Iwate: Course to nurture disaster prevention specialists opens

The Yomiuri Shimbun
Participants in the disaster prevention specialist training course attend the course’s opening ceremony on May 23 at a community hall in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture.

RIKUZEN-TAKATA, Iwate — An annual training course created to nurture disaster prevention specialists started in Rikuzen-Takata, Iwate Prefecture, on May 23.

Once every month until December, participants ranging from high school students to the elderly in their 70s will learn about various topics on disaster prevention and management, such as evacuation procedures, operation of evacuation centers and emergency medical treatment from university professors, meteorological observatory staff, fire station crew and other professionals.

By earning at least nine out of 15 credits, the 36 people attending this year’s edition will be officially certified as the city’s disaster prevention meisters.

The course is free, and held for those who are of junior high school age or older and living, working or going to school in Rikuzen-Takata. Since the program was launched in fiscal 2018, 51 people have been certified as masters of disaster prevention. After the opening ceremony for this year’s course, University of Tokyo Prof. Takaaki Kato gave an online lecture and explained the system of a regional disaster prevention plan in which local residents voluntarily determine evacuation methods at the time of a disaster, among other topics.

“I want to become a nurse so I can support people in areas hit by a disaster,” said Keita Endo, 19, a second-year student at a nursing college in Ninohe in the prefecture who participated in the course.