Date of Activity: July 28th
Today the new participants had an orientation about the session and the program in general while the returning participants had time to explore Tama. Afterwards we all had lunch together before moving to Tama Bousai center. At this facility, you can experience different disaster simulators and learn how to prepare in case one occurs. We were separated into two groups, rotated doing three activities. My group started with watching a movie in a small movie theatre. It told the story of the Earthquake and tsunami of March 11th. It was interesting not only to learn about the immediate effects of the disaster, but also of the aftereffects. It appears that the news reports in our countries give a somewhat limited image of what really happened and how dire the situation was for the Japanese people. A lot of people were deeply touched by the footage.
Then we experienced an earthquake simulator. It was basically a platform designed to look like a small Japanese kitchen. An employee from the facility taught us how to react when an earthquake hits – crawl under the table and hold the table legs so that your hands wouldn’t be crushed by objects falling down, etc. Since we knew it wasn’t real, it felt more like a theme park attraction than an actual earthquake. However, it was a good experience to know what it feels like and have a clue what to do in case an earthquake occurs.
The last activity our groups did was to learn how to escape from a smoky room in a burning building (no worries – although the smoke was thick, it wasn’t dangerous, and it smelled like candy for some reason). The smoky room was built as a maze, so we had to follow the exit signs to find our way out. Also, there were built in sensors in the walls, so if we didn’t crawl, they would register us, and we would lose points. A guy from the facility told us that in a real situation, instead of loosing points, we would get smoke in our lungs and die faster. So I was relieved to find out that no one in our group lost any points! Also, I feel more prepared in case of an emergency, so I’m happy I got the chance to visit the Tama Bousai center today.
(Torunn Olsen, Norway)