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IV Earthquake Preparedness

IV Earthquake Preparedness The earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku region on March 11, 2011 recorded a magnitude 9.0, known as the most powerful earthquake to have hit Japan. The tsunamis caused
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IV Earthquake Preparedness The earthquake off the Pacific coast of Tohoku region on March 11, 2011 recorded a magnitude 9.0, known as the most powerful earthquake to have hit Japan. The tsunamis caused by this earthquake along the Japan Trench devastated the Pacific coasts of Tohoku and northern Kanto regions, resulting in an unprecedented disaster with over 27,000 people dead or missing. On the day of the earthquake, in the Tokyo metropolitan area, many commuters were stranded and could not go home from work due to suspended train operations throughout the day. In addition, the waterfront areas suffered liquefaction damage in buildings and roads, which caused difficulties in firefighting operations such as water supply cut for firefighting and access trouble for fire vehicles. The disaster was named the Great East Japan Earthquake and made us acknowledge the threat of earthquake and tsunami disasters and reaffirmed the importance of disaster preparedness. The TFD revealed its future challenges, learning lessons from disasters after its on-scene activities and damage fact-finding in disaster-stricken areas. The TFD then reviewed its earthquake safety measures, and proposed its new considerations to disaster countermeasure meetings for better steps to cope with the chokka-gata quake with its focus directly below Tokyo. In December 2011, the TFD revised its core policies, namely the Tokyo Fire Department Basic Disaster Preparedness Policies as the stepping stone for developing future safety strategy according to the results of the disaster countermeasure meetings and the Tokyo Metropolitan Government Disaster Preparedness Guidelines In addition, based on the recommendations in the Fire Prevention Council's report and the results of various researches such as the urban area survey, assessment of regional fire occurrence/spreading risks, the TFD is strengthening its fire and rescue resources and improving the residents ability to protect themselves and cooperate with each other in case of earthquake. 4-1 Disaster Preparedness The TFD promotes various measures according to its Basic Disaster Preparedness Policies for the encouragement of overall, consistent earthquake measures. TFD Basic Disaster Preparedness Policies For the greater safety of lives and property from a devastating chokka-gata earthquake, the TFD helps community residents develop their capabilities of helping each other as well as themselves in emergencies. In order to make Tokyo stronger against disasters, the TFD also works at the overall improvement of its emergency response system and extensively pushes safety measures forward with the Tokyo Metropolitan Government s agencies, municipal organizations and others as an important public assistance provider. The TFD promotes anti-earthquake measures based on the following 10 basic measures under the motto of Save Yourself, Help Each Other, and Get Help from Public Bodies : promoting life safety; preventing fires; supporting initial firefighting; creating safer communities; strengthening support systems for persons with special needs; improving capabilities to cope with complex disasters; developing overall fire and rescue skills; developing disaster fact-finding and communications strategies; working with other agencies; and upgrading fire department facilities as operations centers. 1 Promoting Life Safety Keeping furniture from falling or moving Keeping buildings upper floors safe from long-period earthquakes Encouraging the action for self protection Providing first-aid skills Encouraging the action for proper evacuation Promoting the measures for office workers having difficulties returning home after a disaster The TFD, for the reduction of injuries caused by a mass-casualty disaster, continues to promote its safety measures: having furniture in place against long-period earthquakes (i.e., keeping furniture from falling or moving), encouraging the residents to take quick action for self protection and proper evacuation in case of emergency, providing the residents with first-aid skills, and taking measures for office workers who may have difficulties returning home after a serious disaster 2 Preventing Fire Outbreaks Safety measures for fire-using or electrical equipment and chemicals Safety measures for hazardous materials facilities Encouraging the action to stop fire from occurring The TFD, for the prevention of simultaneous fires caused by a major disaster, promotes its safety measures for fire-using or electrical equipment, chemicals and hazmat facilities-even after the power and gas come back after a disaster. 3 Encouraging Initial Firefighting Promoting home fire safety items like fire extinguishers, smoke and fire detectors Keeping fire protection equipment in proper conditions Developing the residents capabilities of initial-stage firefighting The TFD, for the early detection of fires and the prevention of fires from spreading and affecting many lives and property at the same time, encourages the residents to have fire extinguishers and smoke/fire detectors at home, promotes the suitable maintenance of fire protection equipment, and helps the residents develop their firefighting skills. 