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A Citizen’s Eye View of Public Preparedness

China Holds Special Disaster Preparedness Day Similar To Japan’s — U.S. Should Follow Suit

May 14th, 2010 · 3 Comments

On Wednesday, China held its second National Day of Disaster Prevention and Reduction. May 12th is the anniversary of the 8.0-magnitude 2008 earthquake that hit the nation’s Sichuan Province. China joins Japan which has its Disaster Prevention Day on the anniversary of the catastrophic 1923 Tokyo earthquake.

Students are taking escape drill of earthquake protection.

Students drilling in Donghu Primary School, Nanchang City, Jiangxi Province

This blog has advocated the creation of a specific preparedness day in the U.S. in order to focus attention on citizen readiness. It would be the day each year that briefings would be held, drills would be conducted and emergency kits were filled. In a post last year, I explained why I believe it is the most realistic and effective way to implement officials’ citizen preparedness goals.

Students are binding up for "the wounded".

Students treating each other during an emergency drill held by Wanshouqiao Primary School, Yichang City

China’s preparedness day does not seem as extensive as Japan’s though there was public involvement. According to the Xinhua News Agency via ReliefWeb, the focus of the day (much in line with the current U.S. focus) was on building community preparedness:

“Communities should be at the forefront of disaster prevention and reduction,” Shi Peijun, vice director of the board of experts of the National Commission for Disaster Reduction (NCDR), said Wednesday. ”The disaster response capacity of communities is crucial to alleviating damage,” said Shi… Peijun also advocated that schools play a bigger role in disaster reduction. “Schools should teach students about disaster prevention and reduction. Schools should also be a place for shelter when a disaster hits.”

In 2007, China incorporated the disaster response into a five year plan, according to which China will establish 1,000 exemplary community networks for disaster reduction across the nation. According to NCDR, residents in such community networks are well informed about exit routes and shelters to go to when a natural disaster strikes. These communities are equipped with emergency aid facilities, and each household in such communities are equipped with torches, first aid toolkits and so forth. To date, 687 such community networks have been established in China, according to NCDR.

Thanks to the CrisisMappers Twitter feed for bringing this to my attention.

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Tags: International

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