Fukuoka is relatively free from natural disasters, but floods can occur during the rainy season of June and July, and storms can occur during the typhoon season in summer and autumn. Earthquakes are not as common compared to the rest of the nation; however, as in the case of the major earthquake that hit Fukuoka in March 2005, you should always remain alert and take necessary precautions. Moreover, extra care should be taken when handling fire inside Japanese houses, since many of them are built of wood and can catch fire easily.
Be prepared for an emergency by taking the following precautions.
- Know the locations of evacuation shelters and dangerous areas in your neighborhood.
Each ward has designated shelter areas (schools, community centers, parks, civic centers, etc).
- Prepare a bag of essential supplies for emergencies and check it regularly.
- Fasten down your furniture to prevent it from tipping over during quakes.
- In times of crisis, respond only to information from a trusted source.
- Cooperate and help others in danger.
- Register for disaster-prevention e-mail services.
You can register to receive weather and precipitation information on your computer or mobile phone through Fukuoka City’s and Fukuoka Prefecture’s websites.
How to Protect Yourself in Times of Disaster(Earthquakes/Tsunami/Typhoons/Floods)
Disaster Prevention Guide for Foreigners
Fukuoka Citizens’ Disaster Prevention Center
The Fukuoka Citizens’ Disaster Prevention Center (Bosai Center) is a place where you can learn more about disasters and their precautionary measures. It has facilities that simulate earthquakes and violent wind conditions, educational areas where visitors can practice fire-fighting and practical techniques for protecting against disasters.Tel：092-847-5990 （1-3-3, Momochihama, Sawara-ku, Fukuoka）
Disaster Information Line
Fukuoka City Disaster Information Line
Fukuoka City Disaster/Crisis Management Information
Fukuoka City Disaster/Crisis Management Information For mobile phones
Fukuoka Prefecture Disaster Prevention E-Mail Service “Mamoru”
Foreign-language radio information
Love FM (76.1MHz; in Western Fukukoka: 82.5MHz; in Kitakyushu: 82.7MHz)
Typhoons are often accompanied by strong winds which can blow away bricks, branches, and signs. It is safer to remain indoors, so try to stay inside as much as possible. In addition, stay away from unprotected windows during a typhoon as they may shatter and fly into your house. If you have storm windows or shutters, close them in advance.
As heavy rain may also accompany typhoons, be prepared for the possibility of flooding, especially if your home is in a low-lying area or near a river. Once the roads start to flood, avoid using the subway or entering underground shopping areas and basement floors.
While Fukuoka is relatively free from earthquakes, there is still a possibility that another powerful earthquake such as the “Fukuoka Prefecture Western Offshore Earthquakes” (March 20, 2005) may occur in the future, and it is a good idea to take some basic precautions. Make mental notes of dangerous and safe places in your house, and possible escape routes for dangerous situations. Elementary schools, junior high schools and community centers are designated as community-based emergency evacuation centers. Make sure you know where the closest one to your home is, and evacuate there as needed.
Basic procedures in case of an earthquake
- Stay calm and protect yourself
It is important to protect your head, so try to get under a sturdy desk or table. Cover your head with a cushion or pillow if possible.
- Secure an emergency exit
When you feel an earthquake, open a door right away to ensure there will be an escape route after the earthquake is over.
- Do not rush outside
Usually a strong earthquake will end within a minute or so. Seek shelter in the room you are in and stay there until it is over.
- Extinguish any open flames
Turn off all gas burners, heating appliances, and other heat sources. However, in case they are not within your reach, secure yourself first and turn them off once the tremor is settled. Turn off the main valve of gas appliances and unplug electrical appliances.
- Avoid narrow streets, fences, cliffs, and riverbanks
Do not stand still under the eaves of buildings as there is a risk of falling debris of roofing tiles, glass or concrete. Stay away from cliffs and riverbanks as the ground may have loosened, increasing the possibility of a landslide. Go to a sturdy building or public-based evacuation center.
- If you are driving during an earthquake, stop immediately
Pull over to the side of the road and turn off the engine. Evacuate on foot, leaving the key in the ignition. Trying to evacuate by car will cause traffic congestion that may block emergency vehicles.
- Be alert for tsunamis (tidal waves)
When there’s a large earthquake or a series of small earthquakes, stay away from the sea as a tsunami may occur. If you are near a beach during an earthquake, evacuate to higher ground immediately. Listen to the radio for tsunami-related news.