4 Creating Safer Communities Finding and sharing community hazard facts Developing the safety skills of neighborhood associations, women s fire prevention groups, junior fire department members, etc. Improving community disaster preparedness (i.e., firefighting, rescue and first-aid skills). Attending community creating meetings, city planning councils, etc. Promoting the teamwork among neighborhood associations, schools and workplaces Securing firefighting water sources in wooden house areas for the fire department to cope with fires quickly and easily The TFD, for the development of local disaster preparedness, helps neighborhood associations heighten their emergency response skills, makes communities stronger against disasters and promotes community teamwork in response to emergencies, working together with volunteer fire corps and TFD volunteers. In addition, the TFD keeps developing firefighting water sources in the areas crowded with wooden constructions. 5 Helping Handicapped, Elderly or Other People Out Finding and sharing the facts of handicapped, elderly or other vulnerable residents who need support in an emergency Promoting the teamwork among neighborhood associations, welfare facilities, and others Promoting the use of evacuation aid equipment for vulnerable people The TFD, for the reduction of vulnerable people s injuries caused by a mass-casualty disaster, finds and shares the facts of vulnerable residents, promotes the teamwork among neighborhood associations and welfare facilities, etc. 6 Improving the Capabilities to Cope with Manifold Disasters Developing special fire-rescue task forces to meet regional needs Creating an aviation system to send more forces by air Securing heliports The TFD upgrades its Fire-Rescue Task Forces and its Aviation Unit so that it can quickly and properly respond to manifold disasters (caused by earthquakes, tsunami waves, etc.), NBC disasters or emergencies in remote, isolated areas. 7 Developing Overall Fire-Rescue Skills Increasing or upgrading firefighting tools and EMS equipment Improving firefighting water sources and renewing old fire cisterns overall Upgrading volunteer firefighters equipment and increasing the number of the volunteer members Improving the TFD Volunteer system Reviewing prolonged operations strategy Improving the Emergency Fire Response Team assistance receiving plan The TFD, for the effective responses to fires and medical emergencies caused by a mass-casualty disaster, increases or upgrades firefighting tools and EMS equipment, improves firefighting water sources, reviews prolonged operations strategy, enhances the Emergency Fire Response Team assistance receiving plan, and develops volunteer firefighters abilities to cope with disasters. 8 Developing Disaster Fact Finding and Communications Strategy Making advantage of the earthquake early warning system Improving the disaster fact-finding system assisted by helicopter-loaded TV cameras and elevated spot surveillance cameras Improving the Fire Department Earthquake Preparedness System (i.e., the Earthquake Damage Expecting System, the Earthquake Firefighting Support System, etc.) Spreading a comprehensive communications network operated by a satellite radio device and other systems Making disaster facts widely known to people The TFD reinforces the disaster fact-finding system assisted by both the Earthquake Damage Expecting System and real disaster scene images to fill in the information gap caused by hampered or jammed communications systems and carry out quick, proper on-scene operations. The TFD also explores various forms of communication networks to present information to residents quickly and correctly. 9 Working with Other Agencies Improving or increasing firefighting water sources in wooden house areas in cooperation with the Bureau of Construction, the Bureau of Waterworks, municipal organizations, etc. Sharing information on vulnerable residents with the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health, municipal organizations, etc. Promoting fire drills and other training with the Bureau of General Affairs, the Bureau of Education, municipal organizations, etc. Promoting medical teamwork and improving a patient transportation system in cooperation with the Bureau of Social Welfare and Public Health, the Tokyo DMAT (Disaster Medical Assistant Team), and private sector patient transporters Streamlining a fire loss certificate issue procedure in line with the Bureau of General Affairs, municipal organizations, etc. The TFD, for the creation of much safer communities, improves or increases firefighting water sources in wooden house areas, shares vulnerable residents information, pushes forward local fire drills and other training, keeps up harmonious teamwork with hospitals, continues to review a patient transportation system, issues fire loss certificates quickly, and conducts others in a varied manner in cooperation with other related bodies. 10 Upgrading Fire Department Facilities as Operations Centers Making fire department buildings and volunteer fire corps facilities stronger against earthquakes and more functional than ever before / Improving or increasing training sites. Sophisticating HQ command and control systems and others. The TFD makes fire department buildings and volunteer fire corps facilities stronger against earthquakes and tsunami and more functional so that they can work well as operations centers. 4-2 Researches on Earthquakes In order to reduce post-quake fire damage, it is necessary to identify the risk of fire outbreaks and fire spread, and take preventive measures for each area. The TFD makes and publicizes the following researches to assess the risk of every region in times of earthquakes. 