How to Prepare for a Typhoon in Japan

The following is a translation of a Google alert page about Typhoon Francisco (from October 2013). You can track the progress of typhoons on the Japan Meteorological Agency website.

Fasten down loose roof tiles
If your roof tiles start flying off, there will likely be serious injuries. Check your roof and outer walls for places where leaks could develop. Fasten things like antennas, fences, bicycles, and plants down with rope, or move things inside if possible.

Do some preventative maintenance on your drainage systems
When drainage ditches get clogged, they cause water to collect in roads and yards and can cause damage to basements and parking areas. Make sure your gutters are clean and free of leaves and garbage.

Prepare flashlights and food
There is a possibility of power failures and the water being stopped. Prepare a flashlight and a way to obtain information, such as a radio. Imagine that you might not be able to go shopping for a few days, so buy enough food and drinks to be able to feed yourself for a few days.

Move your furniture to higher levels
Your household goods will be destroyed if they get wet. Move anything that will be ruined by water to a higher floor. Get flood insurance.

If you live in a low-lying area, prepare sandbags
Sandbags can be used by people in low-lying areas or near river banks to prevent or delay flooding. If you can’t get sandbags, you can fill garbage bags with water and secure them with concrete blocks. You can also fill PET bottles with water and wrap them in cardboard.

Avoid basements
Train stations, shops, and parking areas that are underground can flood, so be careful.

Don’t use elevators
Elevators may stop if their underground power source or machinery is flooded, so it is better not to use elevators.

Don’t go outside
The best way to wait out a typhoon is at home. If you are in transit during a typhoon, do not go outside. Don’t go near any rivers or canals to see what they look like as that is extremely dangerous. Also, don’t try to repair your roof when the typhoon is close. Finish your repairs well before the typhoon approaches.

Beware of landslides
Land that is sloped 30 degrees or more and is 5m high or more has a high chance of creating a landslide. You can check your city’s website for the locations of steep terrain. If you see cracks in the land, if small rocks are falling down the slope, or if water is coming out of the slope, the chance of a landslide is high. Take refuge in the upper floor of a strong building.

Try to envisage the possibility of flooding
If you are in an area where high tides or floods are being predicted, pay close attention to the weather information, and instructions from the local government. Make sure you are ready to evacuate immediately if necessary.

If information about evacuation is broadcast, help others evacuate
If the local government issues information about evacuation, take people to a safe place or an official evacuation center immediately by car or other vehicle. Give precedence to the elderly, disabled, and families children. You can take refuge in a high place, a friend or relative’s home, or a public building.

If an evacuation order is issued, move in groups
If an evacuation order is issued, lock up your house, gather up your neighbours, and walk together to the evacuation point. It’s best to wear practical shoes like running or hiking shoes for walking in flooded streets.