of our visit. In this video you can see a simulation of the earthquake of March 11, 2011 in Shinjuku – Tokyo. The simulator experiment movements of one meter laterally, as it happened that day. In addition, in the background, a video scene is showing furniture that collapses to the ground.
The earthquake simulator: I recommend it
If you are in Japan, you are very likely to experience earthquakes. Unfortunately, we foreigners do not know what to do. This is why I urge you to go to one of the Life Safety Learning Center that offer free courses.
This is important and useful at same time. And then it’s done in a attractive way so that you can easily understand and practice what to do.
The only downside is that the volunteers working there very rarely speaks English. The day of our visit, except for the video report subtitled in English, it was all in Japanese. So I recommend you to go with someone who speaks good Japanese or ask in advance if a person speaking English will be present (which is sometimes the case).
Otherwise, what do you think of this kind of courses and simulator?
Find the Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center on google maps
Ikebukuro Life Safety Learning Center