Japan sits on what is known as the Ring of Fire, a dangerous area in the Pacific Ocean where most earthquakes and volcanic eruptions occur. Because of this, Japan is prone to frequent earthquakes as the tectonic plates underneath the surface shift and collide continuously. Add to that all kinds of other natural disasters that can occur like typhoons, landslides and tsunamis, and you’ll understand why preparing an emergency bag is of utmost importance.
In case calamity strikes, having a properly prepared emergency bag ready can be the difference between life and death. We’ve prepared a list of important things to pack in an emergency bag, which many of the things you can buy at 100 yen shops like Daiso. If an earthquake where to occur, you’d be ready to evacuate by just grabbing your emergency bag. Let’s take a look what items to pack in the bag.
It’s important to be prepared during an earthquake, read our article: What To Do in Case of an Earthquake in Japan
Backpack / Rucksack
First would be the bag itself. Best to ready a backpack or rucksack that you can carry on your back leaving your hands free. During evacuation it’s important that you can use both your hands, you never know when you have to climb, crawl, push something away or carry something. Also, choose a bag that is sturdy yet lightweight.
Debris from crumbling ceilings or wall can make it hard to breathe, having masks ready ensures you will be able to breathe without inhaling dangerous particles or harmful bacteria.
You might find yourself in a situation with broken glass all around or the need to crawl through tight spaces. Having sturdy gloves to protect your hands can save you from cuts or bruises.
Plastic Rain Coat
Protecting yourself against the rain by packing a plastic rain coat. It’s important to stay dry and not to catch a cold.
Protect you feet by packing a good pair of sturdy shoes. You never know when you might step into something sharp or dangerous.
Portable Toilet Bags
During evacuation there is no time to go and find a restroom. There might not even be restroom available at an evacuation center, or perhaps you find yourself in the middle of nowhere. In those cases a portable toilet bag will provide the solution.
Plastic bags are multi-purpose, use them to carry stuff in, use them as a sheet on the ground, wrap stuff in or tie something together. Having a couple of extra plastic bags ready can be of tremendous help.
If you do have a proper place to freshen yourself up, it’s good to pack some toiletries like a toothbrush and some soap.
Having wet tissues with you can help you clean up a dirty wound or clean yourself up when there is no water around.
You can use a towel to dry yourself or wipe something clean, tie it around something to stop any bleeding etc.
Al lot of the items can be bought at 100 yen shops like Daiso.
Swiss Army Knife
A small foldable knife can be used to cut food or rope, even better would be a Swiss army knife with multiple tool blades like scissors, screwdriver and a can opener.
You might need to make a fire or light something up, don’t forget to pack a lighter.
It’s advisable to pack some rope in case you need to tie something together or need to hold on to something using rope. And can be used for rescue purposes.
If you ever get lost use a whistle to call for attention. You can also use a whistle to send out signals.
It’s even advisable to have these items prepared when you go mountain climbing in Japan. Read our article: Climbing Mt Fuji – The Complete Guide to Reach the Top of Japan
Flashlight / LED Light / Hand-powered LED Light
You never know what time of day disaster strikes, or you might find yourself trapped in a dark place. Having a flashlight at hand can help you navigate your way out through the darkness. A hand-powered LED light will allow you to use light even if you run out of batteries.
When an earthquake occurs, special broadcasts will be given, make sure you’re up to date and know what is happening. Having a small radio with you let’s you know what the current situation is and what instructions to follow. A wind-up radio is advisable since it doesn’t use any batteries.
It’s important to have extra batteries at hand to power a flashlight or small radio in case you run out of power.
Rechargeable Mobile Battery & USB Lightning Charging Cable
A smartphone can act as a navigator, flashlight, communication tool and is more important now than ever. Having a rechargeable mobile battery and the necessary cables with you makes sure you always have power and can connect with someone, look something up or navigate your way out of unfamiliar surroundings.
First Aid Kit
A first aid kit contains a whole variety of medical supplies for cuts, stop bleeding, nausea etc. and is a must in any proper emergency bag. It should contain disinfectant, absorbent cotton, gauze, triangular bandage and medication.
Bandages are important to have at hand to stop bleeding cuts and keep wounds protected against infection.
Aluminum Emergency Blanket / Insulation Sheet
When in a cold environment or when temperatures drop during the night, an emergency blanket or insulation sheet will protect and keep you warm.
Food & Beverages
Pack food with a long expiry date like dried foods, biscuits or canned food. Foods with a high sugar content like dried raisins or sweets will provide you with extra energy. Also don’t forget to pack bottled water (best without minerals for a longer shelf life).
Having some cash with you is important because Japan still uses cash over cards. Having coins with you can mean you buy from the many vending machines all around or use public phones.
Copies of Important Documents
Make copies of all your important documents as a back up in case you need to identify yourself or in case you lose the originals. Keep a copy of documents like your Resident Card, passport, driver’s license, insurance card and My Number card. Also make a list of all the important emergency numbers and important contacts.
After packing your emergency bag, think of where you will store it. Putting it in a place that is easily accessible like somewhere near the entrance let’s you grab it quickly in case you need to evacuate all of a sudden. Don’t forget to check expiration dates on foods and batteries and change them accordingly. Lastly, do a drill yourself making sure you can access the bag in time and know how to use items you’ve packed.
Here’s our handy infographic that you can use to see if you’ve packed everything you need in you emergency earthquake bag.
Stay safe and till next time!