In the event of a major earthquake, the school will follow the procedures below:
- All children will be kept at the school until collected
- Children will be kept inside the school buildings unless there is a danger of building collapse or fire or the buildings are considered unsafe for other reasons; the streets around Shibuya are likely to be more dangerous than inside our building and the Showa campus is likely to become crowded as it is a public evacuation site
- If evacuations of the buildings are necessary, children will be taken to the evacuation sites; at Shibuya, the evacuation site is the large car park opposite the school building; at Showa, the evacuation site is initially the Astroturf in the centre of the campus and then the Cafeteria on the far side of the Astroturf if that building is safe
- The school bus between Showa and Shibuya will not run
- All clubs and events will be cancelled
- No children will be allowed to leave the school sites on their own, unless we receive permission after the earthquake from parents
- No children will be allowed to leave the school sites with the parents of other children, unless we receive permission from parents after the earthquake
- Children will be kept at the school for as long as necessary, including overnight or for several nights if required; we have blankets, emergency equipment and sufficient emergency food and water for 6 days
What should parents do?
- After an earthquake, look at the BST Facebook page, BST on Twitter, the BST Website and/or your email to find out if the school considers this to be a major earthquake and to obtain information on the current situation at the school; as general guidance, the school will normally consider a major earthquake to be one which is announced by Japanese media, such as NHK, as Shindo 5 or above in Tokyo (see note below on Shindo Scale) or where the Tokyo trains and subway stop and do not resume within one hour
- If you are unable to access the internet or email, assume that the school will be following the emergency procedures above; keep checking the internet sites periodically as they may come back online
- Come to the school to collect your children when it is safe for you to do so; because of fallen obstacles, fires, or dangerously crowded streets, it may not be safe for you and your children to be on the streets; this is more likely in the case of an earthquake which is announced as Shindo 6 or above; in this case, please do not rush to the school; we will keep your children at school until it is safe for you to collect them; this may be many hours later or the next day
- If all communication fails, your children will be kept at the school (or at the evacuation sites, if it is necessary to evacuate the school buildings), for several days if necessary, until you collect them or are able to contact the school with alternative arrangements
Note on Shindo Scale: the Shindo scale is used in Japan to measure the effects of an earthquake at specific locations, rather than its magnitude only at the epicentre of the earthquake. It ranges from 1 to 7. The 9.0 magnitude North East Japan earthquake measured 7 near the earthquake and 5 in Tokyo. NHK normally gives Shindo measurements within a couple of minutes of a major earthquake on TV, on its website https://www3.nhk.or.jp/nhkworld/ and its mobile phone site http://k.nhk.jp/daily
Tokyo has more earthquakes than any other large city in the world. Therefore we take emergency preparedness very seriously at our School.
1. Good planning
2. Careful preparation
3. Effective communication
The same principles apply to all emergencies, including fires.
1. Good Planning
The School has an ongoing consultative relationship with a Japanese earthquake and emergency consultant, and with the local fire authorities at both Shibuya and Setagaya. The Principal and Bursar oversee health, safety and emergency issues. Additionally, both BST Showa and BST Shibuya employ Health and Safety Officers, who are qualified nurses. Over the years and especially since the earthquake of 2011 this has resulted in significant improvements in our preparedness for any emergency.
All risk assessments for off-site trips and expeditions must refer specifically to earthquake preparedness and, where necessary, advance contact will be made with local authorities and emergency organisations in order to gain an understanding of any specific requirements related to the area of the visit.
We maintain close links with the local Japanese authorities and emergency services, the British Embassy and other relevant bodies in Tokyo.
2. Careful Preparation
We have ensured that the School is well resourced.
We have ‘Classroom Emergency Kits’ in all teaching and administrative areas that will provide for the needs of students and staff in the immediate aftermath of an emergency (food, water, head protection, warmth, first aid, sanitation and ‘TLC’).
We have supplemented these with ‘Emergency Resource Points’ that contain supplementary provisions and resources to provide for the whole School’s needs for a period of up to 72 hours, if necessary.
If a group leaves either School site, a ‘Go Pack’ is taken to provide for first aid, earthquake preparedness and ‘TLC’ in case of an emergency. Emergency communication procedures when students are off site on school trips, including residential visits, are always carefully explained in the information sent out to parents in advance.
Both School sites have an ‘Emergency Communication Kit’ allowing us to both receive and provide information as and when needed. These packs include radio-telephones, two way radios and provision for other methods of electronic communication (mobile phone, email, website, Twitter etc) and small solar panels for recharging.
Finally ‘Search & Rescue Kits’ are stored in appropriate locations on both sites to equip rescue teams with lifting and wreckage clearance gear if required.
The School routinely trains and drills its staff and students.
3. Effective Communication
We have a range of means of communication that could be used in case of an emergency; for instance the School website, Facebook and Twitter would all be important communication tools in an emergency, whilst we have strong links to both the British Embassy and the Foreign and Commonwealth Office.
4. School day- and residential-trips
Prior to school day- and residential-trips a full risk analysis will be undertaken by trip leaders and a report will be submitted to the relevant Head of school.
During residential trips earthquake and fire evacuation procedures will be outlined with all students on arrival at the residential facility.
If an earthquake occurs while in transit to or from a trip, the following procedures will be followed:
During the earthquake
- Stop the bus away from power lines, bridges/overpasses; pull to the side of the road
- Stay in the bus
- Students should assume the CRASH position
After the earthquake
- If roads are passable proceed with caution and
- If a minor earthquake, continue travelling to destination
- If a severe earthquake, return to school immediately
- If a major earthquake and/or the bus is immobilized
- Evacuate to an open area because of danger of aftershocks.
- Administer first aid if necessary; take a register of all students on the bus.
- Try to contact the school via telephone or email (Facebook/twitter) but without leaving the students unattended.
- When safe to do so proceed with students to nearest emergency shelter
- Stay with students until contact is made with the school and a decision is made about returning to school or parents going to pick up children.
We believe that the measures in place ensure that the School is well planned, prepared and resourced, so that if an emergency were to arise we would be able to react effectively and efficiently, based on good information, and so minimise the risk to our students and staff. The school carries out regular earthquake and fire drills, and members of staff are well trained. BST frequently reviews ways of improving its preparations for an emergency.
We offer regular presentations to the BST community on earthquake preparedness, and ‘What BST would do in a crisis.’
The following documents have been used in previous presentations and are available to download.
Detailed information about how best to prepare your family for an emergency in Tokyo (including Emergency Detail Cards) can be downloaded here.