It is natural that you have questions and concerns about safety. Please understand that we, as educators and responsible adults, understand that the health and safety of the children and adults who stay with us are our most important concerns. We know that safety and emergency preparedness planning are the two areas that we must concentrate on when preparing for the children and school groups who come to our camp and to our lodge.
Please find an overview of our Emergency/Disaster Preparedness Planning below.
We have had systems and plans in place since our start that would respond to most all emergencies that might arise. The events that took place in Tohoku in March, 2011 have, of course, caused us all to rethink our plans and procedures in consideration of those events. It is very important to remember, with all our activities, while the positive development of the children and adults we work with is important, our most important concern is always safety.
Whether it be a concern for special food requirements; handling knives in the kitchen; recognizing illness and injury and their treatment; snorkeling and body boarding at the beach; disaster preparedness and much more; the safety of those with us, both at our facility and off-campus, is our utmost priority.
I taught at Nishimachi International School in Minato-ku for 27 years before leaving in 2005. For my last six years at Nishimachi, I was the coordinator and head of the Emergency and Disaster Preparedness Committee, responsible for putting together, in consultation with the headmaster, the emergency preparedness plans for the entire school community. That experience, along with running our lodges in Chiba and organizing excursions, ski adventures and more for over 30 years, has taught me the value of being organized and planning ahead for any, and all, possibilities.
Earthquakes....At Nanbo Kokusai Mura, because of the open spaces and the wealth of bamboo, we have a fairly simple plan for earthquakes. At the start of a tremor, while inside the Discovery Room or the bunkrooms, we would follow the instructions of the adult in charge and exit when he/she feels it safe to do so. We evacuate to the field between the bamboo trees and the main lodge and assess the situation. Children outside remain outside and assemble in the same area. The first, and most important, task is to ascertain that all children and adults are accounted for. Then, if evacuation is required, to take the needed steps to leave the area. At the same time, if necessary, we begin triage. Triage is the classification process used by medical staff to decide who gets treatment first based on severity of injury.
Community Loudspeaker....We are fortunate to have the community loudspeaker on our property. Its primary functions are to give warning in the event of fire, after an earthquake to warn of the possibility of tsunami, and to give notice of other emergencies
Tsunami and Evacuation....Our facility is located about 250 meters north and up from the main road that borders Setohama Beach and about 300 meters from the water. From the water’s edge, the sandy beach rises in elevation and the road that runs perpendicular to the beach road also rises until it reaches the area’s main evacuation center - the B and G municipal athletic park/swimming pool located 2.5 kilometers away at an elevation of 72 meters (the height of a 24 story building).
In the event of an impending tsunami, we would follow the instructions over the loudspeaker. The evacuation facilities we would consider include the following:
- Hoken Center/Urai....this large four-story building completed in 2007 is a concrete and steel structure that houses municipal health offices. It is located directly next to our lodge, 30 seconds away by foot. In the event of an immediate threat we can enter the building and take refuge on one of the upper floors.
- Chikura cho yakuba (city offices).... the yakuba is a seven-minute walk away, directly up the hill away from the ocean at an elevation of 22 meters. The yakuba is a new three-story steel reinforced concrete building.
- Takeda sho gakko....this evacuation center is an elementary school that is a ten-minute walk up and away from the ocean at an altitude of about 30 meters.
- B and G Municipal Athletic Park (tel. 0470 44 3381).... located 2.5 kilometers away at an elevation of 72 meters. This is the main designated evacuation point for our area. We can drive there in 4-5 minutes.
Nanbo Kokusai Mura....There is the possibility that after an earthquake, without the threat of a tsunami, we would have to remain at our lodge for a period of time. We have emergency medical supplies, flashlights, batteries, bottled drinking water, gasoline and water that can be used for flushing toilets and/or washing. We also have blankets of various thicknesses and mattresses for over 40 people. We have food supplies as part of our normal inventory that can provide food for everyone at the lodge for several days.
- our bunkroom building is a single story structure with the bedroom doors leading out to the activity field.
- there is the chance that we could lose power from a blackout but a planned or prolonged power outage in the area around our facility is unlikely due to our proximity to the KDDI power station located minutes away.
- our senior staff members are trained in Red Cross First Aid and CPR and are experienced international school educators who have been blessed with common sense.
- not only has emergency preparation been made for events that might occur at our lodge but also at the various “off campus” sites that are a part of our daily camp life or our various outdoor education curriculums. Our staff is also well-rehearsed in these procedures.
- there are many small medical clinics in the immediate area for everyday needs. We are fortunate to have the highly regarded and well-known Kameda Hospital, in Kamogawa, 30 minutes away. In Tateyama, ten minutes by car is the Kameda branch hospital, Awa Chiiki Iryo Center.
I hope that this Emergency and Disaster Preparedness overview will assure you that we consider the safety and well-being of the entire Nanbo Kokusai Mura community our most important concern.
Don’t hesitate to call me at 090 7716 0102 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org with any questions you might have.