1 Estimation of Potential Outbreaks of Fire The TFD estimates the hazard of fire outbreaks when a major earthquake hits Tokyo. It takes into consideration such factors as locations of fire-using equipment, electrical equipment, chemicals, hazardous materials and industrial furnaces, as well as ground characteristics. This assessment is made approximately every five years, and the latest findings were announced in March, As a result it was found out that some areas have great potentiality of fire outbreaks. They are Chuo and Taito Wards with large business districts and shopping facilities that shake violently due to its foundation, and Sumida and Arakawa Wards with many wood frame houses. Compared with the 23 wards in Tokyo, the Tama area has less fire occurrence hazard. However, cities of Musashino and Nishi Tokyo with a large concentration of housings have higher potential of fire outbreak compared to their neighboring areas. Additionally, some sections of Hachioji and Hino Cities, with a foundation more vulnerable to quakes compared to the surrounding tableland, have higher potential of fire outbreak. 2 Estimation of Potential Fire Spread The TFD conducts a research on how fires will spread after a major earthquake, using such factors as types of building construction, open spaces, locations of roads/hazardous materials facilities/flammable gas tanks, etc. These pieces of information produce areas with a high potential of fire spread. This assessment is made approximately in every five years, and the latest findings were announced in March, According to this estimation, high-risk areas have been found surrounding the central part of Tokyo, especially where wooden frame houses are closely built, namely, in the areas along the Loop Road 7 including part of Kita, Nakano, Suginami and Shinagawa Wards, and the area along the Arakawa River. In Tama region, risks spread in the western city areas, and those along the JR Chuo Line and major expressways. Along with this estimation, the TFD produces the firefighting difficulty degrees, considering regional fire spread hazards, firefighting water sources effectiveness, and firefighters disaster scene arrival swiftness. 3 Survey on Earthquake Damage The TFD conducted field researches after serious earthquakes, such as the Hyogo Nanbu Earthquake in 1995, the Mid Niigata Prefecture Earthquake in 2004, the 2011 off the Pacific Coast of Tohoku Earthquake, and the earthquake in northan Nagano prefecture in The results of the survey are used for future disaster plans 4-3 Firefighting Water Sources The TFD is installing fire hydrants in cooperation with waterworks service providers in accordance with the national standard on firefighting water sources in order to properly secure firefighting water sources needed to deal with fires occurring during normal times. Considering that in the event of an earthquake disaster, fire cisterns may be unusable, the TFD is securing the use of natural water sources based on the concepts for dealing with simultaneous fires and large-scale urban fires. As an anti-simultaneous fire measure, the TFD divides its area into m grid squares. The cisterns of one-hundred cubic meters or over are being installed in grid areas which are strategically important when an earthquake occurs, or have high risk of fire spread. For other grid areas, the cisterns of 40-cubic meters or over are being installed. As an anti-major urban fire measure, m grids are used to secure sufficient amount of water to extinguish the fires of each grid area. With regard to the development of firefighting water sources, the TFD is installing its own fire cisterns and developing water use in conjunction with urban infrastructure development projects such as disaster-preparedness community development as well as introducing a system for providing subsidies to develop firefighting water sources, encouraging the installation of underground fire cisterns in conjunction with the construction of private-sector buildings (cisterns that make use of foundation excavations), and planning the use of various water sources managed by the Tokyo Bureau of Waterworks such as reservoirs as firefighting water resources. The TFD also plans to utilize the sea and river water more effectively, for example, by developing materials (water absorbing sheets) for damming up rivers and multifunctional infinite deep water sources (deep wells) that can be converted to domestic or drinking water in the event of a disaster. At the same time, in order to develop convenient water sources for the local residents, the steel covers on water cisterns located in parks in areas with high concentration of wooden houses are mainly being replaced by double covers (with a smaller cover given) for easier water suction by lightweight portable pumps. Some old TFD-managed fire cisterns are wartime constructions. They are actually found below emergency transport roads or ordinary roads. The TFD reinforced the inside and increased the waterproofing of below transport road cisterns for more practical use. In Tama area installing water cisterns is the responsibility of every city, town and village government. The Tokyo Fire Department keeps good coordination with them to reflect its disaster policies in their installation plans Firefighting Water Sources (April 1, 2015) Cistern Reservoir Classification 23 wards Tama Classification 23 wards Tama Hydrant 88,879 45,286 Water receiver 1, m 3 or larger Less than 40m 3 21,247 11,679 Swimming Pool 1, River/Drainage 1, Total 21,918 12,089 Sea m 3 or larger Less than 40m Pond/Ditch Others 10 0 Total Total 116,835 60,087 A deep emergency well (designed to cope with an earthquake-caused water shortage) Double covers Renewal of old fire cisterns
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