Earthquakes and Emergencies

What to do when an Earthquake Occurs
  • If a earthquake occurs, immediately get under a table, desk, or similar type of furniture to protect from falling objects
  • Remain calm during the earthquake and while in the shelter, mentally identify the closest exit route and safe shelter
  • If the earthquake is very strong, please evacuate your building once the shaking stops
  • There is a high possibility that if a strong earthquake occurs, there will be aftershocks that follow. Please be careful and aware as you evacuate for the aftershocks
Reference: March 11, 2011 (Seismic intensity of above level 5)
  1. 14:46 Seismic intensity of level 7 (off the coast of Sanriku)
    *Mito City: 130-second earthquake with a seismic intensity of above level 4
  2. 15:06 seismic intensity of level 5 lower (off the coast of Sanriku),
  3. 15:15 seismic intensity of level 6 lower (off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture)
  4. 16:29 seismic intensity of level 5 upper (off the coast of Sanriku),
  5. 17:41 seismic intensity of level 5 upper (off the coast of Fukushima Prefecture)
Japan Meteorological Agency’s Earthquake Early Warning
(If a seismic intensity of above level 5 has occured)
  1. On TV and radio, an alarm and messages of the Earthquake Early Warning will be aired.
  2. On mobile phones (some models), information will be displayed on the screen with an alarm several seconds or more before the arrival of strong tremors caused by an earthquake.

Note: Tremors will arrive before the earthquake early warning for areas CLOSE to the epicenter.

If you recieve an warning on your mobile phone:
1. The alert could mean a possible early warning for an earthquake
2. Immediately suspend all classes, experiments, meetings, events, etc.
*Strong tremors will require time to arrive for areas far to the epicenter. Even without tremors, be alert by protecting yourself, etc. for a number of minutes from receipt of the warning.

Reference: Earthquake Early Warning (Japan Meteorological Agency)
The Japan Meteorological Agency detects the earthquake (primary seismic wave, minor initial tremors), automatically calculates the focus, magnitude, and possible strength of the tremors, and announces several seconds or more before the arrival of strong tremors (secondary wave, principal motion).

What to do When a Earthquake Occurs?

General Response to an Earthquake

  • Protect yourself first! Please take cover under tables or other furniture to be safe from falling items
  • Turn off the stove or flames in the kitchen and turn off the main gas valve
  • If there is a fire, immediately extinguish the fire
  • Check the safety of the members of your household
  • Evacuate immediately if you also recieve a tsunami warning or are near a river
  • Check to see if your neighors are safe and help with any local rescue efforts
  • Do not use your car for transporting as the roads may be damaged or emergency vehicles may need to road
  • If you leave your home turn off the main breaker for your electricity, and close the main valve for gas and water.
  • Try to obtain information about the diaster from the internet, TV or radio
  • Relief or aid may not arrive in time, please have a kit of emergencies supplies prepared at all times
  • Inform the school using the Safety Reporting service to let everyone know you are safe
What to do when in the following situations
While in a Car
  • Stop the vehicles of the left side of the road and turn off the engine
  • When you leave your car, keep the car doors unlocked and keep the key in the ignition keyhole
While on a Train or a Bus
  • Hold on to a ring or a handrail
  • Follow the instructions of the staff
  • Do not get off unless instructed
While inside a Building
  • Get away from windows or showcases
  • Do not use elevators
  • Move near a pillar or a wall
While inside School
  • Follow the instructions of your teachers
  • Take cover under a table
  • Keep away from windows in a corridor
While Outdoors
  • Protect your head with a bag or something similar
  • Evacuate to a spacious area
  • Do not go close to block fences or building walls
While near the Sea or a River
  • Get away from the water's edge immediately
  • Evacuate to a higher ground as there is a risk for Tsunami near the seashore
Information Sources

It is very important to stay informed during any emergency situation. Please use this information to stay up to date with the news during an emergency.

Radio Frequencies

NHK1 549kHz
NHK2 693kHz
IBS (Mito) 1197kHz
IBS (Tsuchiura) 1458kHz
NHK-FM (Mito) 83.2MHz
NHK-FM (Hitachi) 84.2MHZ
Disaster Vocabulary
Here is a list of Japanese words that are commonly used during diasters
震源 (shingen) Seismic Source
The underground source of an earthquake
余震 (yoshin) Aftershocks
Earthquakes that contuine to occur after large earthquakes
注意報 (chuiho) Advisories
A notice asking people to take care when a disater may occur
警報 (keiho) Warning
A more severe alert warning that a large diaster is likely to occur
避難所 (hinajo) Evacuation Center
A place to go and stay during a diaster when your home is unsafe
り災証明書 (risaishomei) Disaster Victims Certificate
A certificate that shows you were the victm of damage to your property that was casued by a disaster (used to apply for tax deductions or other reprieves)
安否 (anpi) Status of well being
an inquiry about a persons safety or well-being
被害 (higai) Damage
To sustain an injury or damage to property