By Amanda Addey-Jibb
Welcome back to another exciting edition of Shufu Tips! This week in particular is a bit of a shift from our usual cleaning theme towards something a little more serious.
Due to the missile launch just a few days ago, I thought it might be more relevant to write about preparedness. Knowing that at any moment an emergency like this could occur again, or that an earthquake or other disaster could strike at any time, it’s important to be prepared and expect the unexpected. That’s why this month I want to help you put together some safety measures, so hopefully you feel a little more at ease.
First of all, it’s really important that you put together a small emergency kit. I have an emergency kit that I keep in the trunk of my car, in case I ever break down on the side of the road in the middle of nowhere. For my emergency kit, I simply bought a medium-sized clear cosmetics case from Seria and filled it with the basics:
- A first aid kit, including small and medium sized band-aids, as well as gauze and some tape (you can buy a pre-made first aid kit, or just assemble a few key items from the 100 yen store like I did)
- Small bottle of rubbing alcohol
- Small flashlight
- 2 Batteries
- Duct tape
- Toilet paper
- Rain smock/poncho
- Pack of 10 hand warmers (Kairo)
- Face masks
- 1-2 pairs of socks and underwear
- A small hand towel or handkerchief, to use for drying wet objects or equally as a filter for smoke or other air contamination
- Photocopies of: Driver’s license, passport, resident’s card
- 5000 yen
- A backup phone charger
A few more things that I include, but have to change out every now and then:
- A large 2L bottle of water
- Meal replacement gel packets
- Granola bars
All of these items would be not only useful, but absolutely necessary to have in an emergency situation. Your emergency kit doesn’t need to look exactly like this–you can include or remove whatever you like. For example, reflective stickers or an extra key to your apartment might be useful things to include in an emergency stash, or maybe you want to tuck away 10 000 yen instead of 5000. In the case of a terrorist attack or war strike specifically, having a proper gas mask is ideal, but these can be somewhat costly and bulky. Whatever you decide to include, just know that anything you put into an emergency kit is much better than having no emergency kit at all, so don’t let this long list intimidate you. In my case, I accumulated things over time and added to my kit slowly.
It’s not vital to keep it in your car like me if you don’t spend a lot of time in your car, but I like to keep it in the trunk because you never know what can happen on the icy roads of Aomori in the winter, and I drive around the ken a lot. Here’s a few more things to have in your car if you are driving a long distance and could possible get stuck overnight:
- A sleeping bag
- A pillow
- A blanket
- A change of clothes (ideally heat tech)
- Plastic bags (you never know when they will come in handy)
For an at-home emergency kit, I would include all the same things as above inside of a backpack or easy to grab-and-go bag. Obviously you don’t need a pillow or sleeping bag, but a blanket might still be useful if you can fit it. I would also suggest including more non-perishable foods, as a home emergency kit might be something that has to last you a few days if you are suddenly trapped inside your home. Foods like:
- Granola bars/snack bars
- Energy drinks/meal replacements
- Canned goods (beans, soup, etc.)
- Instant ramen
can all be very useful to have in a disaster scenario. Best to keep a few of these stocked, along with some extra water bottles.
Other important things to note: Make sure that your phone is always on, so that you can receive J-Alert emergency notifications. Make sure you have at least one person, or ideally a group, that you can check in with and who would check in with you in the event of a disaster, so that someone can know quickly if you are in danger. Register with your Embassy as a foreign national, so that they will also check in on you in the event of a disaster. If you don’t already know, you should consult with your school or BOE supervisor in order to find out your emergency evacuation location. It is most likely a school, or other public center, but it’s important to be sure so that you don’t waste time in an actual emergency situation. Knowing where to go in case of an emergency is probably the single most important piece of information you can have, so make sure you find out so that you aren’t left clueless and stranded.
Knowing that you could literally pick up and go at a moment’s notice, or that you would be able to survive just fine if you got stuck in your apartment or car for a few days, can give you at least a little peace of mind if the J-Alarms go off again. Obviously it’s best to think positively, and rather than being paranoid about the worst possible situation, I like to assume that I’ll never have to actually use my emergency kit. But sometimes preparation can make all the difference, and I’d rather be on the safe side than the sorry side.
If you have any suggestions for things to add to an emergency kit, or things I may have missed, please let me know! I’d love to be able to add to this article and to my own kit.