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Quake-hit prefecture launches police training on disaster rescue

8 Comments

Japan's first official police training program on how to use equipment such as chainsaws and engine cutters in rescuing disaster victims has been launched in the western prefecture of Hyogo.

The initiative aimed at saving more people in time of disasters followed the loss of many lives due to a lack of proper rescue tools and skills following a magnitude 7.3-quake in Kobe in January 1995 that killed more than 6,400 people. The area is also bracing for an anticipated Nankai Trough megaquake.

A total of 57 police officers experienced in handling the rescue equipment have been assigned to the prefecture's 49 police stations to better equip personnel with techniques to save disaster victims.

In the first training session, conducted Jan 9 at the Suijo police station in Kobe, about 30 officers learned how to cut metal with rescue tools.

Akihiro Ishizuka, a 24-year-old police officer said, "I want to undergo the training with a sense of tension so that I can use the skill in a time of disaster."

The program was initiated based on the experience of 47-year-old inspector Hiroyuki Matsumoto, who struggled to save lives following the 1995 quake without proper tools. He is now in charge of the training drills.

On Jan. 17, 1995, Matsumoto, then a police officer at the Kakogawa police station in western Hyogo, saw many people seeking help in Kobe as he headed to the Hyogo police station in Kobe by car.

He tried to rescue a woman trapped under a collapsed house, but failed as he only had a shovel and a pick.

"I could not even think of what tools were necessary. With an engine cutter, I might have been able to save her," he said.

Following the quake, the Hyogo prefectural police have beefed up disaster response measures. Although more tools have been installed, boosting the skills of each officer remains a challenge.

"By properly using good tools, we hope to save as many lives as possible," said Matsumoto.

© KYODO

©2018 GPlusMedia Inc.

8 Comments
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While I can applaud the idea I have to wonder why it took 22years to work it out.

5 ( +5 / -0 )

While I can applaud the idea I have to wonder why it took 22years to work it out.

Probably interagency bickering , rules regulations and whos funding the program.  For example NYC has the Fire Department and the police have the Emergency Service Unit (ESU) both use similar equipment to get victims out of a crashed car, normally in other cities this is only done by the fire department, but in NYC it:s essentially whoever arrives first does it. Often leads to interagency fighting (the role of the police and fire/rescue), who gets the budget for new equipment etc. who does the training etc.  It has been 15 years since 9/11 and TSA security in the US fail 75% of the inspection tests done by inspectors...  This is not a uniquely Japanese issue.

4 ( +4 / -0 )

I could not even think of what tools were necessary. With an engine cutter, I might have been able to save her,

But I think many people, not just the police, may have faced the same problem. Which is more important for the police in such circumstances, being able to operate an engine cutter or being able to get hold of someone who can operate and has access to such equipment? For example, might it not be better to train construction workers or nurses in such skills? I'm not saying this is a bad idea, just that the best way to prepare for such disasters is not so clear cut.

3 ( +3 / -0 )

If I understand this article correctly, they’ve already had the tools for years but weren’t given specialized training until now?

Albaleo,

I would think for some extent there’s room for both the police and others to have and know how to use such tools. Also, quite often the available time to save someone is measured in minutes, for instance when fires are also involved. If a police officer happens to be on the spot or encounter such a situation, I would prefer that officer be able to save a trapped person rather than waste time calling in a crew that may not even be able to access the location.

1 ( +1 / -0 )

I would prefer that officer be able to save a trapped person rather than waste time calling in a crew that may not even be able to access the location.

Except, the police can't go around with heavy cutting and lifting tools or even oxygen breathing equipment enabling entry to a burning fire.

2 ( +2 / -0 )

Police in cars can carry some basic tools.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

As someone who is leading teams in most of America is made your responses the last 20 years One can only tell those in authority that we need to maximize our ability to respond – no one agency, no one group of people, and all potential civilian responders are needed in times of national disaster –

As someone who has lead teams in most of America is major disasters the last 20 years one can only tell those in authority that you need to maximize your ability to respond – no one agency, no one group of people, and all potential civilian responders in times of national disaster are needed and necessary – one area to look at in maximizing your ability to respond is construction workers (welders) and especially heavy equipment operators.

In the service of keeping others alive as professional rescuer as we have a duty to “maximize our ability to respond” and use every asset, improvise, and adapt to situations “so others may live!”

0 ( +0 / -0 )

The area is also bracing for an anticipated Nankai Trough mega quake.

No need to over aggrandize something that might occur tomorrow, or 10 years from now, or never in our lifetimes.

This type of training SHOULD be a part of the police academy curriculum and not just in these areas prone to quakes. The entire country is prone to earthquakes, and since police officer's are often sent to other prefectures to assist when needed, all of them should be getting this training!

Police in cars can carry some basic tools.

I can attest to the fact that down here all patrol cars carry the special long, retractable poles, used for catching snakes, and a collapsible box to put them into as well, and they are trained on how to catch the snakes as well, due to the large number of poisonous snakes we have.

I agree, they should have some of these tools on hand.

0 ( +0 / -0 )

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