Lessons Learned from Japan: 1 Year Later

What has been learned from the Japan earthquake and tsunami a year removed from the tragedy? One of the main lessons learned is the value of time and how it can make all the difference in the world between survival and death. Residents who were in the areas where the tsunami struck had between 15 to 20 minutes to react between when the earthquake struck and the waters rushed in.

According to www.cannonbeachgazette.com, 92.4% of the fatalities during the events in Japan on March 11 were from drowning. Those who waited five minutes past when the shaking stopped were 50% more likely to have drowned in the tsunami’s waters. One valuable lesson learned is to react immediately in a crisis situation, as it could mean the difference between life and death.

Lessons Applied in the U.S.

Residents in the Midwest of the United States have also taken some lessons from the Japan earthquake and tsunami, even though they are far removed from the events that happened that day.

  • What happens in one part of the world can have a far-reaching impact. Even though last year’s disaster in Japan happened in a country far removed from the U.S., the disruption in manufacturing did have an impact on Japanese-owned companies in America.
  • Recovery takes time. In any crisis situation, there are certain steps that must be taken first. Normalcy might seem like an ideal situation, but the steps necessary for a safe and effective recovery need to be followed, especially if you have a disaster recovery plan.
  • Spread your production base so that all is not lost in a calamity. If all of your industry is in one region, then a loss in that area could severely hinder the capabilities of your company. Many Japanese automakers relocated some of their newer production plants from Japan to the U.S. following the disaster.
  • Know the status of power plants, especially nuclear ones. Knowing the status of power plants is important, especially in the area of disaster preparedness. This is even more important with nuclear plants due to the severe implications a failure could cause.

What Still Needs to Be Done

Even with the realization of the dangers posed by a failure at a nuclear power plant in the U.S., officials fear that first responders, local officials and citizens are ill prepared. There needs to be better training and more numerous exercises to help those affected know what to do if a failure happens. This extends down through the first responders, to those in charge, all the way to the residents who live in the area around such sites, especially in the known danger zone, which is the immediate 10-mile radius around a nuclear plant.

For more information about lessons learned following last year’s disaster in Japan, visit: http://www.cannonbeachgazette.com/news/local_news/article_917d6b22-6efd-11e1-aa1c-0019bb2963f4.html

http://www.wbez.org/blog/bez/2012-03-12/4-things-japanese-earthquake-taught-midwest-97210

http://www.psr.org/assets/pdfs/nuclear-power-and-public-health.pdf